Netflix's 'Insatiable' Season 1, Episode 10 Recap: 'Banana Heart Banana'
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. Jordan Davidson, The Mighty’s editorial director of news lifestyle, reviews episode 10 of “Insatiable” with the mental health community in mind.
The following is a review of episode 10 of “Insatiable” and contains spoilers.
Content warning: This episode contains references to disordered eating and sexual assault.
It’s hard to like Patty.
Throughout the show, I’ve wondered whether viewers are supposed to be rooting for Patty or not. There are moments where she is relatable, and you can see past her teen angst to find a glimmer of kindness. But in episode 10, it’s hard to see Patty, “Insatiable’s” supposed protagonist, as anything other than a villain.
The episode starts at the beginning of Patty’s 18th birthday week. Patty’s mom, Angie, appears to be making an effort to be more of a mom to her. She makes Patty French toast, which Patty, of course, refuses to eat because it’s getting close to pageant time and she doesn’t want the extra calories.
“Just take a bite,” Angie says, trying to be supportive.
“Just take a drink,” Patty sneers back in a condescending tone, equating her mother’s alcoholism to Patty’s dangerous relationship with food. This ugliness, which comes out whenever Patty feels backed into a corner, is something viewers have come to expect of her. Here it feels like an unnecessarily low blow to her mother, who genuinely seems to want to do better — at least, that is, for now.
In other notable news, the Bobs are hooking up on the reg. One kiss turned into a night together, scratch that… two nights together, a candlelight office picnic and a whole lotta kissing. But alas, Coralee is moving back in, and Bob, her husband, is more conflicted than ever. Sure, Bob loves Bob, but Bob also loves Coralee. Could he be bisexual? Bob Armstrong is adamant that he is, however, Bob Barnard doesn’t think so.
Back at school, Patty gets called to the principal’s office for pushing Dixie out of her wheelchair during the school’s anti-bullying assembly. It appears the tables have turned and now Patty is the bully. She’s exasperated. The school did nothing when she was bullied, so any punishment, even if warranted, seems extra unfair to Patty. Bob reminds the principal that Dixie bullied Patty first, but she doesn’t care. Because of Dixie’s newly-acquired disability, it’s implied she gets special privileges. One of those privileges appears to be infallibility. This isn’t the first time the show has infantilized disability. Disabled people can be bullies too. I’m not saying it’s right to push someone out of their wheelchair — it’s not — however, having a disability doesn’t give Dixie a free pass to be an awful person.
To make things up to Dixie, and to keep Patty from being suspended, Bob suggests throwing Patty a “roast.” Yes, instead of a normal birthday party for an 18-year-old, Bob thinks Patty’s classmates — who have already spent years tormenting her — should roast her. Great idea, Bob! Patty reluctantly agrees to this plan because it gets her out of trouble and lets her continue on her path to beauty queendom. Those attending the roast will have to pay an entrance fee, which will help raise money for a new electric wheelchair and van for Dixie.
After the wheelchair-pushing debacle at school, Patty goes to Weiner Taco to see her mom. While chatting with Angie, Patty goes ahead and sends a friend request to Gordy, Angie’s mom’s ex-boyfriend, for her. Patty then runs into Nonnie and her girlfriend Dee and tells them about the roast. Dee makes a comment about how there’s a lot to roast Patty about. This revelation makes Patty panic and want to cancel. Nonnie and Dee fight, and Nonnie tells Dee she shouldn’t make her choose between her and Patty because she won’t win. Nonnie later tells Patty Dee won’t be coming to the party and Patty seems glad her friend has chosen her over her girlfriend, even though Patty admits that it seems like Nonnie really likes Dee.
Meanwhile, “Hot Bob” Barnard (that’s what the show calls him!) goes to visit his daughter in rehab. He says he had no idea Magnolia was miserable enough that she wanted to kill herself. Suicide is complicated, but being miserable, Magnolia says, is not the reason why she overdosed. It’s Bob’s lies — about his daughter, about telling the pageant board she cheated — that drove her actions. Bob apologizes and tells Magnolia he’s gay.
Patty’s roast is held at Bob Barnard’s house and everyone is in attendance — Dixie, Regina, Brick, Coralee, Dee (who has patched things up with Nonnie), Nonnie’s dad, Donald, both Bobs, Angie and Gordy.
Gordy tells Angie he saw the event on her Facebook page. Gordy might have been Angie’s mom’s boyfriend, but it’s pretty clear the relationship between Angie and Gordy was not platonic. Since Gordy was 26 and Angie 14, a non-platonic relationship is statutory rape. Angie points this out, not in those words, but says she thinks the relationship was wrong.
“I realize the circumstances were not ideal, but we were in love,” Gordy says.
“I don’t think that’s what love is,” Angie replies. “I was just a kid.”
“You weren’t a kid when you came back to find me all grown-up,” he replies.
Based on the timeline the two of them paint, having been intimate 19 years ago, it seems there is a pretty high chance that Gordy is also Patty’s dad. The photo Angie keeps of Gordy’s car supports this theory. Gordy’s license plate features the word “Kitty,” which is what Angie says she would have named Patty’s twin sister if she hadn’t, you know, eaten her.
This is the first time viewers get to see why Patty’s mom is the way she is. “Everything I did after you was fucked up,” Angie says. “It’s like I was stuck at 14.” Gordy gets defensive and tells her not to blame her problems on him.
“It sounds like you are having a mid-life crisis,” he says, deflecting the blame back at her. Gordy sees Patty and makes a slimy comment, saying Patty looks like Angie when she was young. This switches something in Angie, who tells Gordy, he’s right, she did miss him. So much so, that she wants to do drugs and hook up with him in his car.
Gordy goes to wait in his car and gets arrested after someone tips off Nonnie’s dad, a cop, that Gordy has drugs. I wonder who that could have been…
Angie tells Patty she needs to leave before the roast even begins. Keeping up with Angie is exhausting. When will she be back? Who knows?
It seemed, over the past few episodes and at Patty’s birthday week breakfast, like she wanted to repair things with her daughter. While she still might want to, it’s not enough to make her stay. “It’s never too late for a fresh start,” she tells Patty, handing over the keys to her car, her birthday gift to Patty. That fresh start Patty’s mom wants for her daughter is also what she wants for herself. She steals Gordy’s car and drives off into the night, leaving Patty alone at the roast she’s been dreading.
Bob steps in as Patty’s surrogate parent and gives her a birthday present. It’s a bracelet with a bee on it. He tells her it’s to remind her to “be the most you, you can be.” (Gotta love a good pun.)
Patty gets roasted. Some of the jokes are funny, some are mean, others are downright offensive. Most of the jokes are, unsurprisingly, about her weight. “It was brutal,” Patty says, in her voiceover. Patty makes it through the roast until Nonnie goes. As Nonnie goes through what Patty has made her do over the past nine episodes, it hits her that Patty isn’t a great friend. Patty apologizes, but Nonnie says their friendship isn’t working for her anymore.
Struggling with the loss of her best friend and mom, Patty sets off to find Bob. Bob, meanwhile, is panicking that Hot Bob will somehow “out him” during this party. He has what looks like the start of a panic attack until Bob Barnard calms him down. The Bobs share a passionate kiss, which, of course, is when Patty walks in.
Patty is pissed that Bob kept being gay from her, and makes finding the pair lip locked all about her. Patty blames the fact that she was humiliated and abandoned on Bob and goes to take her revenge. Patty grabs the mic and gives a speech about truthfulness. She’s mad that Bob tells her to be “the most me” she can be, meanwhile he’s keeping a huge part of his life hidden. “Come on, be the most you, you can be,” she says egging him on.
Rather than confronting him privately or giving him space to sort out his feelings, Patty outs him right there — in front of all of her party guests including Brick and Coralee, Bob’s son and wife. The way that Patty rips into Bob shows an inexcusable lack of self-awareness. Yes, her mom left and Nonnie needs space, but outing Bob isn’t going to make her feel better. Painting Bob as a liar and a fraud, won’t give Patty what she needs. Instead, she alienates herself from one of the last people to care about her. It’s this speech and the burning hatred in her eyes that show just who Patty is — a bully.
After Patty’s speech, Coralee tells Bob not to come home. On her way out, Donald, who is following her and taking photos, bumps into a waiter carrying a tray of drinks. The drinks spill on Dixie who jumps out of her wheelchair, proving she’s wasn’t injured. This lie validates Patty and her decision to push Dixie out of her wheelchair at the assembly.
“See, everyone is a liar, except me,” Patty exclaims. Patty always has to be right and have the last word.
Furious at the destruction Patty’s caused, Bob asks her why she outed him after everything he’s done for her. “Done for me?” she screeches. “You humiliated me!” Patty tells Bob she’s mad that she had to listen to all of her ugliness when Bob is a coward. “I wanted to handle things the right way,” Bob exclaims, telling her she’s now made that impossible.
“I did you a favor. I laid you bare, just as you did to me… Don’t you feel free?” she says in a mocking voice.
“You know what,” Bob replies. “You were right, I never should have thought because you were beautiful that your insides matched your outsides. Please, don’t be the most you, you can be because who you are is ugly.”
The episode ends with some self-awareness on Patty’s part. In her voiceover, she acknowledges that she is selfish and self-destructive. Because she is “ugly on the inside,” it doesn’t matter what her outside looks like, she says. While her narration plays, Patty sits alone with a sheet cake and eats the entire thing with her hands. The camera pans in intrusively in a way that makes you feel like you are watching something you shouldn’t be. Patty says she eats to take the pain away, and here, that has never been more clear.
Stray Thoughts and Observations
- Turns out Christian was arrested in Brazil for kidnapping his girlfriend. Patty tells Christian she doesn’t want to see him anymore and he gets physically violent. Uh-oh.
- Coralee can’t find her tampon string, thus inspiring the launch of Tampazzle, a tassel for your tampon that makes it easier to pull out and keeps the string from getting stuck up there. (Thanks, Coralee, for tackling one of womankind’s greatest frustrations, though I don’t know how comfortable a tassel would be.)
I took one star off this rating for the disability tropes “Insatiable” makes. The episode loses its second star for continuing to show Patty’s disordered eating as acceptable. That said, I didn’t hate everything. I thought the scene with Gordy and Angie was good. I’m glad Angie got some catharsis, even if that means she’s once again abandoning her daughter.
- Patty talks a lot about how she’s ugly on the inside. Do you think this ugliness was always there or developed after her weight loss?
Episode 9 Review: ‘Insatiable’ Uses Borderline Personality Disorder as an Excuse for Poor Behavior and Disability as Redemption
Episode 11 Review: ‘Insatiable’ Makes a Mockery of People Who Struggle With Binge Eating
Header image via Netflix.