I Hate Suzie Too review – This great show has ghosts of Amy Winehouse and Caroline Flack.
It might be like a panic attack on TV, but My God, TV has never been stranger, sadder, or more fearlessly amazing. If you thought the beginning of I Hate Suzie was tight, you should see the beginning of I Hate Suzie Too (Sky Atlantic). It has a one-take shot that is pretty much a TV version of a panic attack. Suzie is dressed up like a clown and wearing a silver bow that is so big it looks more like a straitjacket. She is followed through the backstage hallways of a TV studio by an agent, a publicist, and a production assistant. They bother, nag, cajole, flatter, and tell her that her ex-husband Cob’s revengeful tell-all has just gone online. Suzie sweats, cusses, tries to take off her microphone, and gets a fake eyelash stuck on the gold sequin jacket of her first ex-husband. Welcome to the anti-Christmas special that our brutally misogynistic culture needs.
It’s time to come back. When we last saw Suzie, played by Billie Piper, she was yelling “Fuuuuuuuuck!” in a gas station after finding out she was pregnant. It looked like her marriage and career were over. Six months later, she is dancing for clicks (and her life) on a dirty talent show called Dance Crazee Xmas. Which falls somewhere between Strictly Come Dancing, Love Island, and the fifth, sixth, and seventh rings of Dante’s hell, which are Anger, Heresy, and Violence. I now know this. You should look at what I’ve searched for on Google since watching this show. The brilliant team of Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper take us to dark places in the second season, just like they did in the first. This scary Christmas story is haunted by the ghosts of Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, Caroline Flack, and Amber Heard.
It turns out Suzie can dance. Dance, like, really. During a manic meltdown, she dances like Marcel Marceau for three episodes. She dances like she is in Homecoming by Beyoncé. She spins around like a dancer for Pina Bausch. The great choreography was done by Paul Roberts, who worked with Piper when she was a child star in the 1990s. Here, dance acts as a radical id-space where Suzie can escape the prison society built for her the moment she entered the industry and just let go. It’s sad, beautiful, and exciting all at the same time. And even so, she still loses in the first week. Since everyone dislikes Suzie.
I Hate Suzie Too goes even further than the first series, if that’s possible. It’s even weirder. Angrier. Sadder. Just like its antiheroine. Suzie has an abortion at home in the first episode. She takes the pills, puts a towel on the bed, and waits for the blood clots to come. Then comes a series of revealing events in which she keeps going to the bathroom to change her sanitary towel. She pulls off one pad that is bloody. one thing to another. The toilet is flushed. Again and again. In I Hate Suzie Some sounds are also made louder. Sometimes it’s Suzie’s phone or the creak of the heavy wooden door at her lawyer’s office as she tries to get her son Frank for Christmas. Here, it’s the everyday sounds of an abortion, which millions of women have heard before. I’ve never seen anything on screen like it.
But there are also funny parts. For example, when Suzie’s new, tough agent Sian (Anastasia Hille) shows her some toe-curling early VT from Dance Crazee and asks her what word comes to mind, “toe-curling” is the perfect word. “Teeth,” Suzie says. The real heart of the show, though, is still the relationship between her and (now ex-) agent Naomi Jones (Leila Farzad). There’s a great scene where they meet up in a bar after being apart for months. They lie to each other and to themselves that they’re not drinking, but they end up getting drunk and putting the world to rights in a series of bars, toilet stalls, and dance floors.
In other places, the humor is more like a skewer stuck in the gut. During one of their painful crisis talks, Sian asks, “Oh, have we reached the “go fuck yourself” stage?” “How about we skip that and go straight to apologizing? You’ve hit rock bottom with Pete Doherty in Margate, and someone filmed you saying something about Islam that was taken completely out of context… ” Or when Suzie’s nice ex-husband Bailey (Douglas Hodge) says to her, “That’s easy for you to say: you’re a musician.” You can do whatever you want. Everyone would just say, “Oh, it’s Bowie,” if he fucked a kid. Even I’m like that!”
I Hate Suzie Too will go literally everywhere. It is completely fearless, just like its antiheroine, who is horrible in many ways but also likeable, relatable, and real. Also, it’s too stressful to watch, and the parts with Suzie and Frank are too sad to describe. If anything, this so-called comedy drama leans more towards horror, and the end of episode two, in which Suzie cuts off her newly bleached hair after being forced to by a scream of pain, was so scary I couldn’t sleep for hours. So much does this show get under your skin. I Hate Suzie Too is a masterpiece, and Piper gives another performance of a lifetime in it.