ARTICLES, HEALTHY LIVING & WELL BEING. EATING DISORDERS
5 Shows to Watch Instead of Netflix’s “Insatiable”
You may have heard of Netflix’s new show: Insatiable.
There has been much controversy surrounding the show since before its premiere. The show, which is about an overweight girl (Patty) who loses 70lbs and goes on a revenge binge, attempts satire but falls alarmingly short. A petition to cancel the show on Change.org has gotten over 230,000 signatures. If only the fat-shaming were the only issue with this new series. Insatiable does not do a good job portraying fat people, and it’s tone-deaf in the way it addresses sexual assault and abuse with comedy. It embraces racist tropes and insults those with southern accents.
So what’s wrong with Insatiable?
Ok, well – if you aren’t convinced by the first paragraph, let’s delve in a little deeper. Let’s start with the premise. The show is about 17-year-old Patty (not a popular name in what’s supposed to be her birth year — 2001 — but it rhymes with fatty, so they ran with it). Patty is overweight and thus unhappy, mistreated, and basically friendless. Miraculously, she loses 70lbs in three months! How, you might ask? Through hard work and determination? Nope! She had her jaw wired shut. Why? Because a homeless man punched her. Why? Because she punched him first! Why? Because he was trying to take her candy bar. This protection of a snack to the point of violence is the first sign that, no matter how bad you heard Insatiable is, it’s worse.
Satire is often used to address sensitive topics and expose biases and misconceptions around each one. However, Insatiable is extremely inelegant in its execution of satire. The show is a wannabe campy satire that clumsily tries to tackle body image and weight, while also mangling other topics such as sexuality, sexual agency, classism, race, and transgender acceptance.
The best intentions
An interview with Lauren Guiss, the creator of the Insatiable (Refinery29), reveals that she really did have the best intentions for the show. In the interview she states:
“I want to break down the walls. I feel like we’ve reached a point in our culture where we’re afraid of saying things. I feel like we’re in a position where we’re in a lot of danger of censorship. I would much rather get things out in the open, beat the rug and talk about it instead of brushing it under the rug. Sometimes this is what it takes to get people talking about things.
“If you don’t talk about it the right way, you’re not allowed about to talk about it. That doesn’t breed connection — that breeds more isolation and more polarization.”
I think we all can agree that we do need to talk about things. And yes, sometimes those conversations don’t look entirely PC. But maybe there is a better way?
Shows that do it better:
Believe it or not, there are shows out there that depict plus size women as happy and capable of living full lives. These shows manage to tackle body image, without making it the sole defining characteristic of the character.
“Plum Kettle is a ghostwriter for the editor of one of New York’s hottest fashion magazines. Struggling with self-image and fed up with how she’s treated by her boss and society, Plum sets out on a wildly complicated road to self-awakening. At the same time, everyone is buzzing over news reports about men, accused of sexual abuse and assault, who are disappearing and meeting untimely, violent deaths.” (IMDB)
Drop Dead Diva
“Deb, a shallow model’s sudden demise results in her being reincarnated as Jane, a plus size lawyer with astonishing intelligence. As Deb sees life through Jane’s eyes, she realizes it doesn’t matter how big you are, just how you accept it and know you’re beautiful no matter what people say.” (IMDB)
“The assorted humiliations, disasters and rare triumphs of four very different twenty-something girls: Hannah, an aspiring writer; Marnie, an art gallery assistant and cousins Jessa and Shoshanna.” (IMDB)
The Mindy Project
“The series follows obstetrician/gynecologist Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) as she tries to balance her personal and professional life, surrounded by quirky co-workers in a small medical practice in New York City. The character was inspired by Kaling’s own mother, an OB/GYN. Mindy explores life with the help of her co-workers: Danny Castellano, her best friend and love interest, whose religious sensibilities occasionally cause some tension; Jeremy Reed, an English physician who manages the practice; Peter Prentice, another physician who was a fraternity jock while attending Dartmouth; Morgan Tookers, a wacky, yet loveable registered nurse and an ex-con; Tamra Webb, a blunt nurse; and Beverley, the libidinous older office receptionist.” (Wikipedia)
My Mad Fat Diary
“Rae is a young teenage girl struggling with mental health issues. Having spent time in a psychiatric institute, she comes out and tries to make connections with her friends and family. However, her friends are unaware of her stay in hospital and life doesn’t always go her way.” (IMDB)
Have you seen insatiable? What did you think? How about any of these other shows — how did they stack up?