“Insatiable” disappoints with an insensitive script and a predictable plotline

Leah Larson, Reporter

When a 90-second trailer for Netflix’s new show “Insatiable” was released on July 19, it was almost instantly declared toxic and potentially damaging to its viewers. At first glance, I too dismissed the show as a failed attempt at being progressive. I was reluctant to watch it after witnessing all of the drama it generated. It wasn’t until two weeks after its premiere date that my curiosity got the better of me.

“Insatiable” follows the story of Patty Bladell (Debby Ryan), a seventeen year old high school student who loses 70 pounds after a parking lot incident led to her jaw being wired shut. In the first episode, Patty felt undeserving of her new body. She stood in front of a mirror and referred to her former self as “Fatty Patty,” a nickname used by her tormentors. “I wanted to let go of her [Fatty Patty],” she said, “but after all those years of torture, she was in me like a demon.”

The Fatty Patty Demon continuously made an appearance throughout the show. Though it represented Patty’s issues with her weight at first, it was used as an excuse for her wildly cruel behaviors in later episodes. Neither interpretation felt right to me. I could empathize with Patty’s anger towards her peers, but I couldn’t support the violent actions that followed. For a show built around such important topics, you’d think they’d realize that demonizing your past will not help better your future.

Seeking revenge on those who’ve wronged you won’t help, either. Giving into your anger, as Patty did, and using it as fuel for your vengeance will never prove to be beneficial in the end. By sending the message it does, “Insatiable” displays a whirlwind of wrongheaded ideas.

While I didn’t appreciate the harmful ways in which Patty’s story was handled, I still enjoyed the character of Nonnie Thompson (Kimmy Shields). Nonnie, most recognizable in a striped sweater or some baggy overalls, was Patty’s best friend and secret admirer for years. Time after time, Nonnie put Patty’s needs in front of her own. I was rooting for her when she finally recognized the toxicity of their friendship and tried to leave with the support of her girlfriend. Although it wasn’t a surprise to watch her go running back to Patty’s side, it was still disappointing. Nonnie’s character had a lot of potential, but instead of exploring what could have been, her every move was determined by what worked best for Patty.

As a whole, “Insatiable” also had potential. However, its creators seemed too caught up in making crude, lackluster jokes to develop the coming of age program they were reaching for.