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Ignore the Outrage Mob and Watch Insatiable

Maybe folks angry about “fat-shaming” should have seen an episode before freaking out?

'Insatiable''Insatiable,' NetflixMore than 200,000 people have already signed a Change.org petition to cancel the Netflix comedy Insatiable before a single frame of it has aired. "We still have time to stop this series from being released," the petition seethes, "and causing a devastation of self-doubt in the minds of young girls who will think that to be happy and be worthy, they need to lose weight."

Reading those words of these warriors against thin privilege fills me with a righteous rage as I brood about the victims of this manifest unfairness—namely, that I have to watch television shows before I write about them. It would be sooooo much easier (and lucrative!) to do these reviews based on the TV-log description or the title or the voices in my head.

But life's not fair, so they say, which means I had to invest three hours of viewing a sharply written and antically acted comedy about a fat, bullied teenage girl who drops four dress sizes after an accident, then goes on a rampage against her former tormentors, in order to tell you that Insatiable is not an assault on human decency but an extremely funny piece of work.

Something like Death Wish if it had been directed by John Hughes, Insatiable starts off with Debby Ryan (Life Of The Party) encased in a Michelin-man size fat suit, playing a high school pariah named Patty—or Fatty Patty, as the rest of the school (even, oh my God, the band dorks) calls her. The name may be cruel, but it's not exactly inaccurate. "While my classmates were out losing their virginity, I was at home, stuffing another hole," laments Patty.

She bottoms out one night when a homeless drunk demands her chocolate donut on the grounds that she's too fat to eat it. She punches him; he punches back, much harder, and breaks her jaw. Three months of liquid diet later, Fatty Patty is Hottie Patty, with all the popular kids who once shunned her (and now have no idea who she is) begging her to join their cafeteria table. She's unplacated by her new popularity, and the stage is set for Revenge of the Plus-Sized.

But Patty's not the only one bearing homicidal grudges. Bob (Dallas Roberts, The L Word), the attorney defending Patty on criminal charges over slugging the homeless guy, has his own kettle of barely suppressed rage.

An airhead partner in his dad's law firm, Bob is despondent that he's been banned from his real love: coaching teenage contestants in the town's cutthroat beauty pageants. (A mother, furious when her daughter loses a pageant after imprudently giving a happy-face oratory on keeping "trannies" out of women's restrooms, falsely accused Bob of unhinging the girl by touching her "ho-ho.") Seeing a chance to get back in the game and humiliate his rival coaches, Bob suggests that the newly beautiful Patty enter a pageant. Heinous, hilarious skullduggery ensues.

Insatiable is a madcap race through every kind of antisocial and un-PC activity known to mankind. The wives are all promiscuous—particularly Bob's, played by Alyssa Milano—and the husbands all on the down-low. (Gender is not just fluid in this show, it's Niagara Falls at peak flow.) Even the nicknames are filthy. (My favorite: "Bag of Boners.") The most random, bit-player characters say things like (while bragging about bagging a bear on a hunting expedition), "Unfortunately, you can't wall-mount a bear fetus."

The show is filled with gleeful weirdness, most particularly that it was originally intended for teeny-bopper network The CW. And the bright-eyed blood-thirstyness of Debby Ryan is likely to make her a star.

Here's what Insatiable is not: an exercise in fat-shaming or any other teenage caste cruelty. Sure, Patty gets mocked and abused, but the kids who engage in that behavior are unambiguously treated as villains, and they don't fare well. And Patty's acts of vengeance mostly seem heroic, even when they are patently misanthropic. Everybody who ever suffered shunning or scorn at the hands of a high-school social overlord will be raising a fist in solidarity.

Which is the point. Executive producer Lauren Gussis, who worked on Showtime's boy-psycho-next-door Dexter for several years, says Insatiable is really her memoir of an overweight adolescence full of convulsive anger at the way other kids treated her: "the kind of rage that makes you want to do dark things." Dark, funny things.

Photo Credit: 'Insatiable,' Netflix

Contributing Editor Glenn Garvin is the author of Everybody Had His Own Gringo: The CIA and the Contras and (with Ana Rodriguez) Diary of a Survivor: Nineteen Years in a Cuban Women's Prison. He writes about television for the Miami Herald.

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  • Mongo||

    There is one only Insatiable in pop media and you know what I'm talking about....

  • Mickey Rat||

    So setting up the motivation for a revenge fantasy story is unacceptable to show the protagonist as actually fat or something? These people are really something.

  • CE||

    Don't they need to cast an actor who was actually overweight though?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Sounds like some more grotesque revenge porn. Perhaps not as much as the terrible "12 Reasons Why" but in the same vein. I hope it at least has a willingness to have some criticism a la Heathers.

  • Jerryskids||

    Are you sure the outrage is over the fat-shaming as portrayed in the show rather than the fat-shaming displayed by Hollywood in hiring a fun-sized actress to play a bonus-sized character? You know, cis actresses are no longer allowed to play transgendered characters, why should a skinny one be allowed to portray a person of heft any more than a white actress would be allowed to portray a black woman?

    In totally unrelated news, a re-make of The Helen Keller Story has hit a snag in casting for the lead role.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Well, the character is no longer fat after the first episode it seems, so there are practical issues. It is much harder to make a heavy actress look skinny than it is to make a skinny woman look obese.

  • perlchpr||

    Yeah, I mean, how much worse would it be for Netflix to have hired some chubby actress, let her film the first episode, and then forced her to actually lose 50 pounds just to keep her job?

    That sounds like a much worse outcome.

    And then, if it worked, and the actress was no longer fat... does that mean that they couldn't release the show any more since they now had a skinny actress playing a fat girl?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Well, no, they'd have a fat actress portraying a fat girl, and a formerly fat actress portraying a formerly fat girl. But unless they managed to find an actress whose name was Patty, they still wouldn't be clear.

  • Radioactive||

    how about if it was a formally obese guy named Pat who identified as a non-fat girl named Patty?

  • CE||

    And there's the whole problem finding an actress who had her jaw broken.

  • ||

    Hollywood in hiring a fun-sized actress to play a bonus-sized character?

    While I (obviously) haven't seen the show. Last time I saw Debby Ryan, while still tasty, she was closer to regular size than fun-sized.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    This is why the remake of ET got cancelled.

  • Microaggressor||

    "and causing a devastation of self-doubt in the minds of young girls who will think that to be happy and be worthy, they need to lose weight."

    So you want to keep them ignorant of the reality that being fat is a miserable existence. How benevolent of you. Oh wait, it's not about young girls making informed decisions. It's about protecting the feelings of those who have already had their chance and failed at life.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    It isn't even about THTA. It's about virtue signaling; about the only thing the Progressive Left is any good air.

  • Devastator||

    I know plenty fat people who are happy. I also know plenty people who are skinny living in their own miserable world of projecting their miserable existence on fat people

  • Number 2||

    Isn't it about time to outgrow high school already?

  • LynchPin1477||

    That sounds like a BS premise

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    all over a very misguided belief that the show revolved around fat-shaming. It does not.

    Well now I don't want to watch it.

  • Brandybuck||

    ""Three months of liquid diet later, Fatty Patty is Hottie Patty...""

    ... with rolls of loose skin where the fat used to be. One can lose weight with a liquid diet, but one cannot get a toned body without exercise, and getting rid of that loose skin is even more difficult. And don't even get me started on the stretch marks that will spoil her bikini wearing.

    Not shaming the fatties, but this whole premise just doesn't hold water.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "hold water"... I see what you done there.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Make sure you add that to the Goofs section on imdb. No one else would know otherwise.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    To be fair, that sort of thing works out better the younger you are. Now, I'm 59, if I manage to shed *my* excess weight, I'll end up looking like the Michelin Man got a puncture. In high school? I could, and did, lose a lot of weight without ending up with loose skin.

    And you're not going to get rid of an outrageous amount of fat in 3 months without intensive exercise, too. A liquid diet isn't going to take you from "Fatty" to "Hottie" in 90 days by itself.

  • The Last American Hero||

    You also can't become a martial arts master in 3 months, even if you study with an old Chinese guy.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    IIRC, that was actually a plot element in one of the later Karate Kid movies: He runs into somebody who knows the counter to the one hotshot move he'd been taught, and gets beaten.

  • Árboles de la Barranca||

    Wow. Sounds like a can't miss. I'm sure I'll get around to not watching this one.

  • kevrob||

    I liked this TV movie when it starred a young Stockard Channing.

    I thank the ghod Disney for filling the Lohan-sized hole in our pop culture firmament with the toothsome redhead that is Debby Ryan. Like many another DizChan graduate (Ariana Grande, Dove Cameron) DR has a sitcom background, in addition to whatever talents she may have.

    Unfortunate choice of title for anyone who was over 18 in the 1970s, though.

  • kevrob||

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

    The_Girl_Most_Likely_to...

    ...is what I was going for.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    But Patty's not the only one bearing homicidal grudges.

    ... oh, never mind. ;)

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Finally, we have a TV series that shows the perspective of a school shooter in a positive light.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    So here I sit trying to figure out why I would (but would never) want to watch this when I could (but won't) watch Shallow Hal, or Mama June From Not to Hot, or Dietland. Never mind: none have or can improve on Carrie

  • kevrob||

    ....and yet, Carrie was re-made a few years ago. The idea-less cannot keep from leaving well-enough, let alone near-perfection, alone. It made back more than its budget, so, they count it a win, I guess.

  • mpercy||

    I'm pretty sure that's "hoo-hoo".

    A Ho-Ho is a delicious snack cake!

  • Echospinner||

    IDK I like dark comedy and Dexter was pretty good. Might give it a try.

  • Longtobefree||

    Can we start a change.org petition to get change.org shut down?

  • HenryC||

    I am neither outraged or interested in watching in the least. I do agree people getting up in arms before they see it is usually a bad idea.

  • Devastator||

    It's basically a mean girls tv series, and it's pretty good. The reactionary fuckers who haven't seen it based their opinion on a 2 minute trailer show exactly how shallow, reactionary, and ludicrous their empty existences are.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    More than 200,000 people have already signed a Change.org petition to cancel the Netflix comedy Insatiable before a single frame of it has aired need to get a fucking life.

  • Emily W||

    I honestly am looking forward to watching this show. There is no difference in this and "13 Reasons Why" (which is totally off base from the book). No one said that show was shaming anything. Even though it was justifying suicide, which is way more harmful to viewers than "fat shaming".

  • majil||

    More and more Shows by Netflix suck petrified pony peter .
    I canceled the sucker.,

  • Rockabilly||

    The progtards will eat their own and I'll eat popcorn while they do it.

    This is very entertaining.

  • Lloyd Clucas||

    And, of course, they DO need to lose the surplus weight -- until about 80; older folks do a bit better with a few extra pounds. But at the teen and 20s level, obesity is immensely destructive to health. To say otherwise is PC obscenity.

    That said, running around ragging some poor kid in high school about a few extra pounds is cruel and undesirable.

    But, in High School, if it isn't fat, it will be something else. Reread Lord of the Flies if you don't understand what is involved.

    And then calm down.

    If the article is close to accurate, there is simply nothing here to talk about -- nor emote about.

  • vek||

    Making active fun of fat people to their face is mean... But everybody knows being fat is not cool or desirable. And it is ultimately bad for your health.

    The fact is that because everybody knows it is not cool, lots of people make effort to NOT become fat... Which is good. Trying to encourage people to be okay with being fat is a horrible idea. I myself will never allow myself to become fat, for health reasons, but also because I just don't want to look like shit... If everybody else REALLY didn't care if I was a big fat lard I might just start eating 5 pounds of bacon a day...

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