Despite backlash, ‘Insatiable’ renewed for second season

Courtesy of Netflix

Many are calling the Netflix original “Insatiable” the most-hated television show of the season.

TV critics on Rotten Tomatoes are calling it out for fat-shaming, lacking integrity and providing an unhelpful portrayal of binge-eating dis- order. Despite the controversy, Netflix renewed “Insatiable” for a second season.

“Insatiable” is a dark comedy satire starring Debby Ryan as the character Patty who is a self-professed “fat girl” in high school who loses weight. She then decides to seek revenge on everyone who fat-shamed or bullied her while she was overweight.

After the trailer debut of “Insatiable,” more than 235,000 people signed an online petition on Change.org calling for Netflix to cancel the series before it aired.

The show’s creator, Lauren Gussis, defended the show on Twitter. She said it is based on her experiences as a teenager and her goal was to bring attention to these issues through comedy.

After its release only 11 percent of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave “Insatiable” a positive review, with an average review of 2.69 out of 10.

Many are familiar with the controversy, yet still tuning in. Despite the negative reviews, the show received an audience score of 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Victoria Brodie, visiting professor of public relations, said at times any publicity is good publicity in the entertainment industry.

“Negative and positive media attention attracts and detracts people,” Brodie said. “The problem is past examples show that negative media attention only attracts people for a short period of time because they just want to see what’s going on.”

Sophomores Lia Riccio, history major, and Stefanee Fontanilla, communication sciences and disorders major, said they watched the entire first season and thought the show was peculiar and had an odd sense of humor.

In spite of the negativity, Riccio said the show does have a message of body positivity. “There is a little bit of body shaming but there is also a part where they talk about being comfortable in your own skin,” Riccio said. “It has a whole ‘you are beautiful the way you are’ theme.”

However, Fontanilla said “Insatiable” promotes finding one’s identity in areas other than Christ.

“From a Christian point of view, it makes you sad to watch because it showcases how unbelievers chase after so many things to feel satisfied,” Fontanilla said, “but the only thing that you need to feel satisfied and whole in life is Jesus.

“For Debby Ryan’s character, she never felt comfortable in her body so she kept chasing boys and attention. As Christians, we learn a lot about how God values us and he sees us as beautiful.”

Fontanilla also said other problems presented in the series include characters obsessed with winning, characters who seem stuck in the past, and one character who presented a false self to appear successful.

Brodie said she was disappointed Netflix renewed “Insatiable” for a second season.

“You are always making a statement by what you support and what you don’t support,” Brodie said. “I’m sad Netflix would choose to carry this show because that does reflect on them as a brand.”

However, positive reviews of “Insatiable” indicated they respect the show’s critique of the stereotypes of society. “You have to get several episodes in before they start to talk about body positivity,” Riccio said. “It is supposed to be funny but it just doesn’t always come across very well.” Brodie said a documentary series on fat-shaming would be a better way to address the is- sue in a less offensive and more authentic manner.

Despite the controversy, Riccio and Foutatuilla, as many other young adults, said they will be tuning in to season two when it airs next year.

Critics and viewers state they are hoping to see a change in the way the creators of “In- satiable” handle sensitive issues while protesters are still pushing for Netflix to cancel future seasons.

 

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