The lessons from the controversial TV show
Recently, I've seen "Insatiable" series completely. I cannot call the show a masterpiece, however, I have been deeply moved by the story and its stubborn (anti)heroine "Fatty Patty" - the Beauty and the Beast in one body. An accident in the street makes the obese "white trash" teen turn from the eternal victim of school bullying to a beauty contest star. With the assistance of her lawyer Bob, she eagerly trades her face at "vanity fair" believing that the "Miss America" crown may bring peace into her soul.
The seemingly miraculous transformation does not bring her happiness. Patty has to struggle against the envy of her peers, food addiction and other insecurities and a horde of disgusting people (both teens and adults) who desire either to use her or even to see her dead. But Patty (even the fat one) is the girl who will rather be the predator than the prey.
I was surprised and then furious to find out that most critics left devastating reviews on the show, calling it "immoral" "racist" and "fat-shaming". My first question was "what's wrong with you, people?" Why on Earth do we love the black humor "The Addams" but should reject it in "Insatiable"? The story brings about truly serious and disturbing subjects such as child neglect, bullying, real and false sexual abuse, religious hypocrisy, social insecurity. Being implemented in the genre of dark comedy, they are no less (or even more) disturbing. The final speech Patty gave from the stage about "being a lady in America" just brought me to tears and made me fall in love with this character.
The critics accuse the series of spreading the wrong message that only thin people may succeed. They obviously don't see the context. If you are exposed to a good example and a friendly environment, if you've got a supportive family, and good financial resources to study, you may be fat, successful and cool. Chances fade nearly to zero in the case of Patty, whose alcoholic mom never gave a fuck, who never had a supportive adult or any good grown-ups around. With her newly-discovered beauty, Patty seeks to conquer the world and only can rely on her appearance, because nobody ever appreciated her brain, but it's quite natural in her age. What's worse, Patty's "fairy godfather" - her mentor Bob - cultivates this addiction of hers further, unintentionally feeding the girl's inner demons.
Neither did I see any fat-shaming in the movie. "Insatiable" got two quite attractive and positive chubby characters - Patty's life-friend Nonnie and Nonnie's black girlfriend Dee. And all the "racism" of the show is just making clear that people of color may be as wicked as Caucasian guys. Belonging to ethnic minorities, gender, age (except, maybe, early childhood) and physical disabilities do not provide a pardon to evil behavior. This is a key message of the show I completely agree with. Society affects us and often deforms us (we see this in every episode), however, we still can choose (though the moral choice is not always obvious in the show). Despite the frequent complaints on the film's "dubious morale") there are strong messages I totally agree with.
Skinny isn't magic, as Patty herself admits. Beauty isn't a panacea for your insecurities and doesn't guarantee luck.
However, society prefers thin/athletic over fat. And probably always will. If we want to change things, our self-esteem shouldn't be based on our body image only. Look at Patty, who thinks of herself either as of "Fatty" or "Beauty" and suffers in any case.
No matter how pretty and smart you are (and Patty is smarter than nearly any other character of the show), being dependent on others' opinions and addicted to admiration will get you into much trouble. Patty's hunger for attention, desire to revenge and anger issues make her hyperbolically dangerous for herself and even for the ones she loves.
4)Some "friends" will leave you when you're down, some won't tolerate your fame and success.
What I strongly dislike about the show is the total absence of good people among the older generation. Adult characters - the vane, treacherous, corrupted and egocentric perverts - look even more disgusting than the school bullies who turned Patty's school years into hell. Starting her new life, the girl only can rely on herself, and it's something horrible to think of. Even in the heartbreaking "Carrie" novel and films, we see adults who selflessly take the heroine's side. "Insatiable" leaves no space for kindness in the world of grown-ups. I don't know if we'll ever see Season 3, but in this panopticon little choice is left Patty but either turning into a monster herself or committing suicide.
The second weak point is the thin Patty's Mary-Sueishness. Nearly everyone falls sexually obsessed with her, should she step on the street. In real life, this is hardly possible. And sometimes one could believe she has the powers of the Goddess Nemesis. Killing a bad guy with a flamboyant speech - this might be too much even for a dark comedy. Besides, even the fat Patty doesn't give the impression of a deeply traumatized person. Alas, Debby Ryan, the actress, is as far from Sissy Spicek (the best "Carrie" in history) as from Alpha Centauri...
I should admit that some storylines (ex."Bob+Bob's wife+another Bob) get overly boring, and some episodes are so boring, too, that you can skip them without losing the point. However, "Insatiable" is a daring, bold and worthy work that makes the viewer turn their brain on. Not a pleasure for the "snowflakes", really.
Movie URL: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6487482/