Netflix's 'Insatiable' Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: 'Wieners and Losers'
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. Elizabeth Cassidy, The Mighty’s news reporter, reviews episode 8 of “Insatiable” with the mental health community in mind.
The following is a review of the eighth 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.
Episode eight of “Insatiable” packs a lot of plot into a 40-minute episode. This episode doesn’t have an overall theme, so the amount of twists and turns the show takes is quite jarring. It does, however, manage to scrape over multiple mental illnesses and other health conditions while using them for the sake of “humor.”
The episode begins with Patty making out with Christian in bed after running away together. Patty narrates the scene and she confesses she thought she was cursed to be fat and alone. Now that she’s having sex with Christian, she feels blessed. This is one of those harmful stereotypes that society has made women, in particular, believe — you can’t have love unless you’re skinny.
It is relatable that Patty thinks this, but the show doesn’t do anything to question this problematic concept. If anything, it reinforces it. Patty was fat, now she’s not, and look! She got the guy! No, this isn’t OK. As a fat woman, I’ve believed this stereotype before, and it’s only led me to feel disgusting and unworthy. Everyone deserves to be loved, no matter their weight or other features.
After having sex with Christian, Patty tells him she loves him. Christian replies by telling her he had “fun.” Wrong answer, but at least he isn’t telling her he loves her when clearly he’s just a selfish and manipulative brat. Patty, obviously feeling a bit used, finds out via text that she’s won Miss Magic Jesus after Magnolia was caught cheating. All she has to do is get back to Georgia to claim her title before Dixie becomes the default.
While Patty is on her way, Dixie and Bob Barnard, who is watching her after throwing her mother in jail, wait for Pastor Mike to give her the crown. Bob tells Dixie he’s concerned about Dixie doing pageants now that his daughter, Magnolia, is in rehab for drug addiction. He admits pageants may be toxic after pushing Magnolia too hard. Of course, Dixie isn’t listening to a thing he’s saying and is fixated on the crown sitting in front of her.
Dixie tells Bob she’d never do drugs, but he says she’s still “delicate and erratic.” It’s obvious Dixie’s not the most well-adjusted person, and the character clearly fills the role of the outrageously dumb yet supposedly funny character many comedies employ. Dixie realizes Bob thinks she’s crazy.
She tells him that her mother took her to every doctor in town because everyone thinks she’s “crazy.” She tells Bob that she has OCD, over-focused ADD and she’s on the spectrum. Had I not seen the rest of this show, it could seem like this show is progressive by having a character with these health conditions. Instead, the show decided to use these to explain why Dixie is overly comic and, honestly, annoying. Did it have to be explained with the stereotype that people with mental illness or those on the autism spectrum are “crazy?” Couldn’t it just be her shallow personality?
Like the other parts of this show, this isn’t funny. It’s offensive and problematic. Mental illness affects 1 in 5 adults. Most of us living with mental illness go about our lives just like everyone else. We don’t need a character like Dixie showcasing mental illness like it’s an excuse for her poor behavior.
On top of this, Bob tells her he has no idea what she’s talking about because his family is “normal.” This implies people who are autistic or have a mental illness aren’t normal, whatever that means. Mental illness is fairly prevalent (see above stat). The flip side of normal in this context would be “crazy,” and that further isolates people who live with mental health conditions. (Extra ironic here is that Christopher Gorham, who plays Bob Barnard, is actually the parent of a child who is on the autism spectrum.)
Patty finally shows up to take her crown. Dixie tells Patty her “crazy gets triggered when someone changes the plan.” This line seems to directly call out autistic people. Some people on the spectrum do need a routine and set plans to feel more comfortable, and for some, a change in plans can lead to a meltdown. Instead of possibly giving this an accurate portrayal, Dixie’s line feels satirical in a way that only serves to make fun of a trait some people on the spectrum have. Of course, anyone can have an issue with a change in plans, but this coming directly after she mentions she’s on the spectrum cannot be a coincidence.
After this fiasco, Bob Armstrong and Patty go to Wiener Taco. Patty needs a sponsor to help pay for her pageants. Bob says the sponsor should be related to her platform — raising awareness for eating disorders. Patty decides Wiener Taco would be a perfect fit and sells the owner on the idea by suggesting they add healthier options to the menu like a “leaner wiener” with turkey or veggie ingredients instead of beef.
“Imagine a healthy eating campaign fronted by Masonville’s very own Miss Magic Jesus, who advocates for body positive body image,” Patty tells Donald Choi’s father, the owner of Wiener Taco.
I do like the idea of providing options that are generally healthier than processed beef. People should have the option to choose what they want to eat. The association between “positive body image” and a “healthy eating campaign” is slightly problematic, though. People should want to incorporate veggies or certain proteins for the nutritional value and energy it gives them — not because they think it will make them look good.
Although Patty has lost weight and feels good about it, she’s still insecure. This is relatable. People who advocate for causes like body positivity or mental health awareness aren’t invincible to struggling with body image or their mental health. This doesn’t make them any less of an advocate either.
After this, Patty heads home. Angie, Patty’s mom, is beaming because her pregnancy test came back negative. This makes Patty realize her period is a week late. Remember when I said this episode has a lot of twist and turns? This is just one.
Patty takes a pregnancy test, and it’s positive. Her mother, for once, is there for her. She doesn’t get angry or blame Patty. She talks to Patty about what she did when she found out she was pregnant and tells Patty she believes that women should have the right to choose.
Meanwhile, Pageant Bob gets a call that his father is in the hospital. Patty calls him while he’s in the hospital to tell him she’s pregnant. Patty also tells Nonnie, who she seems to be on better terms with.
Patty finally tells Bob Armstrong about her pregnancy, but Bob Barnard, who now works with Bob A. overhears. Coralee comes over to talk to Bob about his affair. They both get drunk so they can be “radically honest” (which seems like a rip-off of Radical Candor). They end up having make-up sex in their kitchen, but the scene is cut short (thank goodness).
At the hospital visiting Bob’s dad, Bob finds out that Coralee slept with someone else while they were separated.
The next scene takes place at Pastor Mike’s office because Bob B. told Pastor Mike that Patty is pregnant. While Pastor Mike is telling Patty she can no longer be Miss Magic Jesus (baby out of wedlock and all), Christian (Pastor Mike’s son) enters and says he’s the baby’s father.
Christian tells Patty he’ll help raise the baby, but, of course, he offers as a way of getting out of being sent to military school. Patty realizes this and gets angry. While yelling, she cramps up making viewers think she’s having a miscarriage. Nope! That’d be too normal for this show.
Turns out Patty has a teratoma — a germ cell tumor made up of body tissue like hair, bones and muscle, according to the National Cancer Institute. In women, they’re normally found on the ovaries and can be either benign or malignant. Patty goes to the hospital and the doctor tells Patty her teratoma is a parasitic twin she “consumed” in utero, which is not scientifically accurate.
It is a common misconception that teratomas are underdeveloped twins. Parasitic twins are real, but they are not teratomas. Teratomas form like body parts because they originate from germ cells — a cell type that turns into eggs for women and sperm cells for men. This explains why teratomas are typically found within the ovaries. (Didn’t think you’d get a science lesson from a review, huh?)
Regardless of scientific accuracy, Patty takes the news to mean she “ate her twin” and is a freak. Bob says that it makes sense that she was a compulsive eater from the start. This is so far-fetched, I don’t even know where to begin. Compulsive overeating is a sign of binge eating disorder, which Patty may struggle with, but she has no signs of this during the series so far. Yes, she turns to food for comfort, but that is different from compulsive overeating. Bob’s comment just feels like one of those cringe-y “too soon” jokes. It’s inappropriate for the moment.
The doctor tells her she’ll need surgery for the teratoma, but let’s Patty wait a few months in order to compete in pageants. This means she can still host Wiener Taco’s grand opening.
During the grand opening, Pastor Mike tells her she needs to get “that thing” removed from her because it’s pure evil. He tells her it could be a demon. Remember the twists and turns, people?
In the next scene, the Bobs are in the Wiener Taco bathroom together. Bob B. wants to know how Patty was able to keep her crown now that she was pregnant. Bob A. explains. Then, Bob B. tells Bob A. that he’s his boss now. While Bob is yelling, Bob B. tells him he’s almost broke and needed the job. The Bobs get in a fight and then Bob B. professes his love for Bob A. and kisses him. At first, Bob A. pulls away but then kisses Bob back.
While this is happening, Patty reveals the new Wiener mobile. She’s standing on top of the food truck when Dixie attacks her and tries to take her crown. Eventually, Patty wins the fight, and Dixie is pushed off the food truck. She’s unconscious, and the episode ends with her laying on the concrete. TWIST?
This is by far the most jaw-dropping episode of the series thus far. I’m genuinely curious how the show’s writers came up with this plot. It’s so far-fetched it’s almost admirable. I knew my rating for this episode would be low as soon as I watched the scene with Dixie and Bob B. I get it. It’s a comedy. It’s satirical. But using mental illness and autism for a cheap laugh when they’re already so stigmatized is just rude. Also, if I could Google the definition of a teratoma, why couldn’t any of the show’s writers?
Stray Observations and Future Questions
- Two teenagers run away together, and there isn’t any missing-person case filed with the police?
- Magnolia is in rehab for drug addiction, and I commend this. At least one person in this town is getting the help they need.
- What kind of financial hardship does other Bob have? How did it happen?
- How do you think Patty’s teratoma will disrupt her pageant plans?
Header image via Netflix.