Insatiable, the latest original show that Netflix has regrettably poured money into and is now throwing at all of us each time we open up our loading screens, is painfully bad. It’s billed as a comedy but feels like the writers were forced to watch YouTube tutorials on how to be funny and then locked in a writer’s room with no food and ten years’ worth of Cosmo magazines. I am an avid, guilty watcher of reality shows and other garbage TV, but Insatiable is different—it is the rare show that manages to be trashy without even being slightly enjoyable to watch.
Insatiable centers on Patty Bladell (Debby Ryan), an overweight teenager who, after being bullied for years, snaps and punches a homeless man who asks for her chocolate bar outside of a liquor store. When her jaw is broken in the resulting scuffle, she is put on a liquid diet for months and emerges transformed and skinny, at which point she is taken under the wing of the attorney defending her for assault—who is, coincidentally, a beauty pageant coach who has been ostracized after being falsely accused of sexual assault, and is now eager to use Patty as his shot at redemption. And, somehow, it is even stupider than it sounds.
There is a litany of things that are just wrong about this show: a terrible fat suit, body shaming in every scene, a running gag about a bitchy pageant girl who accused a man of assault just to be petty, underage girls portrayed as seductresses who are constantly throwing themselves at older men, a best friend who exists just so that middle–school quality homophobic jokes can be thrown out about her being closeted, substance abuse only being mentioned as a punchline... The list goes on—but these aren’t even Insatiable’s worst sins. Dark, edgy comedy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but old school staples like The Chapelle Show and enduring hits like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are great examples of shows that flirt with being offensive while still making us laugh. Insatiable isn’t one of these shows—because it’s just not funny. At all.
There is very little that can be salvaged from the dumpster fire that is this show. The dialogue is puzzlingly bad. “I felt insatiable” and similar quotes get thrown around with a frequency and tone that reminds me of a bad erotic novel. There are bizarre voice overs that switch from character to character and the love interest is the most mediocre white boy I’ve ever seen in a teen comedy which is a genre awash in mediocre white boys. There are fart jokes and there’s a gala for anal cancer. I’d call it juvenile comedy but that would be an insult to children’s television, where you can at least laugh at a good poop joke without getting a side order of misogynistic bullshit. I can’t even discern whether the acting is good because the script this poor cast is working with is just so terrible. There might really, truly be no redeeming qualities to be found in this show.
I don’t know what Insatiable is trying to achieve. Yes, the premise is stupid, but every now and then there are moments where Insatiable shows glimmers of promise, or touches on a relevant social or cultural issue before either screwing it up or immediately retreating back. I’m inclined to think that in more capable hands, or maybe after a serious shift and a few seasons to regain its footing, Insatiable could be better than it is. But until then—skip over it. Delete it from your list, watch something else tonight, and while you’re at it, eat all the damn chocolate bars you want.