Netflix's 'Insatiable' Season 1, Episode 6 Recap: 'Dunk ‘N’ Donut'
Since its controversial trailer dropped, “Insatiable,” a Netflix series that addresses mental health topics, has made headlines for accusations of fat-shaming and the promotion of eating disorders. Juliette Virzi, The Mighty’s associate mental health editor, reviews episode six of “Insatiable” with the mental health community in mind.
The following is a review of the sixth episode of “Insatiable” and contains spoilers.
Content warning: This episode contains references to disordered eating that may be triggering to people with or in recovery from eating disorders.
Not even 30 seconds into episode six and I’m already cringing. The episode opens with Patty and Brick making out in the back of his car. In a voiceover, Patty says,“For years, losing my virginity felt just as impossible as losing the weight, so I hadn’t given it much thought. But now, I wanted to take out my new body and see what it could do.”
Ughhhh. Can we please stop perpetuating the idea that fat bodies can’t be sexy? You don’t have to “get thin” to be sexy, and it’s harmful to imply this.
Patty continues her narration, “For the first time in my life, I was hungry for something other than food.”
Double ughhhh. It’s beyond offensive to assert that people of size simply do not have sex drives because they are focused on food. What… because Patty is thin, she’s “allowed” to have a sex drive now? Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the show has drawn this conclusion. In the very first episode Patty says, “While my classmates were out losing their virginity, I was at home stuffing another hole.” This trope is not just tired and overdone — it’s dehumanizing and fat-phobic. I’m not here for it.
To anyone who might feel triggered by this fat-phobic bullsh*t, you’re not alone. Because “Insatiable” gets this so wrong, I think it’s worth saying: You do not have to be thin to be beautiful, desirable or worthy.
When Patty tries to unbuckle his pants, Brick stops her and says he wants to take things slow because he really cares about her and wants it to be special. Patty asks if it’s because he’s not attracted to her, and he immediately protests and kisses her, saying he’s so attracted to her. But remember when “Fatty Patty” asked Brick out in episode one and scoffed and walked away? Well, now that she’s thin of course he’s attracted to her… Sigh.
Since Patty hasn’t been baptized, she has to be in order to enter the Miss Magic Jesus pageant. Bob Armstrong (Blonde Bob) goes to Pastor Mike to ask him to do a “quickie baptism.” Pastor Mike refuses but says he will baptize her properly, which includes spiritual counseling and having a godparent (a role Blonde Bob volunteers for).
At a Miss Magic Jesus pageant meeting at the church, Dixie makes fun of Dee, a fellow contestant, for being fat. Patty stands up for her, but Dee interjects saying, “It’s cool, I got this. I like the way I look. That’s why I do pageants. To show people that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.” While a small part of me was like, “You go Dee!” the larger more cynical part of me felt like the showrunners put her in to be like, “Look, we aren’t fat shaming! Look, we are body positive!” Dee’s commentary feels forced, like the showrunners were trying to cover their tracks to avoid criticism. Unfortunately, Dee’s one-liner doesn’t make up for the show being hateful, fat-phobic and harmful.
Meanwhile Magnolia (who saw Brick and Patty kiss at the dog wash) has been pretending she doesn’t know what’s going on between the pair. At the church, she gives Patty one more opportunity to confess to being with Brick. When Patty lies, Magnolia screams, “I saw you kiss him at the dog wash, you slut!” Patty tells her to get over it because she dumped him and now Brick likes her. Magnolia calls Patty a “basic bitch” and says she’s going to beat her in the pageant… and every pageant from now until the end of time — because it clearly wouldn’t be dramatic enough otherwise. This all happens in church at a meeting for Miss Magic Jesus by the way, (in case you missed the oh-so-subtle way Southern religious hypocrisy is depicted in this show).
Patty and Dee sit down and Patty explains, “I lost XX pounds, so now it’s my turn to get the guy,” to which Dee responds, “Being skinny don’t mean shit if you’re ugly on the inside.”
First of all, losing weight doesn’t mean you are now automatically entitled to have a boyfriend. Fat folks deserve to be in relationships too! Second of all, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), sharing specific numbers (in this case, pounds lost) can cause someone to fixate on the specific number, looking to it as a “how-to” guide to follow. (Editor’s note: We replaced the number with XX for the sake of this review to protect those who may be vulnerable to seeing such numbers.) Though it’s a fictional story, using a specific number could be damaging to someone struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder. Third of all, Dee’s response is irritating because being skinny doesn’t “mean” anything, period. It just is, and we can’t keep treating it like it’s something to be celebrated and that being fat is something to be demonized and embarrassed of.
In their spiritual counseling after the meeting, Pastor Mike says the source of all misery is selfishness. Patty confesses to stealing Magnolia’s boyfriend and potentially breaking up Blonde Bob’s marriage by telling Coralee he had an affair with Stella Rose 20 years ago. Blonde Bob confesses to not being a great dad to Brick, and Pastor Mike says he can’t be a good godfather to Patty if he isn’t a good father to his son. Pastor Mike also shares that Christian, Magnolia’s drug dealer who has been hitting on Patty, is his son.
Pastor Mike asks them to each to pick an act of selflessness to accomplish, and if they both do it he will baptize Patty. Patty decides to set up Magnolia with Christian and Blonde Bob decides to learn more about wrestling to connect with Brick — both end up backfiring, but more on that later.
Patty tells Christian he should ask out Magnolia, but he’s interested in Patty. He flirts with her, insisting that she’s actually into him, not Brick. He gets super close to her lips, close enough to kiss, and Patty realizes she is attracted to Christian (I honestly don’t know why. The boy gives me the creeps!)
Christian then goes to Magnolia and proposes a plan to make both Patty and Brick jealous by kissing each other at Brick’s wrestling match.
In an effort to bond with his son, Blonde Bob goes to the school to get lessons on wrestling from the coach. Of course, Bob Barnard (“Hot Bob”) shows up and offers to give him lessons. They both “suit up” in wrestling attire and begin a homoerotic wrestling session, complete with Hot Bob teaching Blonde Bob the “penetration shot” and when Blonde Bob is pinned, Hot Bob says, “that’s called finishing.”
Brick invites Patty over to his house because his dad won’t be home. He says it will be really “special,” implying he wants to have sex with her. When she comes over they start making out on his bed, and he presents her with a “surprise,” A.K.A. a box of condoms. Before they are able to have sex, Brick’s dad, Blonde Bob, knocks on the door and finds him and Patty. He says it’s not good to have sex before a wrestling match. Patty thinks Brick wants to have sex with her to get back at her dad so she storms out angrily. Patty reflects on the night’s events and decides that Brick was trying to use her and she picked the wrong guy. She laments setting up Christian with Magnolia, and in a voiceover, says, “By being selfless I had screwed myself.”
Patty runs into Christian later and asks him to go for a drive. In the car with Christian, Patty explains why she wants revenge. She tells him she used to be fat and people tortured her. “I want to show everyone who was mean to me that they’re all losers and that I am a winner,” she says.
Instead of being taken aback by this, Christian is turned on. “I knew it,” he replies. “From the second I sat next to you, I could feel it… You’re angry. Twisted. Hungry. Like me.” He then leans in and they begin kissing. Nothing like revenge to get you all hot and bothered, am I right?
Just then, Brick texts Patty that he’s sorry and shares all the reasons he likes her. She thinks to herself that Christian may like the person she was, but Brick likes the person she wants to be. She leaves the car and decides that in order for Pastor Mike to take her seriously and baptize her, she needed to stay as far away from Christian as possible.
Nonnie and Donald Choi go to a coffee shop’s open mic night and see Dee, the other Miss Magic Jesus contestant, playing the piano and singing. Nonnie and Choi get into a talk about whether or not Nonnie is gay. She says that she doesn’t know if she’s into girls, but she does know she’s into Patty. Nonnie instantly feels ashamed and is afraid she hurt Choi’s feelings. She escapes to the bathroom where she runs into Dee. Dee, who is a complete stranger to Nonnie, pretty persistently (and unrealistically) pushes Nonnie to tell her what’s going on. At the end of their interaction, Dee ends up giving Nonnie her number.
Both Blonde Bob and Patty go to Brick’s wrestling match. Christian and Magnolia make out at the match and Patty pretends she’s unbothered by it, throwing him a “thumbs up.”
Then Nonnie comes to the match and says she needs to talk because a “weird thing” happened to her last night (which we know means Dee asked her out). Without acknowledging what she had said, Patty launches into a story about Christian and Magnolia. Nonnie gets upset and storms out of the gym. Patty follows her and Nonnie finally stands up for herself, calling Patty out for not listening to her and talking about herself instead.
Nonnie then shares that Dee asked her out. Nonnie is freaked out by it because she’s questioning her sexuality and whether or not she gives off a “gay vibe.” Nonnie is visibly upset and continues yelling at Patty. When Patty asks why she’s so upset, Nonnie says, “Because, this…!” and kisses her. Patty pulls away and says she loves Nonnie but not in that way. Nonnie is afraid she’s ruined everything. Patty reassures her nothing has to change and that she doesn’t care. Nonnie gets upset by this, saying she makes everything about herself and how that’s always been the case in their friendship. Nonnie says now that she’s finally figuring out what she wants, Patty is still making it about herself.
Back at the match, Blonde Bob, still trying to make amends with his son, begins shouting, “penetrate him!” to cheer for Brick. This is because Hot Bob taught him a “penetration shot” in his wrestling lesson. This distracts Brick, causing him to lose the match. Brick gets upset with his father, saying he liked it better when Blonde Bob didn’t care about him. Patty shows up and comforts Blonde Bob, saying he can work towards being a better father by getting baptized with her tomorrow. They’ll have a fresh start.
At the baptism, Magnolia talks to Brick and Patty and tells them she’s OK with them dating because she likes Christian. This isn’t really true and Magnolia spikes Patty’s drink so that Pastor Mike will see she’s on drugs, disqualifying her from Miss Magic Jesus.
When Patty is dunked for her baptism, she hallucinates that a donut is talking to her. She asks the donut (I kid you not), “Are you God?” Yes, we get it! Patty likes to eat, that has been made crystal clear. Implying Patty “worships” food because she’s still a “fat girl” on the inside is incredibly offensive. The only consistent “personality trait” of Patty’s is that she likes to eat. Come on “Insatiable,” really? I dare you to tell me this show isn’t a prime example of fat-shaming.
The donut then counsels her to be selfish and go after Christian because she will never be satisfied otherwise. And this is exactly what Patty does. She breaks up with Brick quickly and walks away, without giving him a chance to respond. She then walks up to Christian, takes his hand and tells him to come with her. The pair go to the church’s replica of Noah’s ark and begin making out. Christian performs oral sex on Patty… in broad daylight… on church grounds… The scene ends with Patty saying, “Oh God,” just in case you missed the way “Insatiable” has been conflating sex and religion thus far.
Stray Observations and Future Questions
- Loved how Nonnie threw in that she was going to be watching “Santa Clarita Diet” that weekend. Way to go Netflix, love the self-promotion of your other shows…
- When Patty gets out of the baptism tank, she has a “wet T-shirt contest” moment. Her white gown is completely see-through, exposing her red bikini underneath. Not only would this kind of thing never happen in church (people who are being baptized are typically asked to wear dark clothing so no exposure happens), it’s also another one of the many times “Insatiable” showcases Patty’s new thin body for no reason. It doesn’t serve the plot in this scene and it just reinforces the message the show has been sending all along — thin is better, thin is beautiful, thin is desirable.
This episode gets one star for its damaging implication that only thin people A) have sex drives and B) can be sexually desirable. This isn’t satire, it’s a bad show underscoring a harmful stereotype that already causes a great deal of shame and pain for so many people. Shame on you, “Insatiable.”
- How do you feel about Patty’s newfound experience of sexual activity now that she’s thin? Do you think this sends a problematic message? Why or why not?
- What do you think of Dee’s role in the series? Do you appreciate her character or feel like she comes off as a plot device to show that the show isn’t “actually” fat shaming?
Episode 5 review: ‘Insatiable’ Tackles Transgender Issues In a Self-Serving Way
Header image via Netflix.