Every year, Netflix releases a show (or two) that ruffles some feathers. Last year saw Girl Boss and 13 Reasons Why come under fire, but none had a backlash like Insatiable. It only took one trailer to spark a petition – signed by 100,000 people no less – begging Netflix to cancel the show. And with good reason.
Oh dear… this show is tremendously tone deaf. Aside from the obvious (y’know, the protagonist, Patty, getting bullied for being fat, having her jaw wired shut for three months and losing a lot of weight and becoming a… pageant girl??), Insatiable has so many moments that make you go “well why have they done that then?”.
Like, someone thought that, in 2018, – amid the current Hollywood ‘#MeToo’ climate – that it’d be a good idea to have the supporting character (lawyer and pageant coach Bob) experience a complete career loss after being falsely accused of sexual misconduct.
Then comes the genuine motto of the first half of the series: literally, “skinny is magic”. I’m not making this up. Other highlights include quotes about bisexuals not actually existing, making a bit of a predator out of best friend Nonnie and her crush on Patty, and Patty’s extremely lax attitude towards finding out about Bob’s criminal accusations.
Stylistically, the show is all over the place. It’s hard to tell whether we’re supposed to be watching a light-hearted comedy or something much darker.
The tone definitely veers off into darker territory in the second half of the series – so much so, that it feels like an entirely different show. Insatiable’s biggest downfall might be that it just doesn’t know what it wants to be.
The thing is, that there’s a message somewhere – I don’t know what it is, or where it is – but someone along the way meant well with this. I mean, the outcome is a bizarre and confusing mix of bad satire, bad writing, and some actually not bad acting, but there was a moral to the story in the original pitch.
Sometimes Netflix gets it very right. This isn’t one of those times.