‘Insatiable’ Season Two deemed successful despite criticism

By Ella Dame, Features Editor

I first saw the show “Insatiable” when it popped up in my recommended movies page on Netflix. This was back in August 2018 and I was apprehensive watching it after seeing the shows trailer on Netflix. The show seemed like it was pushing negative body image onto teens and I felt like nothing could make a show like that positive. I was not the only potential viewer who was standoffish to the shows overall message but in an article written by Kevin Fallon for the Daily Beast, the director of Insatiable as well as actors from the show urged people to give it a chance despite their thoughts on the trailer.

I ended up giving it a chance and after watching it I was not a huge fan of the way the show handled issues like teenage eating disorders and identity struggles. I felt like the show brushed over those serious issues and by not fully addressing them, the delivery seemed harsh but, when season two came I decided to give it another try.

Season two of “Insatiable” was recently released on Netflix in October and was a pleasant surprise in contrast to season one. 

The show continued to focus on Patty Bladell, a young girl who lost a significant amount of weight after an accident, and how she battles to be a winner in the eyes of the pageant industry — all the while trying to cover up murder.

Season one pushed how important being skinny was in order to have popularity, success and happiness. I felt like that wasn’t a healthy message to relay to its audience, who are mostly teenagers already dealing with enough of their own insecurities. To add on to stresses they may have already have been feeling about their body images could’ve been potentially dangerous to the shows audience. 

I wasn’t the only viewer who felt this way, as the show’s first season received a lot of backlash, specifically over the catchphrase the series coined: “skinny is magic.”

According to a review from Vox.com, the biggest criticisms viewers had of season one were that the discussion of life for someone who struggles with obsessive eating habits was unthoughtful and degrading. 

As I went into season two, I was very skeptical. The first season disappointed me with its unrealistic illustration of teenage life, but when I watched season two I was pleasantly surprised. Season two took the time to explore the hardships that come with the recovery from an eating disorder.  Patty has binge eating disorder, which is defined by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food, according to the National Eating Disorders Association

During the first season, viewers got to see the aftermath of her losing the weight on the surface level, but the second season did a full deep dive into it.

Patty still eats large amounts of food during last-ditch efforts to get rid of stress in many moments throughout the show. 

Whether Patty is stressing about very serious issues, like disposing of a body, or more mundane ones, like dealing with rude competitors, Patty sneaks food for comfort. 

While this unhealthy coping mechanism and disorder wasn’t fully examined in season one early on in season two viewers can already see that the show has started working towards thoughtfully explaining her struggles with food. 

During the first few episodes of season two, her relapse goes relatively unnoticed until her manager, Bob, identifies that she’s begun going back to her unhealthy relationship with food.

I thought this was a healthy way to address her eating disorder because instead of just moving on from it as she did in the first season, she can be seen reverting back to her old habits. Bob tells her that she needs to confront her problem. 

I feel like the show effectively took the criticism it got for not correctly addressing Patty’s eating disorder in a constructive way. The idea that Patty has to actively work towards creating a healthy relationship with food underscores that skinny is not magic as alternatively promoted throughout season one.

As I continued watching the show, I noticed that another issue the writers of the show decided to address Bob’s struggle with his sexuality in a more constructive way. Throughout season one, Bob struggles with his own inner demons and learns that his sexuality may not be as clear to him as he thought it was. 

I was interested in seeing how his relationship with his sexuality would develop throughout season two. During season one, the details of how Bob was dealing with his newfound sexuality were minimal, but season two continued to let on more about how he is feeling and how he’s considering dealing with it. I was not let down as season two delivered a multi-faceted look at how Bob was feeling in regards to his newfound sexuality as well as how he learned to accept it.

Some of the first ways he considers accepting his sexuality are violent and misguided, illustrating unhealthy ways to deal with identity-based issues. This acted as a catalyst for character development as it allowed Bob to learn from his mistakes.

Bob’s growth in understanding what his sexuality means to him and in learning more about his identity was a powerful and positive move for season two. Bob attempts to deal with his issues related to his newfound identity violently and impulsively, to no avail. The fact that Bob finds no relief in his unhealthy “solutions” suggests that, through acceptance and healthy coping mechanisms, a person can make peace with themselves.

Season two of “Insatiable” is not perfect and still depicts violence and the portrayal of Patty’s eating disorder in ways that certain viewers may find offensive or upsetting. Overall, though, “Insatiable” season two is impressively more mature than season one. 

Insatiable has been renewed for a third season, according to the shows director Lauren Gussis. I plan on watching season three with hopes that the show is becoming more thought out as well as positive like season two proved to be.