Insatiable: 1.01 Pilot
This is probably the most difficult review I have had to write for The Digital Fix. It is difficult to write about why Insatiable is so bad without just going into an incoherent rant. The list of reasons is long, so I am just going to cover some of the ones that jumped out at me the most.
The first is the show's treatment of fat people. This is what got the show first noticed, as there was a lot of controversy around the fact the the main character, Patty, is played by a thin person and all of the scenes where she is fat are filmed using a fat suit. I agree with this controversy, not just because of the fat suit, but because of the overall way that being fat is discussed on the show.
When I first saw the opening of the trailer I was excited for a show that centred on a fat high school girl. Then I noticed that fat suit. Then I saw that she wouldn't be fat for the majority of the show. This put me off the show in general, and when I watched the pilot everything just got worse. Such as, the fact that a lack of will power/ commitment to losing weight was the reason for Patty's weight.
While this can be the reason for people gaining weight, it ignores the fact that there are a lot of different factors that dictate someone's weight. When paired with the unhealthy amount of dieting that Patty was shown to have done and that she only lost weight when her jaw was wired shut, it just paints an insensitive and dreary picture of being fat. I mean the show's title is even a shortening of the phrase, insatiable appetite.
Another part of the pilot that is incredibly uncomfortable is the flippancy with which child molestation is discussed. The portrayal of a hysterical mother making false accusations of child abuse is also potentially damaging considering our culture of victim blaming and how often people assume that accusers are lying. This aspect of the pilot was slightly nauseating to watch and made me wonder what the writers were thinking when they wrote it. Sure, it is a good way to establish a villain, but couldn't they have done something else?
The third part of the pilot that made me cringe on a personal level is Patty's best friend Nonnie, who is very obviously gay and in love with Patty. Usually I would be all for the representation of wlw in TV, but Nonnie's character is painful to watch. This is partly because I was once an awkward queer teen, but I wasn't that bad. There is an extent to which I sympathise with Nonnie, but not to the point where I enjoy her character. Especially since I know that she is going to get her heart broken when Patty finds out about her feelings. I know that this happens in real life, but I am tired of my sad lonely TV gays.
Speaking of the representation of queer people in Insatiable, there is a gay couple made up of two men, both named Bob, who are then briefly joined by one of the Bob's wives to create a throuple. This doesn't happen until later in the series but has been subject to criticism as many have complained of various characters being biphobic towards one of the Bobs and some are also concerned that the brevity of the throuple makes it seem like a piss-take more than anything else.
The saddest thing is, I can see what they were trying to do with Insatiable. It could have been an amazing, campy, and slightly dark comedy that commented on a whole host of social issues that people face in their day to day lives. That's without mentioning the face that it is set in Georgia, when most US TV Shows seem to be set in either New York City or California. So it could have mixed things up, but it didn't, it fell flat on its face. Which is saddening, but with the sheer amount of content that is being released at the moment it is going to happen. I am just left hoping that Insatiable's existence doesn't have a negative impact on any of the marginalised communities that have sub-par representation on the show.
Needless to say, I won't be watching the rest of the show.