By Andrea Friedman
On Aug. 10, Netflix aired a new original series called, “Insatiable” starring Debby Ryan. Ryan is often associated with Disney Channel due to her previous roles as Bailey on “Suite Life on Deck,” and as the title role on “Jessie.” The show centers around 17-year-old Patty, who was overweight for most of her life. After an altercation with a homeless man, she was hospitalized for three months with her jaw wired shut, causing her to lose 70 pounds. With a slimmer body, she vows to get revenge on all who mistreated her before.
She becomes a contestant in the “Miss Magic Jesus” pageant with Bob Armstrong (Dallas Roberts) as her coach. Armstrong initially met Patty as her lawyer for the dispute between her and the homeless man. Prior cruelty, a chaotic family life and general unhappiness causes her to become self-destructive.
Controversy surrounded the show’s first season since the trailer released on July 19. Hours after it’s release, a petition was created on Change.org demanding that Netflix shut down the show. People argued the trailer represented a show that is fatphobic, and perpetuates pathological stereotypes and stigmas attached to overweight people, deeming the series as highly damaging to its audience.
The controversy has only exacerbated since then. Some viewers believe the show is culturally and politically insensitive, makes a mockery of the LBGTQ community and inappropriately portrays molestation and statutory rape in a comedic manner.
Some people think the show glosses over issues as comedic, despite their real-life severity. Critics also argue that the show is poorly crafted, has too many unrelated storylines and displays humor that is dark and insensitive.
Senior health science major Caitlin Johnstone explained her feelings towards the show. “I thought the way they made her lose weight was pretty stupid. Like in order to get skinny, you had to get your mouth wired shut and not eat properly is absurd,” Johnstone said.
Defendants of the show claim that many of the audience members and critics are misunderstanding the series entirely. They argue that the show, instead of reinforcing stereotypes with dark humor, actually criticizes the shallowness and behavior of those who interact with Patty before and after she lost weight. The show also demonstrates the negative psychological effects and anger generated from bullying and cruelty. While the creators work on the second season, “Insatiable” can be viewed on Netflix.