Sweetbitter would have to be one of Stan’s most hotly anticipated series of 2018, but is it worth all the hype?
Sweetbitter, set in 2006, tells the story of Tess (Ella Purnell, (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), who just had to leave her hometown and head to New York. Once there, she’s without any friends, money or a job. After dropping her resume to a few places, Tess is offered an interview at one of the most prestigious restaurants, run by Howard (Paul Sparks The Greatest Showman, House of Cards). Once accepted, despite having no experience or long-term goal, Tess is given a chance that will change her forever.
On her first day she is introduced to the world of service on, a trial basis, with the help of experienced back-waiter Will (Evan Jonigkeit Broad City, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Girls). She strikes up a friendship with Sasha (Daniyar Scandal,Claws) and meets the charismatic Simone (Caitlin FitzGerald Masters of Sex Rectify and Unreal), who knows a lot about wine and at first glance seems sweet. Rounding out the cast of characters is the charming Jake Tom Sturridge (Far from the Madding Crowd, The Hollow Crown).
The casting is top notch here. Ella Purnell is a perfect choice for Tess, with her captivating performance as the blank canvas, allowing audiences to experience everything as Tess does. Catlin Fitzgerald is another reason to watch – she will draw you in with a captivating performance as the smart but manipulative Simone.
The script, adapted by the novel’s author Stephanie Danler, is character driven and her choice to not give Tess a backstory is a stroke of genius as it allows the audience to be drawn into Tess from the beginning. One of the shortfalls, however, is its lack of explanation on service terminology and why competitiveness over hidden bar-mops or the rituals of family meal are so important.
Within the three episodes offered for review it’s clear that Sweetbitter is so much more than just Tess’s story. It’s a series about growing up and finding your place in the world and the frendships we create along the way it’s a journey worth taking
3.5 stars /5
Sweetbitter premieres Monday May 7 on Stan