Insatiable: Bothered by Fat-Shaming or Banking off of It?

The new Netflix original series, “Insatiable” is surrounded by controversy about whether or not it is giving fat-shaming a negative connotation. The new series revolves around a high school student, Patty Bladell portrayed by Debby Ryan, who was constantly taunted by her peers.  After a freak accident, Patty loses 70 pounds and plans to seek revenge on all the people who bullied her. While she plans her attack she also starts doing beauty pageants and is now ogled by all her male classmates.

When the first trailer was released it immediately received backlash. There was even a Change.org petition with over 200,000 signatures trying to remove it from Netflix. Since the show appears to mainly focus on the fact the Patty became hot and popular, that stirred up major issues for people. The show seems to sway less towards loving yourself, but more towards that if you fit that typical hot-girl stereotype you will be popular. The show’s creator, Lauren Gussis, claims that is the complete opposite of what the show is trying to do.

Gussis states that, “Patty’s actually more miserable because now she doesn’t have any protection. She has no tools. People assume things about her because she looks a certain way, but she doesn’t know who she is; she never really did.” The show is supposed to be focusing on how even though Patty got skinny and should be happy but she isn’t because she lost who she truly is in the process.

Patty is also not the only character who is trying to figure out who they are. Gussis says, “Every single one of the characters is looking for outside validation, and only the ones who end up behaving well are the ones who actually make a real discovery about who they really are.”

Along with her words of defense for the critics Debby Ryan wants to make it clear that the show is being used to create a dialogue about the issues, not to laugh at them. “We knew that this conversation needed to be had. We knew that this societal brokenness needed to be addressed, but we didn’t know how badly it needed to be addressed,” Ryan said. “There was a point where [the showrunner] and I are like, ‘If at any point this is funny, if at any point people laugh, we’re not doing it.”

It is clear these two women feel strongly about the issues presented in “Insatiable” mainly because Gussis based the story off her own struggles as a teenager. Although these two women strongly stand by the fact that their show is sending a positive message various critics have a strong opinion about the show’s issues:

The Business Insider- “Netflix's new show Insatiable is an offensive mess that goes way beyond fat shaming”

The Hollywood Reporter- “Insatiable has plenty of other issues that easily make it skippable — primarily that it's dumb, but also because it has an egregious amount of voice overs that are not only annoying and unfunny, but mask weak plotting. Insatiable also loves low-hanging humor, with lame sex jokes, gay jokes and body-related jokes being of particular fancy, as evidenced by a string of them built around 'anal cancer' references ('We have to bring anal cancer out of the closet. It's a silent but deadly killer'), etc."

The Independent- “Would they have preferred Ryan pile on the pounds and then lose them again, in the style of Charlize Theron or Renee Zellwegger? Would that have the made the story more palatable? Or perhaps they would have preferred an already fat actor get the job and then go on an epic weight-loss regime?"

Although people are infuriated by the show, everyday people go on to Netflix and watch it because of its controversial topics. It’s the outrage that made this show so popular, and well known. When it comes down the money making the more popular a show is the more money it makes.

One of Netflix’s most popular shows, “The Crown,” makes $130 million per season. So maybe the creators of insatiable knew what they were doing, in order to make a show immediately popular make it controversial. Just look at “13 Reasons Why” -- it was one of the very first extremely controversial Netflix shows, but it increased Netflix’s annual profit by $4.1 million. I assume you all know Hannah Baker, portrayed by Katherine Langford, has net-worth went up to $4.6 million from doing such a controversial show. So the more controversy a show stirs up, the more money they make because they gain so much popularity.

So are the creators of “Insatiable” really bothered by fat-shaming or banking on it?