Sweetbitter: ‘Salt’ recap


The first episode of the new Starz series, Sweetbitter, aired last night.

The new Starz series, Sweetbitter, premiered on Starz. The half-hour drama based on the best-selling Stephanie Danler novel follows a 22-year-old woman who suddenly decides to move to New York City.

Tess, played by Ella Purnell, utters the first 17 words of the series that sets the tone, “I knew if I stayed one more minute, I would blink and ten years would go by.” She leaves a note and leaves. She’s careful to annotate she’s not accelerating from her current life, she’s feeling the momentum from a new one.

More from Show Snob

Tess is actually the same age as me. I was 22 in 2006 and graduated from Cabrini College trying to figure out my place in the world. I remember that feeling, wanting more out of my life but not knowing how to get it. Well, Tess isn’t sure either, but she knows she has to go to New York to find out.

She drives to the big city, sells her car for half its worth, then studies her printed-out Mapquest (ew!) directions as she navigates the concrete jungle.

Tess needs to find a job and interviews to be back waitress at a prestigious NYC restaurant.

She interviews with Howard, the restaurant’s manager. He figures Tess to be a wannabe waitress or writer, but soon finds out she has no direction. She knows nothing about wine and her only industry experience is in a coffee shop. But he’s charmed enough by Tess that he offers her a training trial.

Her first day doesn’t go very well, but as a viewer and fan of “fish-out-of-water” stories, I didn’t expect it to.

Right away, she seems out-of-place. They force her to sit at a table by herself to fill salt during the “family dinner.” She is told to serve a special patron, Mrs. Meeley, which she messes up. It’s only after the disaster of an interaction we learn she was set up to fail.

Watch your favorite shows on fuboTV: Watch over 67 live sports and entertainment channels with a 7-day FREE trial!

She meets a colorful cast of characters. Simone, played by Caitlin FitzGerald (Masters of Sex), who is a combo of Lilith from Frasier and C.C. from The Nanny. She’s refined, but fake and it’s obvious we can’t trust her.

Tess also meets Shasha (played by Daniyar), who she first sees crying in a hallway. When she asks him if he’s ok, he first shuns her, but later explains his father died in Russia. They have an interaction that leads me to believe they will be friends.

Last, we have the sexy Will, played by Evan Jonigkeit. It’s obvious the show is setting him up to be Tess’ love interest. He’s a bad boy. He shows up late, misses family dinner, and he doesn’t give AF.

Their only interaction is saved for the end.

He gives her an oyster to taste, and he asks her what she tastes. She says, “salt.” Then, she asks for another. She’s completely hooked on this world, the restaurant, the sounds, the feel, the taste, and Will; she’s got it bad.

Next: 6 must-watch Netflix originals coming in May

I think Sweetbitter has a lot of potential. It’s in danger of becoming another stereotypical small-town girl in a big city show. And I know the show took place in 2006, but with the #MeToo movement in full swing, the show should be progressive enough for 2018.