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‘Insatiable’ Season 1 | Netflix Series Review Zero Fat Shaming

Insatiable - Season 1 - Netflix - Review - fat shaming


Netflix Original Series Insatiable sometimes portrays insufferable characters, but the messages are important, and are not fat shaming.

In case you missed it, Netflix’s new series Insatiable has been accused of fat shaming, a term that has been banded around on social media in the last 12 months. The term fat shaming peaked this year when Cancer Research UK released adverts factually stating that obesity is the second biggest cause of cancer, which caused an almighty uproar by some activists claiming this to be fat shaming. Of course, highlighting the second highest contributor to a currently incurable disease is a horrific fact to make the general public aware of. Take down those cigarette warnings now.

I researched the google definition of fat shaming before watching Insatiable which is, “the action or practice of humiliating someone judged to be fat or overweight by making mocking or critical comments about their size.” I started thinking about the act of shaming people generally when Demi Lovato overdosed on heroin, and then wondered why we have not banned such films as Requiem for a Dream, Trainspotting or Candy.

Now that I have fully watched the entire season, I can confirm that Netflix’s Insatiable is not fat shaming, thus proving that we should only judge something once we fully understand it. Insatiable is a perplexing release – the story has managed to gather all this unwarranted controversy, yet the entire season embodies many elements that the “left” want in the entertainment industry. It tackles issues of body image, sexuality, race and superficiality. Insatiable is ironically diverse in tackling many social issues. Frankly, the fat shaming calls now appear tragically embarrassing.

Insatiable - Season 1 - Netflix - Review

In Insatiable, Patty (Debby Ryan) used to be fat, very briefly in Episode 1. Due to her weight, she was bullied by teenagers at her school, which I found profoundly odd; I cannot imagine that possibly happening. Kids are much nicer than that, right? After the summer break, she returns with a significant amount of weight lost, and the entire school suddenly start noticing her because she is “thin”. She wants to use her painful past and become someone else, and channel that energy for revenge and enter a beauty pageant. She decides to be coached by a disgraced, dissatisfied civil lawyer-turned-beauty pageant coach (Dallas Roberts) in order to realise her dreams and to prove everyone wrong. Her revenge by definition is not hurting people, it’s becoming someone that no-one else imagined her to be.

In terms of this non-existent fat shaming row, the trailers deemed to sell this ideology that because Patty has lost all this weight, she now needs revenge and her life is suddenly better. Patty does want some form of revenge, but only when her previous aggressors begin to antagonise her. Also, this notion that the desire for revenge is fat shaming is frustratingly absurd. It is a story. It is also useful to know that Patty still gets bullied by those who are jealous of her sudden change in appearance, thus demonstrating that her life has not changed too dramatically. Patty, for the most part, is ironically not a nice character to engage with. However, Insatiable tackles the negative views of body image impressively, which mentally aggravates Patty throughout the season. There is a theme attached: that just because she has lost weight, does not mean she feels physically better.

Insatiable is a dark satirical comedy, with similar humour to the likes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which favours the strong exposure of stereotypes. The entire concept bases itself around becoming a better person, regardless of your weight. The vanity at show is the joke, with characters mocking themselves. Bob, the very camp beauty pageant coach, directly discusses the chores of looking beautiful, but each time he has a plan to propel Patty to greatness, it is dismantled by wrong choices. Insatiable is about not very important people, thinking they are important by causing the suffering of others.

Insatiable - Season 1 - Netflix - Review

Beyond Patty trying to become famous, there are themes here that are interesting to take in; one of the characters is confused by her homosexual tendencies, another character is tackling his failed marriage due to adultery, and then there is a strong message about the trials and tribulations of a single mother. Insatiable is far from perfect, with the leading characters sometimes insufferable, but the messages are abundantly clear in a way that people should appreciate.

Insatiable is probably one of the best shows in recent times that understands the pains of body image. Netflix should be applauded by not doing a Disney. When the petition arose to cancel Insatiable I was concerned that the streaming giant was going to do the obligatory action and remove it from their platform, but fortunately, common sense availed, with the likes of Debby Ryan publically asking people to be patient. I chortled slightly during one of the episodes because of a Beauty Queen competition; one of the girls is clearly an overweight black woman named Dee (Ashley D Kelley), yet she is favourite to win the competition in a show accused of fat shaming. Take that thin-privileged people! Oh, wait, that’s a made-up term as well.

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14 comments on “‘Insatiable’ Season 1 | Netflix Series Review Zero Fat Shaming

  1. I am 56 years old and still have issues from my fat childhood. Although I am no longer fat, the ridicule I received from kids did leave scars. I also knew a girl who was fat and lost weight one summer, she became popular upon returning to school. So………

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  3. You seriously cannot imagine a person being bullied at school for being fat? What an amazingly perfect and simplistic life you must live! Fat kids are constantly bullied, throughout their lives and if they go on to become fat adults, the bullying continues.

    • Daniel Hart

      You seriously cannot imagine sarcasm being a thing?

    • Lelly Parker

      The article is saying kids do get bullied. It is being sarcastic.

  4. Yeah. Literally this entire piece has zero credibility because of that sentence about not imagining fat people being bullied in high school. You could have swapped in “I know nothing about the topic I am writing about.” to the same effect.

    • Lelly Parker

      That sentence is being sarcastic, it is pointing out that fat people are bullied all the time at school. Please read it again with that in mind.

  5. There definitely millions of people out there who can relate to Patty, fat to skinny, big nose to small, small lips to big. Read a review where the reviewer said she cried and was hurt by the memories of her own fat days and taunts as a child. That this TV show is wrong and should of have been cancelled. Which to me sounds like she needs counseling. But that aside, a lot of Netflix shows are wrong and need a big does of cancelling or a better editor. The show touches on more issues than fat shaming and body image, using humour that is more amusing than funny. Bikini dog washing raising money for eating disorder recovery centre.

  6. OliviaDunham

    You are a complete and total example of one who has lived an incredibly sheltered life. Not only that, you clearly have 1) lived a very sheltered life in terms of dealing with people and 2) I would bet money on the fact that you, in some way or another, participated in bullying on and off your whole life. “Kids are nicer than that.”?!!? You are either a homeschooled, naive human or you just lived your entire life in a bubble where you never, ever had to deal with any type of bullying and has an easy breezy time in middle & high school.
    You are beyond unqualified to review this show, and, by the amount of grammatical errors in this piece, you are probably unqualified for your job.
    Hey look at that! That’s criticism, not bullying.

    • Jonathon Wilson

      Despite the fact that your inability to recognise obvious sarcasm suggests you might be unqualified to read, that would be fine if it weren’t an excuse for you to make absurd generalisations about the writer.

      To clarify, despite being Dan’s business partner, I’ve also known him for 20 years. We come from the same working-class mill town in the north of England. We attended the same public school, where for various reasons, least among them his being black, he was viciously bullied from the age of about 5-18. That’s 13 years of not living in a bubble, not having an “easy breezy time” in school, and, regardless of all that, never letting the abuse define him and prevent him from making something of himself. Dan has never bullied anyone in his entire life. He’s a father, a friend, and a partner, and he came from the same gutter I did. It seems you owe him some money – and perhaps an apology.

      And please let this be known to everyone – criticising the content of a review here is fine. As soon as you start attacking the writers on a personal level, you’re done. And while you’re busying yourself elsewhere, maybe think on the irony of attacking a writer’s personal life and character because a show wasn’t tolerant enough for you.

    • Olivia Dunhams Biggest Fan

      Sarcasm is often detected through cues such as tone and facial expression. This can make detecting sarcasm in writing difficult. However, if you spend some time considering a text, you should be able to figure out if the writer is being sarcastic. Watch for subtle cues in the writing, like hyperbolic language, and then consider the context of the text. The writer’s personality and opinions can help you detect sarcasm.

      Example of written sarcasm

      I bet Olivia Dunham doesnt have 10 cats that all sleep with her

    • Lelly Parker

      You have completely misunderstood what this article said. It is being SARCASTIC. The article agrees with you that people do get bullied at school all the time.

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  8. Lelly Parker

    FINALLY a reviewer who with the intellect to understand and the guts to be truthful about this show when every other critic has followed the lead of every other critic. This show does NOT fat-shame, it does the exact opposite.

  9. good job..DAN nice review..i actually watched the show before i even knew there was backlash for fat shaming. I was excited to see when season two would air or not. and found a petition of 220000 people that were in a up roar, we are to quick to have a view on something with out all the facts. no one reads the fine print anymore. put your clipsboards down, there ubstructing your vision. see something read something before you comment. I could ramble on more, and i will just a bit, you havnt taken the time to walk in someone elses shoes, you will never understand a different way of looking at things. this is a tv show…this is entertainment…dont watch it if you have a problem with it…I have never walked around and shoved netflix infront of someones face…and said watch this!!

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