When Insatiable’s trailer dropped, people expected the show to be bad. The reality is worse.
Insatiable, the controversial new show from Netflix that debuts on Friday, is simultaneously one of the cruelest and most poorly crafted shows I have ever seen.
It spends all of its time striving desperately to reach the status of third-tier Ryan Murphy and falling flat. It has Murphy’s gleeful sadism in spades, but none of his manic camp energy; it has his treacly didacticism, but none of his genuine emotion.
When Insatiable’s trailer premiered in July to instant, furious backlash, a widespread response was that it was wrong to judge a show by its trailer. Watch it before you pass judgment, people advised. I have now watched every episode of Insatiable, and I can tell you whatever you might be imagining from the trailer is nothing. The reality is much, much worse.
Insatiable tells the story of 17-year-old Patty (Debby Ryan, wearing a very fake-looking fat suit for the first few minutes of the pilot), whose classmates have inflicted upon her the nickname Fatty Patty. Patty spends all of her time binge-eating to compensate for her loneliness — because Insatiable is smugly sure that fat people are losers — until a homeless guy punches her in the face.
The series presents this encounter as the miracle that Patty needs. Her jaw is wired shut. She is on a liquid diet for three months. Once the wires are removed, Ryan emerges from her fat suit to reveal Patty’s magical new skinny body, and Patty begins to seek her revenge. Teaming up with disgraced pageant coach Bob (Dallas Roberts), she sets off on