The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Unlearn Everything

Justice for “Insatiable”
Photo by Marisa Valdez

Content warning: Fatphobia and Eating Disorders

I have a rather unpopular opinion to share with everyone: “Insatiable” is a good show, and its cancellation feels like a robbery. 

For those unaware, “Insatiable” is a dramatic comedy or “dramedy” that centers around the revenge of a retired fat girl who was taught to hate herself.

Overnight, Patty Bladell felt just how intoxicating it was to have the power that comes with being thin. It was then that she realized everyone who ever bullied her was on limited time.  

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Debby Ryan plays Miss Bladel, who starts off in some legal trouble for punching a homeless man in the face after he called her fat. In retaliation, the man breaks her jaw.

This results in Patty having her jaw wired shut for three months with a strictly liquid diet.

But the journey doesn’t really start until Patty is revealed to have lost 70 pounds. 

If you as readers have fat friends in your life, take a look at the social dynamic you have. I guarantee your fat friends are funnier than everyone you know; some might even be amazing and good-hearted people. 

That’s because existing in a fat body means a personality is all you have to fall back on. 

A lot of people are only going to acknowledge your existence if it’s a joke at your expense, or they have to because you’re in a shared space. 

Sometimes not even then. 

Insatiable is a twisted and hilarious cautionary tale about a fat person who dares to abandon all of the rules the moment they become thin.

“Maybe skinny really was magic. I wondered what else I could get away with.” 

There’s a pattern with Patty saying variations of this at least once every episode in season one. 

Based on that description, it might not come as a huge surprise to know that “promoting fat shaming” was the ultimate reason for the show’s cancellation. 

From my perspective however, I think this show is purposely written to cause discomfort, but not in the way that it’s being presented.

I truly think this show causes discomfort to those who have never lived a fat experience — they say that every joke has truth in it.

The mistreatment of Patty Bladell represents an all too horrific reality considering society’s views on fatness.

Let’s be very honest right now, if this show actually offended fat people, we would already be looking at an upcoming third and fourth season. 

While I don’t think the show had fatphobic intentions, I can agree that there are still a few things that writing and casting could’ve worked on.

Ryan’s performance was great, but instead of casting an actual plus sized actress to play those versions of Patty, production just put her in a fatsuit and called it good. 

Replacement characters are hired in shows across all genres, putting a thin woman in a fatsuit is just plain lazy. 

While I think most of the writing is pretty genius, I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed and let down by Bladell’s relationship arc with Brick Armstong. 

Armstrong has always been represented as a good guy and to his credit, he can be one.

He was even nice to Patty at times when she was fat. I know, treating another human with common decency is crazy, right? 

To thank Armstrong for his kindness, Bladell asks him out for coffee, and he scoffs like she has some audacity. 

He was genuinely offended that a fat person showed interest in him.

I mean, sure, once he realized she was skinny, Armstrong apologized for how he treated her before.

They even ended up dating, his excuse for not being with Badell pre-jaw injury was because he “just wasn’t that into her before.”

Bladell is written to become a complete pick-me over this boy who practically spat in her face.

I had my hopes in their relationship unraveling in season three, but I guess we will never know. 

Now of course there are other storylines that incorporate ideas of feminism and toxic masculinity, but I feel like the representation of eating disorders deserves more discussion.

Consider this a warning: Insatiable has a very vivid depiction of eating disorders. This is admittedly a very tough thing to watch if you have an ED. 

So, while this girl learns everything there is to becoming a beauty queen, viewers get the experience of Patty’s spiraling moments of binge eating and body image issues.

The show even explores Overeaters Anonymous, which serves the same purpose as Alcoholics Anonymous, but for food-related troubles. 

If a show is willing to delve so deep that Al-Anon is involved, I don’t think it’s as fatphobic as people make it out to be. 

If you end up adding Insatiable to your watch list, proceed with caution. If you’re in a body that has experienced fatness, eating disorders or body image issues, all of your feelings about this show are valid.

If this show makes you uncomfortable and your body has never experienced any of those ailments, you might want to consider doing some internal editing. 

Ftouhi can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Sabrina Ftouhi, Freelance Writer
Sabrina Ftouhi is a fourth-year creative writing and political science student. This is her fourth semester on The Spectator. She loves animals, hiking and road-trips anywhere.
Marisa Valdez
Marisa Valdez, Graphic Designer
Marisa Valdez is a second-year graphic design and multimedia communication student. This is her first semester on the Spectator team. She is active in the University Honors Program and UWEC InterVarsity. Additionally, she is employed at UW-Eau Claire's Learning Technology Services (LTS) as well as Printing Services. When she's not engaged in academic-related activities, she loves to crochet, watch movies, talk with close friends, hammock, hike, practice yoga, dance or read!

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