“Skinny is magic.” Not only is that the title to one of the episodes of the new Netflix series — it’s a constant theme and slogan throughout the first season.
The show has received widespread criticism since premiering and has garnered over 230,000 signatures calling for the series to be canceled, citing harmful body-shaming. While the show does include plenty of fat-shaming, it goes much deeper than that. For a show that is supposed to be a dark comedy, it’s ridiculously unfunny and hard to watch.
Debby Ryan stars as “Fatty Patty,” a girl who was bullied for being overweight. After being punched in the face, her jaw breaks and she’s forced to go on a liquid-only diet, magically losing all her excess body fat. After Patty goes back to school and realizes that classmates find her attractive, she becomes hungry again — this time for revenge on anyone who wronged her. Yes, this is actually a show that was greenlit for 12 episodes by Netflix.
As the series is based in a town outside just of Atlanta, every Southern stereotype is played out during the show, including so-called Southern drawls that will make your ears ring. Patty and her disgraced pageant coach-slash-civil lawyer Bob Armstrong go search for a redemption story where they both come out on top.
Patty starts competing to try to win the local beauty pageant, “Miss Magic Jesus,” with Bob’s help so she can feel beautiful and the rest of society–mainly her classmates–will accept her. The series portrays Patty as so desperate that she begins to lust after middle-aged Bob for half of the first season because he was the first person to call her “beautiful,” and even tries to break-up Bob’s marriage multiple times.
The antics that ensue afterward involve everything from an exorcism to backstabbing to murder and teenage pregnancy scares. In between this whirlwind of a storyline, the show attempts to bring light to social issues like abortion and, ironically, body positivity, to make up for the “dark humor.”. However, the show ultimately fails in doing so. When watching “Insatiable,” it’s very hard to take any message the series tries to convey seriously due to the many “jokes” contradicting the message.
To make matters worse, all the exorcisms in the world can’t stop the cliché storyline that steers the show. The generic storyline tropes include the best friend falling in love with the main protagonist, a “Heathers” Jason Dean-style obsessed boyfriend and the overused story of the overweight girl getting revenge by becoming popular. These all add up to lazy writing. Patty never gets revenge as the character is never confident enough with her new body, and becomes obsessed with the idea that a demon is inside her, hungry for revenge.