Insatiable Review: Is It Worth All The Fuss?

WARNING: Some spoilers!

Netflix has been on a roll recently when it comes to releasing young adult approved content. The Kissing Booth has had viewers get back into the teen rom-com, Twitter is buzzing about To All The Boys I Loved Before and Peter Kavinsky, and while it is controversial, people are still tuning in to catch all the latest drama on 13 Reasons Why. Yet it seems Netflix may have ended their streak of luck with Insatiable, their latest show targeted for young adults.

In early August, Netflix came under fire for the show after many felt that the show was fat shaming. A petition was even organized on Change.org for the show to not be released based on those grounds.

With all of the criticism surrounding just the initial trailer, I decided to go into the 12 episodes with an open mind. What I found was a show that is both out-there, but with its heart in the right place.  Insatiable tells the story of Patty Bladel (Debby Ryan), a high school student who is picked on due to her being overweight. Her whole life changes when she is punched in the jaw by an angry homeless guy outside of a convenience store. After that, life gets a bit crazy for Patty. Thanks to her jaw being wired shut, Patty becomes skinny and realizes that life has some new things to offer her. Enter in Bob Armstrong (Dallas Roberts), a lawyer and recently disgraced pageant coach with some self-esteem issues of his own, who sees Patty as his way back into the pageant scene. Then, insanity ensues.

The show primarily focuses on Patty and Bob, but features a strong ensemble cast with a stand out performance by Kimmy Shields as Nonnie, Patty’s best friend who is completely unaware that her feelings for Patty are romantic ones. Alyssa Milano stars as Bob’s trailer trash turned southern socialite wife and provides a wonderful overexaggerated southern accent with it. The ensemble also throws in Bob Barnard (Chris Gorham), Bob Armstrong’s archrival on the pageant stage and in the courtroom, who is constantly seen with his shirt off because why not? With this cast of characters, Insatiable makes it clear that it is a show all about camp. This may be the reason as to why critics seem to be dismissing it. The show includes outrageous plot points, like a pageant called Miss Magic Jesus and an exorcism, but the show recognizes that these points are ridiculous.

In regards to the fat shaming, the show does initially come off as that within its first episodes. Patty is called “Fatty Patty” on a number of occasions and the fat suit that is placed on Debby Ryan is not at all convincing. After the punch to her jaw, Patty’s life becomes magical. She is accepted by much of the school and grabs the attention of several suitors. Patty seems to think that “skinny is magic”. With that mindset, Patty loses her sweet self and becomes a self-obsessed pageant diva, which causes several catastrophic changes in her life, including the loss of Nonnie’s friendship, a fake pregnancy, and a kidnapping. These escapades change that initial mindset that Patty has and she begins to realize what kind of person she wants to be.

Insatiable is for sure outlandish and does have some issues with its presentation of the show, but behind that lies a show that wants its viewers to see that what’s important in life is one’s character and that true power comes from what you believe yourself to be. If Netflix invites the cast and crew back for a second season, I hope that viewers come to it with an open mind and the willingness to put aside all of its oddities to see the underlying message of self-empowerment and happiness Insatiable hopes to provide.