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'Insatiable'

The TV Series Everyone Hates, but No One Watches


WARNING: SPOILERS
Trust me, I also got on to the bandwagon of assuming the worst of Insatiable. I saw the trailer and the way it was edited, it really looked like a show that would be about a "skinny is magic" redemption story with a few crazy antics. Nothing new. Nothing special. And harmful to girls and their body image. I had pretty much decided that I wasn't going to watch it. Because while I have not been an obese person, I have definitely struggled with my weight and body image. I dieted at 17 and lost twenty pounds (went from 145 to 125), and some of those things I still carry with me. I experience meal guilt and weight guilt often. I didn't want to have another "skinny is magic" story in my head. 

Then one day, I was incredibly bored at work. No calls were coming in and we were overstaffed. I had just finished American Horror Story for the 10th time. Then there it was, Insatiable was being recommended to me again. Then finally I caved. I started the first episode, hesitant, and ready to give up on it. 

Then it ended up instantly having me hooked. It was absolutely bonkers. The characters were over the top and unbelievable. The story itself was just as over the top. I'll admit it: it definitely has its problematic points. One of the main characters, Bob Armstrong, is accused of molesting one of his pageant girls. It's made very clear that he didn't, and the accusers are two ditsy cons who are pissed they didn't win the pageant. So they accuse him of sexual assault. You bet that I cringed, especially with all the recent stuff coming out and the #MeToo movement. 

And yes, at the beginning, Patty's life is changed and she experiences this "skinny is magic" trope. A part of me wanted to stop, but something else (pure boredom) told me to keep going and give it a shot. For all TV shows, I tell myself to always give the show three episodes before giving up on it. Oh boy, by episode three, Insatiable had its teeth in me. 

First things first, that I want to address? Netflix nailed it with the queer representation. I mean they nailed it. I was blown away by it. They had transwomen, and they explained body dysphoria and the trans experience. They had young queer characters who were figuring themselves out and the experience that is figuring out your sexuality. They are one of the first shows I've heard (not the only but often this doesn't happen) that gave a character the explicit identity of "bisexual." When people tried to erase his identity (completely new founded and he was a fully grown adult with a son), he would argue with them and said, "No, I am bisexual." This meant a lot to me personally as a bisexual who has seen some representation, but it's often not spoken about (looking at you, Piper in OITNB). They also show the experience of being outed when you are not ready to be outed. The harmful experience that is for us and how it impacts our lives to be treated that way. This is not only just representation, but GOOD representation of queers and the queer experience.

Bob Armstrong and Patty

Now, what really needs to be addressed. The "skinny is magic" trope within the show, and I'll be honest that's what I thought it was going to be. It ended up being the opposite. Patty gets skinny, but then her life ends up falling apart. She gets tastes of something better, only to have it ruined. She experiences body dysphoria, she binge eats as punishment, and clearly shows how ugly it really is to base your worth off of beauty and skinny. My brother actually put it pretty well, "Like honestly, I still can't tell if she's a damaged pageant queen or a murderer." 

The last thing I want to say is that I am not writing this to force anyone to watch this. This show can be extremely triggering and upsetting for so many reasons. I wrote this to explain that this show is more than the trailer and the outraged people made it seem. If you struggle with body image and weight, I highly suggest you proceed with caution because they address these things head on and they have triggered people. But if you wanted to watch it but avoided it because of what you heard, I suggest giving it a shot.

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'Insatiable'
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