The show that offended so many people is back with more offending content in a murder-laden second season.
After presumably murdering boyfriend Christian (James Elastotic) and Stella Rose (Beverly D’Angelo), Patty (Debby Ryan) arrives at the Miss Northeastern Georgia Dreams pageant to be defeated by Roxy (Chloe Bridges), who is then murdered. Patty becomes a person of interest in the investigation. Throughout the narrative, she is forced to face her eating disorder – compulsive eating and binging.
To deal with her mental illness, Patty joins a support group that brings her closer to Dee (Ashley D. Kelley), Nonnie’s girlfriend (Kimmy Shields), and becomes a mentor for a student with self-image issues. She also has to deal with being a pageant queen, murdering her potential father, the return of her mother, her relationship with Brick (Michael Provost) and college admissions while not eating her emotions and the entire Taco Weiner.
Meanwhile, Bob (Dallas Roberts) tries to be a thrupple with wife Coralie (Alyssa Milano) and lover Bob Barnard (Christopher Gorham). When that fails and breaks up his family, Bob attempts to find his romantic place without choosing a label in a world full possibilities while mending things with Coralie and Brick, both proving to be more difficult than he thought.
I respect the writers of the show for continuing to do their own thing despite coming under fire from so many angles for season 1. Season 2 finally delves into Patty’s eating disorder, something she doesn’t think she has because she neither stops eating nor does she throw up her food. Uncontrollable eating and binging is also an eating disorder.
Patty realizes it wasn’t excess weight but her mental health that kept her from happiness. I side with Patty’s little sister who remains adamant Patty’s life is perfect. Pretty, skinny people coast through life with an easiness less attractive people aren’t afforded. Brick even admitted he rejected “Fatty Patty.” What's wrong with wanting normalcy, acceptance and inclusion, and to be wanted in a brutal world? These don’t promote body positivity, but they are the hard truths that make the show so controversial.
Nonnie continues to be the token best friend who stereotypically fell in love with her straight best friend, but now Choi (Daniel Kang) and Dee are there helping her maintain her realized self-worth and giving her an actual storyline. She is still supportive of the very co-dependent Patty even when Patty lies and evades the reality of her disorder.
The entire Armstrong family had interesting storylines. Coralee launches her “tampazzle” – a tampon with a tassel – business with Regina as partner while divorcing Bob. I’m going to refrain from commenting on the logistical fallacies of the invention. Brick finds out a traditional college isn’t an option with his bad grades despite being a star wrestler. Bob helps Patty overcome her eating disorder and get to the next pageant.
There were many running gags that ran too long starting with the murder trope. This isn’t “Game of Thrones.” Another unfunny running gag was Regina Sinclair (Arden Mirin) constantly popping up squatting in Patty’s house or living in a box. Neither is Dixie (Irene Choi)’s stupidity. The kidnapping plot twist was very Regina, though.
The show remains unique and watch-worthy not because of its controversial topics and portrayals of body image and skinny privilege but because the protagonist suffers both from borderline personality disorder, a widely undiscussed but very common mental health disorder, as well as compulsive eating, an undiscussed but common eating disorder. Few shows have gone here.
Overall, the theme for season 2 was finding happiness in a place where emotional wellbeing comes first, regardless of weight, sexual orientation, academic career and economic status. Show writers took the satire to the next level, elevating the show from a dark drama to somewhere between comedy and gore. At times, it feels like emotional slapstick.