Insatiable (TV series)
|Created by||Lauren Gussis|
|Based on||"The Pageant King of Alabama"|
by Jeff Chu
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||12 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||40–55 minutes|
|Original release||August 10, 2018 –|
Insatiable is an American black comedy-drama web television series created by Lauren Gussis, starring Debby Ryan. It is based on the 2014 New York Times article "The Pageant King of Alabama" by Jeff Chu. The series premiered on Netflix on August 10, 2018 and has been picked up for a second season, scheduled for 2019.
Patty Bladell is a teenager who was constantly bullied in school for being overweight. After being on a liquid diet for three months over summer vacation because of a freak accident, she is now thin and seeks revenge on her bullies. A disgraced civil lawyer and obsessed beauty pageant coach, Bob Armstrong, notices Patty's potential and sets out to turn her into a pageant queen.
Cast and characters
- Dallas Roberts as Robert "Bob" Armstrong, Jr.
- Debby Ryan as Patricia "Patty" Bladell
- Christopher Gorham as Robert "Bob" Barnard
- Sarah Colonna as Angie Bladell
- Erinn Westbrook as Magnolia Barnard
- Kimmy Shields as Nonnie Thompson
- Michael Provost as Brick Armstrong
- Irene Choi as Dixie Sinclair
- Alyssa Milano as Coralee Huggens-Armstrong
- Arden Myrin as Regina Sinclair
- Daniel Kang as Donald Choi
- Jordan Gelber as Sheriff Hank Thompson
- James Lastovic as Christian Keene
- Christine Taylor as Gail Keene
- Michael Ian Black as Pastor Mike Keene
- Ashley D. Kelley as Deborah "Dee" Marshall
- Carly Hughes as Etta Mae Barnard
- Brett Rice as Robert Armstrong, Sr.
- Chloe Bridges as Roxy Buckley
- Beverly D'Angelo as Stella Rose Buckley
- Jon Lovitz as Father Schwartz
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Pilot"||Andrew Fleming||Lauren Gussis||August 10, 2018|
|Patty Bladell is a high school student who gets bullied for being overweight and is nicknamed "Fatty Patty". After the guy she has a crush on, Brick Armstrong, rejects her in a convenience store, Patty sits outside next to a homeless man. When he insults her weight and she punches him, he punches her back and she ends up in the hospital with a broken jaw. Three months later, Patty—who is now thin and beautiful thanks to a liquid diet—is being prosecuted for assaulting the homeless man. After being disgraced on the pageant circuit, Bob Armstrong, a local civil rights lawyer and former pageant coach, is enlisted to take Patty's case pro bono. Once he meets the new Patty, Bob sees her as his chance to get back into the pageant world and decides to take her under his wing. Patty, on the other hand, sees Bob as her perfect soulmate.|
|2||"Skinny Is Magic"||Andrew Fleming||Lauren Gussis & Jace Richdale||August 10, 2018|
|With Angie away on an AA retreat, Patty plans to skip school on the first day of senior year, though Bob Armstrong convinces her to go, after giving her a makeover. Patty decides to use her newfound beauty to exact revenge on those who tormented her, and sets her sights on former crush Brick. When Patty hears news of a man in critical condition following a fire at the same motel where she almost got revenge on the homeless man by setting him on fire the night before, she fears she might have been responsible. Coralee Armstrong does damage control at Bob Barnard's house, after finding out that Bob Armstrong was nearly seduced by Magnolia Barnard. Bob Armstrong works on proving Patty's innocence as he learns from Bob Barnard that a bra and a matchbook were found in the burned motel room. The homeless man, John, eventually admits he accidentally started the fire and wanted Patty to take the blame in order to exonerate himself. When Patty confronts John, he mocks her. Patty wishes death on John, who suddenly dies of a heart attack.|
|3||"Miss Bareback Buckaroo"||Andrew Fleming||Kari Drake & Craig Chester||August 10, 2018|
|Bob Armstrong takes Patty to the Miss Bareback Buckaroo pageant in Alabama to visit his former mentor, Stella Rose Buckley, who helped him enter the world of pageant coaching in the late 1990s. Worried about Patty, Nonnie Thompson takes a road trip to Alabama with Donald Choi and Dixie Sinclair. Coralee tries to increase her chances of being inducted into the Junior League by organizing a dinner party, only to have her plans thwarted by an unwelcome visit from her trailer-trash sister, Brandylynn. Stella Rose agrees to assist Bob in teaching Patty how to behave properly. However, Stella Rose later reveals she wanted revenge after Bob ended their affair 20 years ago and left her hurt, before announcing her return to pageant coaching. Noticing Patty has a crush on Bob, Stella Rose hands her an engraved necklace that Bob gave to her as proof of the affair.|
|4||"WMBS"||Maggie Kiley||Danielle Hoover & David Monahan||August 10, 2018|
|Patty schemes to break up Bob Armstrong and Coralee using Stella Rose's necklace. Coralee makes an effort to get into Etta Mae's good graces by creating an organization for working moms after Etta Mae is dismissed from the Junior League. Angie returns from her AA retreat. When the pageant Patty was going to enter in order to qualify for Miss Magic Jesus is canceled, Bob Armstrong plans for Patty and Coralee to compete together in a local mother–daughter pageant, though neither one of them is happy about it. Bob Armstrong and Coralee discover Brick's affair with Regina Sinclair. Bob Armstrong and Bob Barnard co-host the mother–daughter pageant. Patty and Coralee find common ground as they prepare for the pageant. Angie convinces Nonnie to compete in the pageant with her in an effort to make Patty jealous. Regina is arrested for statutory rape. Patty and Coralee win the pageant, but Coralee ditches Patty in order to be accepted into the upper class. Hurt and angry, Patty gives Stella Rose's necklace to Coralee.|
|5||"Bikinis and Bitches"||Andrew Fleming||Lauren Gussis & Andrew Green||August 10, 2018|
|Patty gets disqualified from Miss Magic Jesus after nude pictures of Dixie are leaked from her phone. Patty, Nonnie, and Choi try to figure out who might have hacked Patty's phone. Coralee leaves Bob Armstrong after receiving Stella Rose's necklace from Patty. Magnolia breaks up with Brick when she learns of his affair with Regina. Patty and Brick grow closer as he confides in her about his strained relationship with his father. Bob Armstrong is determined to win Coralee back, while attempting to mend his relationship with Brick. Magnolia offers to help Patty get back into Miss Magic Jesus by organizing a fundraiser. Christian becomes Bob Armstrong's newest legal client after getting busted for drugs, but Christian's mother asks Bob to throw the case so that Christian faces consequences. When Dixie sabotages the fundraiser, Brick saves the day. Bob Armstrong figures out that Regina's cellmate hacked Patty's phone. Patty and Brick kiss.|
|6||"Dunk 'N' Donut"||Brian Dannelly||Kari Drake & Jace Richdale||August 10, 2018|
|Patty's plans for Miss Magic Jesus suffer a setback when she discovers that she was never baptized. After learning that Patty lied about her relationship with Brick, Magnolia vows to defeat Patty in all pageants. In order to baptize Patty properly, Pastor Mike Keene tasks Patty and Bob Armstrong with completing good deeds, but the two have a hard time making amends with the ones they have hurt. Following a heart to heart with Choi, Nonnie slowly comes to terms with her sexuality as she meets Dee, a plus-size pageant contestant. Nonnie decides to confess her feelings for Patty, but Nonnie gets upset with Patty's indifference and calls her out for being self-involved. After ruining Brick's wrestling match, Bob Armstrong decides to get baptized alongside Patty. Magnolia attempts to sabotage Patty by spiking her drink, which causes Patty to hallucinate during the baptism ceremony and prompts her to choose Christian over Brick.|
|7||"Miss Magic Jesus"||Lev L. Spiro||Danielle Hoover & David Monahan||August 10, 2018|
|Bob Barnard's attempt to blackmail Bob Armstrong with a sex tape of Patty and Christian backfires. Patty and Bob Armstrong are worried when Stella Rose is announced as a last-minute judge for Miss Magic Jesus. After discovering that Roxy is Stella Rose's daughter, Bob Armstrong wonders if he is Roxy's biological father, while inadvertently neglecting Patty. With both Bob Armstrong and Nonnie preoccupied, Christian offers to help Patty with the newly introduced Bible trivia quiz segment of the pageant by stealing the answers. Magnolia wins Miss Magic Jesus, while Patty wins first runner-up. With his parents determined to send him to military school due to his antics, Christian convinces Patty to run away with him to Hollywood. When Bob Armstrong discovers that Bob Barnard is Roxy's father, Barnard reveals that Stella Rose slept with him in order to get back at Armstrong. In exchange of Armstrong's silence, Barnard discloses that Magnolia cheated on the Bible quiz, allowing Patty to win the crown. After overhearing the exchange between the Bobs, Magnolia overdoses.|
|8||"Wieners and Losers"||Andrew Fleming||Lauren Gussis & Jenina Kibuka||August 10, 2018|
|Patty loses her virginity to Christian, but she later realizes he does not love her back. Following Magnolia's disqualification, Patty claims the Miss Magic Jesus crown, and with Bob Armstrong's help, she strikes a deal with Wiener Taco to sponsor her for regionals. When Bob Armstrong's father suffers a heart attack, the two reconcile, while Bob and Coralee begin to rekindle their relationship. However, things turn sour when Bob Armstrong learns that Coralee had an affair and his father hired Bob Barnard as a senior partner at the firm. Patty panics when her pregnancy test comes back positive, but it turns out to be a teratoma, a tumor that was once her twin in utero. Pastor Mike fears that Patty's tumor could be a demon inside her. During the Wiener Taco grand reopening, the Bobs get into a physical fight that ends in a heated makeout session and a surprising love declaration on Bob Barnard's end. Meanwhile, Dixie attacks Patty in an attempt to steal her crown, resulting in Patty throwing Dixie off Wiener Taco's new food truck and rendering her unconscious.|
|9||"Bad Kitty"||Steven Tsuchida||Jace Richdale||August 10, 2018|
|At school, Patty learns that her fight with Dixie has gone viral. Bob Armstrong handles the aftermath of Bob Barnard's confession by going to couples therapy with Coralee. Christian becomes obsessed with Patty's demon, helping her figure out a way to control it and use it to her advantage. Paralyzed and in a wheelchair, Dixie returns to school, where an anti-bullying assembly is held so that Patty and Dixie can apologize to each other. Convinced that Dixie is faking her injury, Patty pushes her out of her wheelchair in front of the entire school, only to find out Dixie was not lying. Patty eventually agrees to undergo an exorcism on the suggestion of Pastor Mike. However, after Pastor Mike gets in a car accident and the exorcist he enlisted cannot make it to school, Bob Armstrong steps in to conduct the exorcism, with assistance from Nonnie and Choi. The exorcist finally arrives and declares Patty was never possessed by a demon. Bob Armstrong accepts his feelings for Bob Barnard and goes over to his house.|
|10||"Banana Heart Banana"||Elodie Keene||Tim Schlattmann||August 10, 2018|
|After spending the night at Bob Barnard's house, Bob Armstrong struggles to lead a double life. Patty gets suspended from school for pushing Dixie out of her wheelchair. In order to make amends, Bob Armstrong suggests throwing a charity roast for Patty's 18th birthday to raise money to buy Dixie a new electric wheelchair; Patty reluctantly agrees. Bob Armstrong discovers that Christian was arrested for trying to kidnap his girlfriend in Brazil. When Patty confronts Christian, he gets physically violent and Brick comes to her rescue. During the party, Angie tells Patty she needs to leave town for a while, and Nonnie decides she needs a break from their friendship. To make matters worse, Patty walks in on the Bobs making out. Humiliated, Patty exposes their affair to the entire party, including Coralee and Brick, causing Bob Armstrong to walk out on Patty. Feeling sad and abandoned, Patty goes home and binges on a sheet cake.|
|11||"Winners Win. Period."||Lev L. Spiro||Lauren Gussis & Michael Ellis||August 10, 2018|
|Patty deals with the aftermath of her birthday party by isolating herself and binge eating for a week, until a visit by Drew Barrymore to Atlanta inspires her to make amends. Patty invites Nonnie to Drew Barrymore's book signing, but Nonnie is not ready to end their break. Brick helps Patty lose weight in time for regionals, while protecting her from Christian, who has been stalking her. Bob Barnard and Magnolia reach out to Roxy to reveal he is her father. Though Roxy initially lashes out at Bob Barnard for abandoning her, she eventually changes her mind after confronting Stella Rose, and the Bobs decide to coach her for regionals together. Patty attempts to apologize to Bob Armstrong for outing him, but he is still angry at her, revealing he will now coach Roxy. The Bobs and Coralee talk things out, before engaging in a threesome. After tasering Roxy in an effort to sabotage her, Patty is hit with a tranquilizer dart and falls unconscious.|
|12||"Why Bad Things Happen"||Andrew Fleming||Lauren Gussis & Jace Richdale||August 10, 2018|
|Patty wakes up to discover she has been kidnapped by Stella Rose and Roxy, who are plotting to take down Bob Armstrong. However, when her revenge plans go awry because Bob has realized he no longer cares about pageants, a deranged Stella Rose plans to kill Patty and make it look like she committed suicide over Bob. Patty manages to escape in time to register for regionals. Bob Armstrong talks Coralee into being in a thruple with Bob Barnard, but Barnard is not on board, forcing Armstrong to choose between the two. Patty goes to meet Magnolia after receiving a text message from her, only to find out it was sent by Christian, who, in an effort to win Patty back, roofied Magnolia after learning she had requalified for regionals. After Patty frees Magnolia, Christian reminds Patty of all the bad things she has done, prompting her to beat him to death with a crowbar. While contemplating suicide, Bob Armstrong receives a phone call from Patty. They push Christian's car into a lake in order to hide the evidence, but it fails to sink. Patty confesses to Bob that she thinks she also killed Stella Rose.|
On July 10, 2018, Netflix released the first teaser and the first images from the series.
Prior to the show's release, The Guardian reported on July 24, 2018, that over 100,000 people had signed an online petition on Change.org started on July 20, 2018, calling for Netflix to cancel Insatiable, accusing it of "fat shaming". Lauren Gussis, the show's creator, defended the show, saying it was based on her own experiences as a teenager. Alyssa Milano stated on Twitter, "We are not shaming Patty .. We are addressing (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat-shaming." As of August 27, 2018, the petition has over 230,000 signatures.
The series holds an approval rating of 12% based on 50 reviews, with an average rating of 2.68/10 on Rotten Tomatoes. The site's critic consensus reads: "Broad stereotypes, clumsy social commentary, and a failed attempt at wokeness make Insatiable hard to swallow." Metacritic reports a score of 23 out of 100 for the series, based on 14 critics.
In negative reviews, Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter called the series "trite", "unfunny", and "a hot bloated mess", while Jen Chaney from Vulture called it "an equal opportunity trainwreck" replete with bad jokes about rape and pedophilia, and offensive stereotypes of African-Americans, Christians, Southerners and gay people.
Reviewer Linda Holmes of NPR said the show willfully misunderstood the realities of fat-shaming and the concerns of fat people like herself; arguing that being fat should be respected and treated with kindness: "Let me assure you: It is not satire. Insatiable is satire in the same way someone who screams profanities out a car window is a spoken-word poet."
Writer Roxane Gay, who has written multiple blogs about her inability to manage her life with eating and weight, called the show "lazy" and "insulting" in a Refinery29 piece, saying "Insatiable's greatest sin is that it suffers from a profound lack of imagination. The show cannot imagine that a straight man could truly love pageants and mentoring young women and be secure in his masculinity, or that a young lesbian could love herself enough to not fall in love with her straight best friend, or that a fat girl could be happy, healthy, and thriving without losing weight. Never does this show dare to imagine that maybe it was everyone else who had the problem when Patty was fat, not Patty herself. The show cannot imagine that perhaps, the most profound way Patty could seek vengeance would be to love herself at any size, to be seen by a love interest as lovable at any size, to see herself as beautiful because of rather than despite her fat body."
In an interview with Variety, star Debby Ryan stated that she listened to the body-positive podcast "She's All Fat" in preparation for the role. Responding via their Twitter account, hosts of the podcast Sophia Carter-Kahn and April K. Quioh stated: "We're not sure how our show could inspire a thin actress to don a fat suit as we've discussed at length how this very act is incredibly harmful to the fat community."
- The Girl Most Likely To..., a 1973 television film
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- Iannucci, Rebecca (September 12, 2018). "Insatiable Renewed for Season 2". TVLine. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
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- "'Insatiable': Jordan Gelber & James Lastovic Set To Recur On Netflix Series". Deadline Hollywood. November 3, 2017.
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- Mumford, Gwilym (July 24, 2018). "Insatiable: over 100,000 sign petition to cancel Netflix 'fat-shaming' series". The Guardian. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- Rosenblatt, Kalhan (July 22, 2018). "Netflix series 'Insatiable' accused of fat-shaming as stars defend the show". NBC News. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- Heller, Corinne (July 20, 2018). "Alyssa Milano Responds to Fat-Shaming Backlash Over Netflix's Insatiable". E! News. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- Arnold, Amanda (July 30, 2018). "Netflix Chief Defends Insatiable After Major 'Fat-Shaming' Backlash". The Cut. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
- "INSATIABLE: SEASON 1 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- "Insatiable : Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- Goodman, Tim (August 8, 2018). "'Insatiable': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- Chaney, Jen (August 9, 2018). "Insatiable Netflix Review - Vulture". Vulture.com. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- Holmes, Linda (August 9, 2018). "'Insatiable' Is Lazy And Dull, But At Least It's Insulting : NPR". NPR. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
- Gay, Roxane (August 23, 2018). "Roxane Gay: Insatiable Is "Lazy, Insulting" From Start To Finish". Refinery29. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
- Clopton, Ellis (August 10, 2018). "'Insatiable' Boss, Stars Stand by Show Amid Backlash: 'It Really Comes From a Place of Compassion'". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- @shesallfatpod (August 11, 2018). "In this Variety article, the star of Insatiable mentions that she listened to SAF to prepare for the role. We're not sure how our show could inspire a thin actress to don a fat suit as we've discussed at length how this very act is incredibly harmful to the fat community" (Tweet) – via Twitter.