The Skin-Deep Dilemma of ‘Insatiable’

If You Love Camp, This Show is Your Counselor

Insatiable is a polarizing show, even in my own mind. The concept is flat-out problematic. Patty, a troubled teen girl who struggles with her weight, punches a homeless man in the face when he fat-shames her. He retaliates, a surgeon wires her jaw shut, and she magically emerges thin and beautiful. Her rage is still an issue, and she develops an unhealthy obsession with her lawyer Bob Armstrong, particularly when he wants to be her pageant coach. She wants revenge on the world but lacks the necessary planning skills.

The messages sent are: fat women must become thin to truly live, all former fatties have deep-rooted insecurity and eating disorders, and that being a sociopath is…fine? If you’re attractive.

Insatiable contains many elements I love, like pageants, accents, high camp, and the occasional horse. But where this show giveth, it taketh away. It presents gifts like Patty and Bob on an accidental killing spree, then mucks it up with a big hunk of fat-shaming.

Season 2 of Insatiable starts precisely where we left off. Patty and Bob are trying to sink Christian’s body and car in a lake, but it’s too shallow. Then Patty reveals there may be another body to bury–she thinks she’s killed Stella Rose. We’re off to the races as the pair gallivant around town, coming across 30-50 feral hogs who take care of their body-disposal predicament.

By the end of the first episode of the new season, we’re floating in an ocean of sudsy, steaming bubbles as our players heighten the stakes on one another again. If you love camp, this show is your counselor. Within the hour, Patty and Bob must find Stella Rose, find out who murdered Roxy, avoid Magnolia, date Brick, and in Bob’s case, choose between Coralee and Bob Barnard. My head’s spinning. Also, we have multiple scenes where Insatiable shows eating as bad, but it handles disordered eating not well, but not as badly as I expected from this show.

The rest of the season careens along the drama-filled path, with Patty essentially turning into a version of Dexter, a show Nonnie forced her to watch. The information about being a successful serial killer she soaked up watching Showtime served her well, I’ll say that. These are all high camp, and as I mentioned, gifts. However, this show never gives its viewers anything without a price.

The pounds of flesh they extract in exchange for melodramatic plot lines include misogyny and fat-shaming, but the worst offense is the characters. This may be a personal preference, but I need someone to root for on a show and there’s just no one to really root for on Insatiable. For every redeeming quality Patty shows, there are five  instances of self-involvement, callousness, and murderous intent.

When I first heard about Insatiable, I thought it was going to be a fun Alyssa Milano show about vampires (come on, Insatiable is definitely a vampire show title). I wish it were. I so, so wish it were.

Kristin Clifford

Kristin Clifford is a comedy writer in Los Angeles. She started in Chicago, studying improv and performing stand-up, but has traded the stage for the page. Recent projects include writing for season 2 of Cathy in Real Life.

One thought on “The Skin-Deep Dilemma of ‘Insatiable’

  • October 31, 2019 at 3:24 pm
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    i love insatiable….i feel like you watched only the first episode of season 2

    Reply

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