Nine Reasons You Should Be Watching Sugar Rush


Photo: Courtesy of Here! TV

Move over Spashley. Here comes Sugum—or Kimur—well whatever couple name amalgamation you prefer of Kim and Sugar. The BAFTA nominated and International Emmy award winning British series, Sugar Rush, has finally landed here in the States and is currently airing on the queer premium channel here! TV.

Based on the popular young adult novel by Julie Burchill, Sugar Rush is the first person account of British baby dyke Kim, a self proclaimed 15-year-old, sexually frustrated, gay virgin. The story is told from her perspective as she navigates the choppy waters of her first love with best friend Sugar and the drama tsunami of her family life.

While the show at times is bittersweet, here are nine reasons why Sugar Rush is a sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

9. Fierce Fashion: Between Kim’s adorably fuzzy hats and Sugar’s wardrobe (that is just this side of drag queen-apolooza), comprised of all things sparkly, faux fur and four-inch heels is guaranteed to give you a serious case of accessory envy. Sugar Rush does for the British under-21 set, what The L Word did for thirtysomething lesbians in L.A.: proves that they’ve got style.

8. It's Funny Because It's True!:  Looking a back at your high school years, sometimes you only have two choices: laugh or cry. It’s in this same vein of pubescent gallows humor that Sugar Rush finds its sense of humor. Packed with plenty of drama ala My So Called Life, Sugar Rush still manages to strike a balance of dark comedy with a brand of stinging wittiness can only be found in darkest of teenage hours, in some cases like when quick on her toes Kim tricks Sugar into a snog by telling her that a boy Sugar wants to impress has requested it, may cut close to home.

7. Family Strife: No adolescent tale is complete with out the trials and tribulations of insufferable parents and siblings. In this case Kim is saddled with a kind but clueless father, Nathan (Richard Lumsden) a pathologically self indulgent and unfaithful mother Stella (Sara Stewart) and an odd hamster-murdering little brother (Kurtis O’Brien) who is convinced he is from another planet. But unlike other coming-of-age TV shows, where the family is peripheral at best or an enormous snooze fest at worst, the family interactions and dysfunction is half of—OK a third of—the fun.

6. Cringe-Free Teen Drama: Drinking, smoking, experimentation and hormones-a-ragin’ pretty much sums up the typical teenage years. Sugar Rush manages to portray them without the saccharine after school lessons of South of Nowhere or the inflated melodrama of The OC. Exploring all the highs, low and humiliations that come along with being 15, along with all the pain and confusion of being young, queer and in love for the first time make it genuine.

5. Been There, Done That: Ever fallen for a strait, completely unattainable, friend? Yeah, me too. And like countless other baby dykes, Kim, quite sure that she is as gay as the day is long, is utterly infatuated with best friend and resident bad girl Maria “Sugar” Sweet. It’s impossible not to sympathize and cringe along as Kim daydreams, plots and schemes to try and lure Sugar into her bed.

4. One Hot (Mess) Mama!  The lovely Sara Stewart stars as Stella, Kim’s adulterous mother. If she looks familiar it’s probably from her 60 seconds of screen time in Batman Begins as Bruce Wayne’s ill-fated mother. Fans of the book know Stella as a despicable horror show of a parent, caught up in the midst of a strumpet-y midlife crisis. And it’s to the credit of actor Sara Stewart that Stella with all of her selfish neglectful ways still manages to be a likeable, (nearly) sympathetic character. Besides by episode three she gets her riotous crab-tastic comeuppance.

3. It’s Better Then the Book: How often can you say that the TV show/movie is better then the book it's based on? Character development and plot complexity are usually the first things to go in the move from print to live action. Not to mention, rarely can anything live up to the picture drawn in your own imagination. But Sugar Rush is the exception that makes the rule, in breaking in many ways from the book, the series is a reboot that actually improves the material. The characters are more relatable, likable and the end—far more satisfying.

2. Bitter (Maria) Sweet: The object of Kim’s sexual obsession, Sugar (a.k.a. Maria Sweet), played by the beguiling Lenora Chrichlow, changed Kim's life forever when they met (under dubious circumstances). Sugar is the bad girl who you just can help but be drawn too. She oozes sexuality, is highly toxic and promiscuous with a dash of sociopath thrown in just for flavor. She’s that girl that all your friends tell you is no good for you and your reply is invariably, "You just don’t know her like I do." Sugar is a guaranteed toothache and heartache.

1. The Real Deal: Most complaints about lesbian representation on television is that all to frequently the characters are shallow, stereotypical, pregnant (or trying to be), homicidal and mostly relegated to supporting roles. In Sugar Rush, Kim, played the very talented Olivia Hallinan, is front and center, queer as can be, and totally authentic. She isn’t murderous, desperately seeking sperm or preoccupied with fears regarding her sexuality. However, she is a teenage dyke that many adolescents and former adolescents can readily identify with—at last.

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