‘Sweetbitter’ 1×01 Review: New York Is Never A Mistake

Small towns never made sense to me. Why would someone want to be so isolated? Why would someone like quiet? Why would someone like to drive hours to get to a mall? None of it made sense to me. And to be honest, the concrete jungle, the noise, the heat… hell, even the humidity of New York have an elecricity about them. They hold onto you, the grab you, and they make you feel alive.

New York is a dream. It is a life that you can live deeply and fully. It will tear you up and find a way to put you back together. That’s the thing about New York… everything that you didn’t know you needed, everything that you weren’t sure existed inside of you – you can find it here.

Maybe that’s why I related so much to Sweetbitter. When I read the book, I found myself taken in – as if someone had written the way I felt about New York. As if someone understood my calling to it.

As Sweetbitter started, my heart skipped a beat. It was as if I was watching myself – ready to leave the small towns that had confined me, ready to be lost in a place where no one knew me and I could be anything that I needed to be. Because there was one thing that I knew that moment that I left that Tess seemed to get, “I knew if I Stayed one more minute, I would blink and ten years would go by.”

And here’s the thing about New York – when you arrive at it’s gates – whether is be one at JFK, La Guardia, a bridge, or tunnel – there is a fee to be paid. For Tess, it was a $7.00 toll. A toll that feels like it is taking everything from her, because here – every dollar counts. Every dollar is a step towards a dream, or a step away from it.

But at the beginning paying your toll to get into New York – it’s mandatory. $7.00 is a small price to pay. For me it was the person I was, but it was a small price to pay. Tess was excited to find herself in the city that never sleeps. It didn’t matter that she was moving into a shitty apartment where she was going to have to live on an air mattress. But that air mattress is heaven, because Tess is in her heaven.

She’s in New York.

But the thing about New York is you have to realize is that living here – you will never work so hard in your life. You will never work as hard as you will in this city, because it’s not all glitz and glamour. It’s work to find what you need and what New York is willing to give you. Everyday you need to hit the streets and no matter what happens, you don’t let the streets defeat you. Tess learned quickly that you don’t give up and no matter what happens you smile and continue onto the next.

And sometimes the truth about New York is it will lead you into places you didn’t expect and will keep pulling you to places that you don’t expect. For Tess that was into one of the finest restaurant in New York. She doesn’t have experience, she doesn’t know what she’s doing, and giving a good interview is the last thing that she does right. But Tess knows one thing – she doesn’t know what she wants.

And the person that can be honest about that – well, that’s strength. She was in a new city, with the world against her. She was in a new place and she wasn’t letting it scare her. She was willing try. I think even Tess walked out of 22 thinking that she didn’t get the job.

The thing about Tess, is you forget she’s a character, because Ella Purnell is so flawless, that you relate to her. You can’t help but think that she was experiencing the joys of New York, the hardships of it, and the love of it as Tess was. Ella makes you want to see New York through Tess’s eyes. You want to experience her experiences. Tess is your friend that you are rooting for. She’s flawed and she’s fearless and everything you wish you could be.

When Tess gets the job – you get nervous for her, but you want to stand up and cheer her on. Why? Because she is taking on the New York restaurant scene, which scares me even when I just go out to eat in it. But like most people when you come to New York – she’s filled with hope and optomism and a happiness to just be here.

A trainer who makes her feel like she’s never going to get it right, bitchy waitresses who want to see her fail, guests who she doesn’t know and will affect her – this restaurant is going to make her find herself.

And that’s the thing about New York – it’s never a mistake.

Tess is just about to figure that out.

The first episode of Sweetbitter has me hooked. Maybe it’s because I have my own love affair with New York. Maybe it’s because I live here. But I feel like strong acting, strong source material, and an outstanding script – set in this city.

Well, it doesn’t get any better than that.


  • Tom Sturridge is a beautiful man
  • Can we all hate Simone together?
  • It doesn’t take an oyster for me to have sex dreams about Tom Sturridge.
  • I need a pop up of this restaurant with the cast as my waiters.
  • Tom Sturridge is a really beautiful man.
  • What does one have to do to get Tom Sturridge to shuck them an oyster in a freezer?

Sweetbitter airs Sundays on Starz.

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