UK TV review: I Hate Suzie Too
Charlotte Harrison | On 28, Dec 2022
Two years ago, I Hate Suzie introduced us the imploding life of Suzie Pickles (Billie Piper). Over the course of eight 30-minute episodes we were trapped alongside Suzie as we watched her marriage shatter, personal photos from her extramarital affair be blasted all over the press and social media, her career derail and her overly dependent friendship with agent Naomi (Leila Farzad) careen among the chaos.
If you thought things couldn’t get worse for Suzie, and more painful for the audience to watch, your doubts will be immediately rectified within the opening sequence of Season 2, aka I Hate Suzie Too. An extended dance sequence, choregraphed by Suzie and performed in a clown suit that overtly resembles a straightjacket, it’s the epitome of a panic attack – a desperately fraught expression of pain, uncertainty, and terror.
Suzie is taking part in a dance reality show called Dance Crazee Xmas, the kind that is more Masked Dancer than Strictly Come Dancing – yet more interactive with instantaneous feedback from the public.
Suzie’s participation in the programme is an attempt to redeem herself in the eyes of the public, restore faith in the industry and prove herself to her beloved son who is struggling in the aftermath of his parents’ break-up. She leaves the stage to even more panic, of a literal rather than abstract kind, as she endures an onslaught of updates about her professional and personal life from her superstar agents (a delightfully matter-of-fact pairing of Omari Douglas and Anastasia Hille) in a walk-and-talk that wouldn’t be out of place in The West Wing – if the issues being outlined were about vengeful exes and the consequences of leaked dick pics.
And so the trauma continues. For three hour-long episodes we continue to watch Suzie desperately try to stay afloat as she sinks further into the abyss. Considering how raw the first season felt, it seemed impossible things could get any worse. And yet they do. They really, really do.
The question of how autobiographical proceedings are remains unanswered, but the interference of a much older ex-husband (Douglas Hodge) and another ex-husband (Daniel Ings) – whose desperation and frustrations are taken out through their co-parenting arrangements – have echoes of familiarity. This is compulsory television for anyone with any delusions of want of celebrity, as its consequences are showcased here with open heart and brutal honesty. There is nothing desirable in the way Suzie’s is forced to live her life under a microscope, with venomous scrutiny from all angles.
This is a visionary collaborative project, with Lucy Prebble’s script and Piper’s performance ensuring that it is impossible to look away from this monstrous, blistering, self-destructive and desperate unravelling of one woman’s life and entire sense of self.