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Series / Insatiable

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Insatiable is an American dramedy series starring Debby Ryan, Dallas Roberts and Alyssa Milano, which premiered on Netflix in August 2018. The show was renewed for a second season, but in February 2020, Netflix announced that the series would not return for a third.

Ryan plays Patricia "Patty" Bladell, a high school student who had been continuously bullied because of her obesity. One night, she gets into a fight with a homeless man, who breaks her jaw and lands her in a hospital. The forced three-months liquid diet allows her to shed her weight, turning her into a conventionally beautiful young woman.

Roberts plays Robert "Bob" Armstrong Jr, a Camp Straight lawyer. Bob has a passion for pageant coaching, and his life turns for the worse after his protégée's mother falsely accuses him of molesting her daughter. Now only able to work on pro bono cases at his law firm, he is the one called to represent Patty at the trial for her fight with the homeless man. Upon seeing her, he decides to take her under his wing and train her for beauty pageants, while Patty develops a crush on him.

One big problem remains though: Patty might have lost weight, but the toll years of bullying took on her mind and her repressed rage have not disappeared, and being both her pageant coach and her lawyer, Bob just might be in over his head.

The show provides examples of the following tropes

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Magnolia Barnard is portrayed as a stereotypical popular girl (at least at first) as well as a straight-A student.
  • A-Cup Angst: Magnolia and Dixie exhibit a fair amount of jealousy about Patty's double-D breasts. Dixie then tries to make them both feel better by proclaiming that girls with prominent chests have "stretch marks, like, all over them". Whatever works for you, Dixie.
  • Alpha Bitch: Alicia, despite appearing in only three very brief scenes, is clearly this, bullying Patty to very harsh levels. Dixie also behaves this way, although it's subverted in the sense that no one seems to like her.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The reason why Christian - who's unstable and borderline sociopathic - manages to win both Patty and Magnolia's affections.
  • Alliterative Name: Bob Barnard.
  • Always Someone Better: When it's revealed that Roxy might be Bob Armstrong's daughter, Patty feels as though she can't compete with a "perfect pageant girl" for Bob's attention. Roxy actually ends up being Bob Barnard's daughter.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Bob Armstrong has moments in which he qualifies, particularly when he walks in on Brick and Patty and essentially asks them if they're going to have sex.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Bob Barnard doesn't believe that bisexuals exist and openly declares that he’s only ever been romantically interested in men (read: Bob), but he admits to enjoying sex with women as well as men.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Patty. She clearly exhibits some severe rage issues and a propensity towards self-centeredness and “magical thinking,” (amongst other issues). Bob Armstrong even flippantly suggests that she has Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Asian Airhead: The bubbly, unintelligent Dixie Sinclair.
  • An Aesop: Being a winner or a loser is all about one's state of mind.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Midway through the first season, Nonny confesses to Patty that she is in love with her by tearfully kissing Patty on the mouth.
  • Anti-Hero: Patty is impulsive bordering on erratic, selfish and ill-tempered.
  • Arc Words: "I. Wanted. More.”
  • Artistic License – Biology: Losing a lot of weight in a short time should have at least left Patty with a noticeable amount of loose skin, which she clearly doesn't have here.
  • Asshole Victim: Every single one of Patty’s victims by the end of Season Two. Christian was a Stalker with a Crush who kidnapped Magnolia in an attempt to goad Patty into murdering her. Gordy was a con-artist who not only attempted to manipulate Patty into paying off his drug debt, but is also revealed to have sexually abused Patty’s mother when she was a preteen, which Patty herself claims set off The Chain of Harm that caused most of Patty’s issues, though it’s currently unclear as to whether his death was a murder or an accident. The three gang members she kills had used Angie as an unwitting drug mule and were in the process of surgery on an unwilling Angie in order to retrieve the drugs and were attacking Patty with intent to kill when she interrupted them. Stella Rose kidnapped Patty and tried to murder her in the first season finale, and dies trying to kill Patty once more in the second season.
  • Berserk Button: Patty most definitely does not take lies, hypocrisy and being manipulated well.
  • Betty and Veronica: Brick is the Betty to Christian's Veronica.
  • Big Bad:
    • Regina and Dixie Sinclair are thorns in everyone's sides and a major source of the show's conflicts.
    • And towards the end of the first season, their spot is taken by a more effective and threatening mother-daughter duo, Stella Rose and Roxy.
  • Big Fun: Dee is overweight as well as being one of the only characters who's actually presented as morally just.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • (Bob Armstrong and Patty both used to be overweight, are interested in pageants, and even dress similarly. Interestingly enough, both Patty and Bob's best friends harbored secret crushes on them.
    • Patty and Christian. Both are obsessive and have trouble controlling their rage, with Patty acknowledging that Christian sees and understands who she is, while Brick sees her for who she wants to be. They both even come to the totally reasonable conclusion that they should kidnap the competition to help Patty win the beauty pageant.
  • Book Dumb: Brick is pretty smart and a good guy to boot, but in season two it's revealed that his grades aren't good enough to get him into college.
  • Character Narrator: Patty and Bob Armstrong take turns providing the narration for the show. Coralee also takes over for a scene in an early episode.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Double Subverted with Magnolia in the Magic Jesus Contest. She cheats by getting the answer to the quiz, however for the viewer it seems that either Patty or Dee are set to win. Magnolia in the end wins the contest, but the later she gets disqualified after her father admitted that Magnolia cheated. Then subverted in the end again, as Bob Barnard later confesses that he is the one who forced her to cheat, so she can enter the Miss American Lady contest.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Angie accuses Nonnie of being this to Patty in the first episode.
  • Coming-Out Story: For Nonnie and both Bobs.
  • The Cutie: Nonnie is a naive, awkward girl who'd do just about anything for her best friend.
  • Disappeared Dad: Patty never knew her father.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: So. Very. Subverted. Regina's sexual liaisons with Brick, a minor, aren't treated as anything other than statutory rape by any characters who aren't Brick or Regina.
  • Downer Ending: During the series finale, Patty ends up crowned Miss American Lady, but just before that, her family and friends learn the extent of her misdeeds and turn away from her, with Bob Armstrong struggling not to give her up to the police. While the Pageant Killer turns out to be Regina, Bob Armstrong is arrested and incarcerated instead. In the last scene Patty visits a very resentful Bob in prison and promises to avenge him, which makes him and then her realize she likes killing more that she would like to admit. The series ends with Bob, restrained by prison guards, calling out for Patty, now a full-blown self-admitted Serial Killer, walking out free. Considering everything we had seen in the show and with the Miss American Lady's privileges and Patty no longer resisting her urges, we might have seen the universe going into total doom if there were another season..... This might have been for the better because who knows what would have happened?
  • Escapist Character: In-Universe: before losing weight, Patty used any Drew Barrymore character as this.
  • False Rape Accusation: Bob's (A) backstory is that he had his reputation ruined due to being falsely accused of inappropriately touching his protégée.
  • Fat Suit: Ryan as Patty wears one at the beginning of the pilot and in flashbacks.
  • Final Boss Preview: Stella Rose and Roxy appear early in the series and seem to be bit characters. The two final episodes of Season 1 place them as the season's Big Bads.
  • Formerly Fat: Both Patty and Bob Armstrong.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Nonnie warns Dee not to make her choose between Dee and Patty, because Patty would win.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Bob Armstrong asks Bob Barnard if he is good at keeping secrets, the latter glances around nervously while maintaining a smug grin. Later episodes reveal that Bob Bernard not only has a secret daughter, but that he’s secretly attracted to men and has been in love with Bob Armstrong since they were fourteen).
    • Bob Barnard also sounds upset when he points out that Stella Rose slept with him specifically because he’s the person Bob Armstrong hated the most.
  • Functional Addict: Magnolia. She's The Ace at all things despite being a drug addict and alcoholic, and even wins a beauty pageant whilst drunk and drugged out of her mind.
  • The Ghost: Cat, the daughter of Bob A and Coralee, is mentioned several times but never seen except in a Christmas card photo in the pilot. She's a marine in Iraq, so it makes sense we don't see her in person, but it's a bit strange that she doesn't appear in any other family photos.
  • Good Parents: Bob Barnard. Or he tries. He really, really tries.
  • Happily Adopted: Dixie is Regina's adopted daughter, and is as much of a sociopath as her mother.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Patty is able to win her court trial in the pilot episode by giving out one:
    Attorney: Was it because he was trying to take your food?
    Patty: Sure, Fatty Patty threw a punch to protect her chocolate.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Patty often thinks like this. Nonnie calls her out on this.
    • Patty’s mother also shows this she mostly gets better.
    • Brick is also of the opinion that his father Bob A. behaves like this.
  • Jerk Jock: Zig-zagged with Brick in a sort triple subversion/deconstruction. He's the school wrestling star, but his first on-screen interaction with Patty is helping her off the ground after Magnolia shoves her down. However, he later rudely snubs her when Nonnie suggests they go out together. But later still (after Patty loses the weight), he expresses regret for his earlier behavior, and only improves from there by agreeing to help Patty shed weight after the disastrous birthday roast and offer a safe haven after Christian goes full creepy stalker. It's heavily implied that a lot of Brick's unsavory behavior is due to a less-than-healthy relationship with Bob, but that he is fundamentally a decent person.
  • Killed Offscreen: After Bob A tries to help Patty dispose of Christian's body after the latter bashed in his skull, she casually mentions that at some point before this incident, she also murdered Stella Rose. This was not seen and, as it turns out, she didn't kill her despite running her over twice.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Patty was nicknamed "Fatty Patty" by cruel classmates.
  • Missing Mom: Nonnie's mother is dead.
  • No Bisexuals: Bob Barnard's worldview - identifying as bisexual is "a stop on the train to Gayville", apparently.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Dixie secretly feeds an unknowing Magnolia alcohol (while she’s supposed to be sobering up) similarly to how Magnolia secretly drugged an unknowing Patty with extract.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Magnolia.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: The show is quite sympathetic about Donald Choi, considering his first scenes showed him giving up important information in order to see Patty's boobs, and masturbating to the footage later on.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Type 1/7b between Patty (A), Brick (B), and Christian (C). Patty likes Brick and Christian, and Brick and Christian both like Patty.
    • Type 7/13 between Bob A (A), Bob B (B), and Coralee (C), which turns into type 8/11. Bob A is loves and is loved by Bob B and Coralee. Coralee loves Bob A and Bob B, and Bob B seems to be fine with the attention.
    • Type 4 between Nonnie (A), Patty (B), and whoever Patty's current love interest(s) happen to be (C). Nonnie loves Patty, but Patty and one of her love interests are in love, and Patty doesn't return Nonnie's feelings.
    • Type 1 between Donald Choi (A), Patty (B), and Nonnie (C). Donald has had crushes on both, but neither return his feelings.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Nonnie has a crush on Patty, Patty has crushes on Bob A, Brick (Bob A's son), and Christian, Magnolia loves Brick and then Christian, Brick is involved with Magnolia, Patty, and even Regina (Dixie's mom) at various times. Bob B loves Bob A, Bob A loves Coralee (his wife) and Bob B, and Coralee loves Bob A but also is attracted to Bob B.
  • Missing Mom: Patty's mom is in the picture, as her daughter aptly points out, but barely: she's an alcoholic with no qualms about leaving for weeks at a time.
  • Naďve Everygirl: Patty was an overweight outcast before the climax of the first episode, and had never experienced relationships, sex, or even popularity until then.
  • Never My Fault: One of Patty's character arcs is about learning that she cannot blame the bad things she does on anything and anyone other than herself.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer makes it look as if the main plotline of the show is about Patty attempting to enact revenge against her bullies. In reality, Patty's desire for revenge is a minor plot point, and the closest thing to an overarching storyline is Patty's attempt to qualify for the regional beauty pageant. The show is actually an over the top soap opera with numerous characters, a constantly shifting plot, bizarre twists, and a Love Dodecahedron.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with Bob Armstrong Jr, Bob Barnard and Bob Armstrong Sr.
  • Only Sane Man: In a shocking twist of a final episode, Patty calls up Bob Armstrong to bury the body of Christian, her abusive ex who she accidentally murdered in a fit of rage. While he's helping her, Patty repeatedly cracks jokes and makes multiple sexual come-ons while Bob is rightfully scared out of his mind.
  • Old Flame: Stella Rose and Bob Armstrong.
  • Parental Favoritism: Brick feels as though his father would prefer Patty as a child, regardless of the fact that she is not his blood relative.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Patty spills the beans on Bob Armstrong's hidden sexuality in front of everybody. Bob becomes very upset with her that she didn't give him the chance to come clean on his own terms and does not want anything to do with her anymore.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The first season finale, as well as the entirety of Season 2 is pretty much one big journey to villain for Patty.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: When Nonnie was Patty's friend, she was often forced to be the rational Blue Oni when Patty came up with impulsive ideas.
  • Revenge Myopia: Stella Rose comes back at the end of the second season to try and kill Patty as revenge for Patty trying to kill her. Of course Patty did so in self-defense because Stella tried to kill her first. Patty even calls her out on this, but Stella outright brushes it off.
  • Slut-Shaming: Patty goes through a bunch of this when she thinks she might be pregnant. She wasn't.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Patty with her forty-something pageant coach, Bob Armstrong. It goes nowhere.
  • Southern Belle: Gorgeous and charming Roxy fits this perfectly, with a heavy Southern accent to boot. At least before she's revealed to be at the center of one of Stella Rose's twisted plans.
  • Stage Mom: Regina Sinclair is devoted to pageants to an even more radical extent than her already-ambitious daughter.
  • Supermodel Strut: Played for Laughs in "Bikinis and Bitches". Patty is attending a bikini dog wash, but becomes uncomfortable with the idea of being seen in public in a bikini and hides in the bathroom until another girl gives her a pep talk, and they both walk to the event in bikinis doing a deliberate confident strut in slow-mo while music blasts in the background. But they don't get too far until they both realize that acting like confident supermodels may be going too far, and immediately cover themselves back up, and start walking normally again.
    Patty: I feel so...
    Julie: Free?
    Patty: No, I was going to say totally self-conscious.
    Julie: Oh thank god, me too!
    Patty: Baby steps.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: During Patty's baptism, Magnolia spikes Patty's drink to sabotage her, causing Patty to get drunk during the ceremony (Patty assumes she's "feeling the power of the Spirit").
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Glamorous, fashion-conscious Patty and the comparatively masculine Nonnie.
  • Transparent Closet: Just about everyone except Patty and Nonnie herself could tell Nonnie was gay/in love with Patty
  • Troubled Abuser: Gordy is a pedophile who sexually abused Angie since she was fourteen, and he also seems to be suffering from a drug dependency.
  • Wanted a Son Instead: A cycle within the Armstrong family. Bob's father was disappointed with him because he's Camp Straight, while Bob is disappointed with Brick because he wasn't a girl a acts girly.
  • You Are Fat: The completely uncreative nickname "Fatty Patty."