It’s not unusual for some of Netflix’s original series to cause controversy, like 13 Reasons Why, but it is out of the ordinary for a show to do so before it has debuted or received any reviews. Netflix recently released the trailer for their new series Insatiable, and for many people, it was enough to cause an outrage. The Netflix series stars Debby Ryan, Kimmy Shields, and Dallas Roberts.
IMDb describes the plot for the controversial teen comedy:
“A disgraced, dissatisfied civil lawyer-turned-beauty pageant coach takes on a vengeful, bullied teenager as his client and has no idea what he’s about to unleash upon the world.”
Patty (Ryan) narrates the Insatiable trailer, and we see that she is an overweight high-schooler who is bullied by her peers because of her size. Heartlessly, her schoolmates call her “Fatty Patty.” They point and laugh at her during lunch, and it appears that she is bullied in this manner on a daily basis. She explains that while other teenagers were out losing their virginity, she was at home eating junk food.
Then the controversial sequence happens: Patty is punched in the face by an assailant, and her jaw is wired shut. As a result, she loses a bunch of weight, and a character states, “Look, Patty’s hot.” Armed with her newfound beauty, Patty seeks revenge on those who once mocked her.
The Netflix series is set to debut on August 10, and though there have not been any official reviews or further clips released, thousands of outraged people are already boycotting Insatiable based on the trailer. There is a petition on Change.org that has already garnered over 150,000 signatures, and that number is increasing with every passing minute.
The petition states that the show promotes fat-shaming, and that it tells young, impressionable girls that in order to be popular or desirable to men, you must be thin. The Change.org petition also claims that this Netflix series “will cause eating disorders,” and that Insatiable will “perpetuate the further objectification of women’s bodies.”
Many people took to Twitter to express their outrage. Writer Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist: Essays, How to Be Heard) ridiculed the Netflix series’ intimation that a fat girl could never stand up for herself until she becomes her best self, that is to say, her skinny self, as Vox documented.
The Good Place co-star Jameela Jamil tweeted that the fat-shaming is inherent, and that the show is telling kids to lose weight to “win.”
Not very into the premise of Fatty Patty… a teenager stops eating and loses weight and then when “conventionally attractive” takes revenge on her schoolmates? This is still telling kids to lose weight to “win.” The fat shaming is inherent and pretty upsetting.
— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) July 20, 2018
There are those defending the show, and they want viewers to wait to see it until they criticize it. As seen in the Tweet below, Insatiable writer-producer Lauren Gussis said that the writing was based on her own experiences, and she revealed that she struggled with an eating disorder when she was a teenager. Gussis stated that she was suicidal at the age of 13, and that she is still not comfortable in her own skin. She asked people to please give the Netflix series a chance, and that Insatiable is a cautionary tale about how damaging it can be to believe the exterior is more important.
— Lauren Gussis (@GussisLauren) July 21, 2018
Debby Ryan defended the series on Instagram and assured Netflix viewers that the humor is “not in the fat-shaming,” as reported by Vox. Alyssa Milano, who appears in the show, posted a 30-minute Twitter video discussing trailer.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) July 21, 2018
Milano said that the series is important to all of those who created the project, and that she understands the backlash, but she hopes that people will wait to see the Netflix series in its entirety before judging it.