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I Hate Suzie Too is a masterclass in panic, comedy and embarrassment

The three-episode follow-up to the dark comedy series brings Billie Piper even closer to the edge with stunning results For the past two years, I have thought often about I Hate Suzie, a British dark comedy about a mid-level celebrity reeling from scandal. The series, co-created by the Succession writer Lucy Prebble and mesmerizing star Billie Piper, is claustrophobic and electrically candid, as Piper’s Suzie responds to the leak of intimate photos with combustible emotions delineated by eight episodes – shock, denial, fear, anger, among others. It’s a show that runs hot – as in, the scorching grip of anxiety – and visceral, the camera usually hugging close to Suzie’s face or that of her best friend/co-dependent agent Naomi (Leila Farzad). In particular, I have thought about the fourth episode, Shame, the most brain-searingly interior chapter of a show that always has one foot in Suzie’s frenetic, self-lacerating, constantly overcompensating psyche. Most of the 34-minute runtime goes toward a trip through Suzie’s mind as she tries to make herself orgasm in the midst of a shame spiral. Suzie stays in bed in blue leopard print pyjamas (other than a brief interlude to find a vibrator and scrounge up some batteries); we travel through her horny stream of consciousness, through car-sex fantasies and childhood baggage, channel-surfing through past faces. Naomi acts as guilty conscience, delivering cut-glass observations on Suzie’s inability to locate her own desire. It’s a strikingly honest and evocative depiction of female desire, both as a portrait of one woman’s labyrinthine mind and as a depiction of inextricability of social norms from private imagination. Contemporary shows such as I May Destroy You and Sex Education have also explored the intractable knots of female desire, shame and male-dominated media, but I had never seen anything like it on TV before. Continue reading...

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