Insatiable has returned with even more twists and turns and yet the biggest mystery remains why Netflix commissioned the show for a second season.
Before Insatiable even landed on Netflix, the show was met with backlash. The controversial trailer showed Debby Ryan in a ridiculous fat suit as Patty Bladell, a character who was bullied for her weight. Despite her insistence that her new body has not solved her problems, when Patty Bladell loses the weight, she becomes a pageant queen with a hot boyfriend and a line of suitors.
It’s obvious from the first episode of season two that the writers have used the new part of Patty’s story to try and make amends for the offense they caused with season one. The most significant way they do this is by delving into Patty’s binging problem. It’s no longer treated as a joke, but it’s recognized as an eating disorder that Patty is encouraged to seek help for.
Of course, Patty’s trips to Overeaters Anonymous are somewhat clouded by her new killing habit. As the bodies pile up, Insatiable moves away from pageantry and into a bizarre satire of highschool drama. Patty’s tribute to her deceased pageant “sister” is a song featuring the lyrics “Dead girl, you make me so sad. Your life was so rad but now it’s over.” It’s a cringe-worthy moment, but it fails to be funny on account of the audience’s reaction being so unrealistic. The song immediately goes viral and Patty is crowned queen. Even as satire, scenes like this ultimately just don’t hold together.
On the other side of the spectrum, Insatiable seems to use other scenes to make an almost obnoxious declaration that the show is not problematic. Magnolia’s storyline, for example, very briefly illustrates her struggle to identify with a group due to being mixed race. Her confession sheds light on real, important issues and yet these moments seem misplaced in a series which is otherwise so ridiculous.
It’s ultimately unclear why Insatiable is ranked as a Top 10 Netflix original and why so many great shows have been canceled while the controversial fat-shaming series got another season. Nonetheless, there is clearly something entertaining about Patty’s story as so many people are watching it – “ironically” or otherwise. What can be said for season two is that even if it misses the beat a little too often, it is less problematic and explores topical social issues from new angles. Whether this justifies season two’s existence is at your discretion.