Sweetbitter (TV Series 2018– ) Poster

(2018– )

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4/10
as exciting as a well done steak...
Denovot12 June 2018
I decided to give this a shot after seeing constant ads, also being a New Yorker with some experience in fine dining I was interested enough. Unfortunately there were so many glaring issues with this adaptation. The most frustrating part is there are glimmers of what could've been a great show throughout, opportunities squandered at every turn. One of the main issues is our star, Tess. It's hard to distinguish if it's mainly the fault of the writer, director or actor, but all three do their fair share to poison the pot. I get they are going for doe-eyed naivety but come on, give the audience a little credit, or the character some dimension. Everything, I mean everything she looks at she's gawking as if she has just discovered there are other humans on this planet- get's old real quick. Not to mention it's just not believable. NO ONE with her behavior (won't even discuss lack of experience) would last a day in that industry. However, I'm more than willing to suspend belief for plot but this show doesn't deliver the goods. The show does not give you any reason to root for her success except that she is the obvious protagonist and well, I guess you just should. She isn't particularly hard working or respectful, she walks around in a self absorbed bubble the entire season. For a coming of age there is little, if any personal growth exhibited on her end. All of the secondary characters are painfully one note. The season would have been more interesting had they paid more attention to some of them or even made it an ensemble show, as following wide eyed Tess around all day gets tiring. Then there's oh-so-troubled-Jake and I'm-so-illusive Simone. They both seem to have these massive fronts to feign the audience into intrigue, but I'm guessing not much is behind either door. There was no resolution into the season long tension within the 3 or insight into their motivations. The writers either didn't have answers or are holding out hope for a second season, either way not much happens in the first season besides the answer to if Tess will become a permanent hire. Luckily it's a short watch and they didn't milk this plot for a longer run time. I may even give it a chance if it gets renewed, hoping they juice up the writing, flesh out the ensemble and someone slaps that look off of Tess's face.
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7/10
Slight but quite promising
lectureral7 May 2018
A familiar story of a young girl heading to the big city to find herself and grow a personality. Ella Purnell is the sweet girl who has not yet revealed the bitter but shows hints of a steel core. She is taken on to train at Howard's (Paul Sparks - last seen in Waco) posh restaurant and her future family (one guesses) is there in the kitchen and front of house. Speaking as a former restaurant manager, she is given a surprising amount of freedom as a probationer (scoffing oysters in the cold store while quaffing champagne?) but I guess that can be called poetic licence. All told I will be giving it a chance to grow on me.
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2/10
Where's Wallet?
connolley32516 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers Below

So far I've seen two episodes and am not going to continue to watch this. It's very cliched and has wooden dialogue. I don't know the point -- does the main character want to become a chef or what? The lead actress walks around like she's a half-wit with her mouth gaping open, gawking at people as if she's never seen humans before. Her first day at the restaurant, she walks around in a daze and does absolutely nothing. In such a high-end restaurant, I think she'd be shown the door after 10 minutes of this behavior, but no, she manages to somehow get away with doing nothing. She supposedly has a degree in literature but tells the manager in her interview that she's not reading anything right now when he asks her -- couldn't they have a least have her state a book or two? Everyone ignores her on her first day and rush around manically, maybe this is normal restaurant staff etiquette but I found it annoying. She was supposed to fill salt shakers and bus some plates but fails to do most of this.There are some cliches like the dramatic gay guy, the aggressive lesbian, the aloof wine expert, the hot bartender, the stuffy manager, and so on. In the second episode, she leaves to go home at the end of her shift, orders food, realizes she forgot her wallet at work, returns to work to find a big party going on, and is told it's a nightly thing. Why didn't anyone tell her? Then she goes to another bar (forgets her wallet again), gets hit in the face at the other bar, does cocaine, drinks a ton of shots (also acting like she's never done cocaine by readily snorts it after having had some put on her split lip), and goes to pay for the drinks (EVERONE'S DRINKS?) and realizes she again (third time) didn't have her wallet. I was really irritated by this -- I hope her wallet is long gone. I'm out!
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9/10
Not what your expecting in a good way! Bourdain would have loved this!
Brave_TraveIer24 September 2019
With short a short synopsis, I delayed watching this show until very recently. After reading 'Kitchen Confessions', by the late great Anthony Bourdain (Parts Unknown on CNN), I asked myself, how come there's such a huge void for series offering a raw authentic view behind the scenes in the kitchen life? Other than the movie Burnt starring Bradley Cooper and the first season and done AMC series starring Ross from friends, I don't recall great content filling this void.

First, this series isn't exactly dedicated to the culture of a chef's life or how intense the world of serving is working world wide renoun star rated restaurants, well, kinda.

This show is on the caliber of series like Flesh and Bone, The Girlfriend Experience, and Mozart in the jungle. Though these shows are entirely different, they share the same kind of unniverse and platform; STARZ, except for Primes Mozart.

Sweet bitter is very engaging and each episode ends too quickly as you want it to continue much longer since each grows as the minutes go by with intrigue, same with the seasons. The lead is very seductive and likable as shes so amiable and graceful. We know nothing about her history for half the first season, as it remains intriguing to learn who she was before moving to NY and what kind of life she led. I was very surprised to read the negative reviews and felt like I watched a different show. Our first impression of her is she's moved to a city, NYC, that seems like it's the last place for her.

She works in NYC best notable restaurant owned by the great actor from House of Cards (the author Francis employed to write the book), and his onscreen presence captures the restuarants tone so well. The behind the scenes look is always compelling and portrays how difficult it is to be a server in upscale places.

But

This show is less about plot, and more about characters. I personally dont give a damnas like as the writing is great! And thus it is. It's a series that naturally grows letting the characters aet the pace in their actions and decisions first. This series is massively underrated and a 7 on here is just comical!

I have a high standard when it comes to investing my time in a series and these days not many shows Wow me or making me binge like a few years ago. This is very addicting and the reason I added the names kd the above shows, is because if you liked any of them, you will surely like this one.

Dismiss the low rating and negative comments. But then not people appreciate these kind of unique and very different shows.
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1/10
By millenials for Millenials
jaedence14 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I'm seeing ads for this everywhere.

Watched one episode, painfully stupid.

My wife and I like food porn. So despite the mediochre reviews, we gave it a shot, hoping to see something cool set in a fine dining restaurant.

The first few minutes are fine. Then we get the millennial job interview. She has no skills. She knows how to bus and that's it. So, since she has no experience doing anything remotely useful, the interviewer asks her "I see you graduated with a BFA in English. What are you reading now?" "I'm not reading anything now."

This could have been a good spot to enhance the character with some insight into her personality. It could have been a good spot to give the interviewer a reason to hire her. It could have been a number of things. INstead. "I'm not reading anything right now." Really? You want to talk about something you read in the past? A book you loved? A book you just finished? No? None of that? Just stare out the windows? "I'm not reading anything right now." Done. And wow.

She leaves the interview with "I've been to a lot of places today but this place is different."

Not, "I like what you're going for here. I really like this place. I felt a real connection to you. I feel like I belong here, give me a shot." Nope. This place is different. Thanks I guess?

So of course she gets the job and then spends her first day doing, essentially nothing. Not as far as work is concerned. She wanders around staring at people, gets cut somehow, I'm still not sure how since she was never near a knife. She is told to "wipe down salt shakers" and fails to complete this very basic task. Literally, someone else takes care of the 12 salt shakers because she got distracted.

Then finishes the day (having done zero work) by drinking champagne and eating oysters in the walk in cooler.

When the guy is opening oysters she asks "How do you even learn how to do something like that."

What the actual hell does that even mean? THE SAME WAY YOU LEARN ANYTHING ELSE? WHAT ARE YOU EVEN ASKING?

As she tastes her first oyster she sees sunsets and the ocean and her head explodes (I wish.) When asked what she tastes, she says "Salt. Can I have another?"

How about "I taste the ocean and summer and life and adventure."

Nope. She tastes salt. Horrible.

I can only assume this is a show by millennials for millennials. Give me a job because I'm special without showing you why I'm special and then I will show up and vapidly stare at things and not actually work.
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2/10
Doe-Eyed Engenue
SusanLervold15 May 2018
I gave the series a shot out of desperation from lack of anything new to watch, so my expectations were fairly low going in.

Yikes, it's bad. Surprisingly bad. The lead actress is very pretty, but looks alone is clearly not enough. I can't tell if it's her acting or if it's the director's fault, but her "I'm so wide-eyed and curious," bit made my gorge rise. I wanted to poke her with something sharp.

I'd rather watch a "Survivor" rerun than this drivel.
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10/10
Service industry done right
katswiftphotography17 June 2018
This plays on so many cliches of the food industry but they are all true. I relate to all the characters and the scenarios. I think it is well done and I can't wait to see where it goes. I hope people give this show a chance.
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5/10
Overcooked steak
niccobates7 June 2018
Have made it through 3 episodes which I think is a reasonable shot but that's as far as it goes. Careers from one cliche to another. Perhaps in other hands a show set behind the scenes in an upmarket New York restaurant could yield something a little more than on offer here, but then again perhaps not. It looks great but moody lighting and sultry acting isn't enough. A sit com might have worked better with this material or at least a plot with somewhere to go.
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1/10
The book is a lot better
leahefti16 May 2018
Update: After watching all six episodes of the first season, I have to correct my review from four to one star. This show really lacks depth and sensuality, all the great dialogue and atmosphere stays in the book but doesn't make it to the screen.

While Ella Purnell for Tess is an OK-choice, I can't understand many of the other decisions concerning the cast, especially Simone and Will.

But that aside: What makes the book so special is how sensual the story of developing a palate (both for food and men) is told. Stephanie Danlers writing is very lyrical, focuses a lot on small details and special observations. Almost all of that is lost in the TV-adaption - because it's impossible to bring across in picture, what you can do with words.

If the plot of the book was stronger, the stroy had more drive, it would have worked. But the storytelling comes second to the sensual, human experience of entering a foreign field, a new crowd.

Therefore only 4 stars from me. But the book was bomb.
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9/10
Sensation Al a carte
ashlee_doolin23 July 2019
I love a show that can make you feel something and this does not disappoint. It's about creating an experience. Feeling and learning new things for the first time and growing into the you that you want to become. Girl in the city working at a sexy restaurant growing into her own. I also love the breakdown of the taste and sexual sensation aspects. Can't wait for more.
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1/10
I made it through episode 1 . . . barely
whatithinkis13 May 2018
I recognize that this is unique and quite interestingly done . . . BUTTT . . . I found, when confronted with the female lead at the beginning of episode 2, that, while I'd found her annoying in the first episode, now I absolutely could not stand to watch her for one more minute.

So, it's a no for me.
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2/10
Another example of a decent book made into a bad show
allisonmaslack4 June 2018
I hope that the writers, actors, etc. don't get paid by word. Barely any meaningful script and dialogue spread thin on all characters. I listened to the book on audible ahead of the show. Tbh I liked the book a lot (until the ending), so overall I was intrigued by a show. This show, however, is pretty terrible. The way it's shot, directed, edited etc. is great, and the actors for the most part are great, too. The compliments end there. True to the novel this is not. It downplays the best parts of the novel and amplifies the worst. It's a dumbed-down 30 minute materialistic and superficial mess. All the best parts of the dynamics between Tess and the various characters are missing and the need to care about her too. No substance. I'll hang in for the finale (seems rather soon), but won't expect much. I also do not expect it back for another season, unless someone involved has major connections. Reminds me of girlboss- great in theory but terrible in delivery!
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10/10
Give us season 3!
leahvivette16 September 2019
Just finished season 2 on the starz app and loved it! Give us a season 3 with more episodes!
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1/10
How many times can they regurgitate this plot?
donkey_dick12 July 2019
How many times can they regurgitate this plot? Girl moves to Brooklyn. Freaking boring. Not funny either. Piece of junk.
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10/10
Very well written & perfectly casted
shil050014 May 2018
WOW! This has to be the best young adult coming of age story for adventuresome intelligent 20 somethings. The key word's being intelligent & adventuresome not gaming in mommy & daddy's basement. The upper end food service industry & the comraderies of friendships to be made makes for a lifetime of memories & sets you up for the challenges of life to come. There is a reason why 70% of college grads start & end up there, not in their area of education. Very well written & perfectly casted. This is a "GEM" to be enjoyed over & over. Thank you for entertaining me & bring back memories my 20's
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7/10
Good guilty pleasure
miaharpr15 June 2019
I just watched this to pass the time, but I thought it was intriguing enough and found myself finishing the first season. It has the sweetness of a chick flick and the bitterness of an angsty indie film. The main actress is very beautiful and she is captivating to watch. The supporting actors played their parts well. It leaves me feeling empty watching it...there's something sad about the atmosphere of the show...but at the same time it has a dream-like quality about it that makes me long for it. The only thing I don't like about it is how angry or tired of life everyone is, but I think that's what the show wants to evoke. I do look forward to season 2 and more character and storyline development. And I do crave the show.
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7/10
Binge-worthy but a little too quirky at times
goddardm-7980120 July 2019
I managed to watch the entire first season in one day. It was good. Not great. Not terrible. IMO, if you want a fair review of this series, ignore all the one and ten star ratings. They simply are not realistic. It moves a little slow at times but the characters all become likeable in their own way. Never having worked in the food service industry, I can't say how accurately life is portrayed. Most of the characters seem depressed and without hope (and high :) all the time however, so that seems a bit over-played. The one aspect I found exceptionally annoying is how Tess is constantly portrayed as the "wide-eyed country bumpkin" stepping foot into the big city for the very first time. It was sort of cute in the first episode. It gets pretty old by the 6th episode. Started Season 2. Seems on-track so far.
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3/10
Sweetbitter plays like those short Cinemax vignettes of yore
GerryofNorVA2 July 2019
Sweetbitter's (6eps, 30-min, Starz) first season was a disappointment. The production values were good but it disappoints in execution. 23 year old Ella Purnell stars as a similarly aged ingénue ("Tess") breaking into NYC's restaurant business. There's a varied and diverse supporting cast, but the show suffers in basic storytelling and its glacial pacing. It's as if series creator Stephanie Danler instructed the six different directors (!) to ensure her interesting story was made boring. But there's seven executive directors, including Brad Pitt, on all 6 eps so maybe it's a case of - get ready for the subject appropriate pun - too many cooks in the kitchen. Seriously, why so many EPs for a 6 ep show?! ("Billions" on Showtime just completed its fourth great season with 4 EPs.) I usually see this type of pacing problem with one-hour shows that would be much better as half-hour tellings, but Sweetbitter makes a half-hour feel like an hour! And the season finale does nothing - NOTHING - to make you mark your calendar for a sophomore season which it was inexplicably granted. (It's a low-budget show on a network not well known for its back catalog of original content, so that's why.) But season one left me empty and disappointed so I'll pass on subsequent seasons.
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1/10
I fell asleep after 10 minutes.
psxexperten6 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Another B movie from Plan B Entertainment. You are welcome to bore yourself to death. Watching paint dry is quicker & more interesting. I only watched this based off the ranking (6.9), but I am disappointed in the IMDb community who give high ranking on this stinker.
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6/10
Gives insight to restaurant life
rkezer7715 May 2018
I've read the book that the show is based on and it was incredibly relatable due to the fact of working in restaurants for awhile. So hopes were pretty high on this. The pace and storytelling is great so far but the casting for a few characters is definitely questionable, especially Tess. Giving it a shot for the first season, hope it lives up to potential.
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9/10
It is literally my life !
jessie_pupu7 May 2018
Not the lead actress, but coworker.... She's the one we always bully with in the really world restaurant! Young, fearless, curious for everything, but not smart enough to dominate her job and life, we see these kind of people all the time in the restaurant. For sure, it's her journey in a big city, fancy restaurant, she will have all kinds of flavor in life, I just finished the first episode, and I can't wait for the next one.
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9/10
A Terrific Start To This New Series
atlasmb25 May 2018
We know what bittersweet is, but what is sweetbitter? A taste for seasoned palates, perhaps? I intend to find out as I watch beyond the first three episodes of this series starring Ella Purnell as a twenty-two-year-old who moves from rural Ohio to New York City on a journey of discovery.

In the first episode, she finds employment in a upscale restaurant. She is surrounded by people who seem to have the key to an exclusive club that is foreign to her. Everything seems to come easy to them, so she studies their every word and movement.

This is, obviously, a fish-out-of-water story melded with a coming-of-age story, and much of its success hangs on Purnell's believability and the viewer's desire to follow her down the rabbit hole. Fortunately, her character is likable and she portrays well the earnest innocence of "the new kid".

The show's attention to detail is apparent in every set, every action. The casting is near perfect, surrounding Purnell with characters you want to learn about.

The music deserves mention. It feels perfectly wedded to every scene.

The writing is nuanced and sparse (in the best way).

In one scene, the main character is walking across the Williamsburg Bridge and I felt I could smell the oily, human dirtiness of the city.

If you watch the first few episodes, notice how many times they mention the main character's name. It's a small item, but it informs the viewer in a subtle way.
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10/10
Awesome Show 100% Accurate
defot00123 July 2019
As a Chef and being deaf, I can really connect with this show!
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10/10
Different than most series out right now!
james_gregory-7804813 May 2018
Yeah, I really love this series so far. I love how the series is introducing each person into the series. Gives you a great insight into working in a restaurant like that. Cannot wait to watch more.
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9/10
First episode slow but get through it
laughtonkc16 May 2018
The first episode is slow but the second episode is much better. Still waiting for the show to pick up a little more but shows a lot of promise especially if they stick with some of the storylines from the book.
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