Netflix is set to debut a new original series, Insatiable, on August 10. The show stars Debby Ryan as Patty, an overweight high-school student who loses weight following what appears to be an accident that requires her to jaw to be wired shut. Suddenly “hot,” Patty seeks revenge on her tormenters (if this sounds familiar, yes, this is the plot of dozens of teen movies). The show hasn’t debuted yet, but hundreds of thousands of people have already signed a Change.org petition demanding Netflix cancel the “body-shaming” show that “will cause eating disorders, and perpetuate the further objectification of women’s bodies.”
Netflix’s vice president of original programming, Cindy Holland, defended the series this week at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, saying: “Lauren Gussis, who is the creator, felt very strongly about exploring these issues based on her own experiences, but in a satirical, over-the-top way. Ultimately, the message of the show is that what is most important is that you feel comfortable in your own self. Fat-shaming itself, that criticism, is embedded in the DNA of the show.”
As of now, we have only a trailer and teaser for the show to analyze. Both focus more on Patty’s revenge than her pre-weight-loss shame; a short description of the show reads: “A bullied teenager turns to beauty pageants as a way to exact her revenge, with the help of a disgraced coach who soon realizes he’s in over his head.” Netflix bills it as a “coming of rage story.”
Until we can watch full episodes of the show to analyze its tone and specific portrayal of girls’ weight issues, The Takeout is going to reserve judgment. Come August 10, though, we’ll surely have Some Thoughts.