Molly Atchison | Editor-in-Chief
In early August, a petition demanding that the new Netflix show “Insatiable” be taken down was bouncing around on Change.org. The petition began before the show came out, and was solely based on the trailer, which gave a pretty cursory view of the show’s plot: an overweight girl gets her jaw broken, goes on a liquid diet for about four months and loses 70 lbs. From only watching the trailer, it definitely seems like a stretch — the concept seems far too dark for it to be entertaining, and the level to which the main character Patty’s body image issues play into the plot was what led many to deem the show “fat-shaming and unhealthy”.
This show is so much more than a dark comedy. It’s a satire that takes difficult subjects and makes them relatable to multiple audiences. Insatiable is funny, edgy and well-filmed, and its characters are over-the-top but still believable. So although the preview was admittedly misleading and it is understandable why people were riled up by the trailer, Insatiable is worth the watch. It is easy to get sucked in to the melodrama that is Patty Bladell (Played by the multifaceted Debby Ryan) and her high school life. Sure, the actors don’t necessarily look like high schoolers, but the script and the storyline are designed so Patty’s actions and attitude portray the mentality of a hormonal, anger-filled teenage girl. Patty Bladell is unbelievable, but that’s the point. Satire works best in extremes, and the writers balanced the extremes well with relatable moments so that while sometimes we seriously question the character’s life choices, we can see and understand the reasons behind them.
The biggest point of contention with this show is the portrayal of Patty as a girl with binge eating disorder, and her negative, vengeful attitude when she loses weight. As triggering as the trailer looked to some who have struggled with eating disorders, after watching the show, it’s clear that the writers and director of the show understand the struggle that people with eating disorders and body dysmorphia face every day.
Interested parties need to understand that the trailer does not depict the entire show. Throughout the teen drama, Patty waffles back and forth with her self identity. Some days, she is confident and feels like she’s on top of the world in her new body. Other days, she looks at herself and sees the same overweight girl she’s always been. The underlying moral of the show is that you can change yourself on the outside, but your internal view of yourself is much more difficult to change. As someone who has struggled with body image issues for much of my adolescence, I could relate to Patty on a spiritual level. I looked past the melodramatic acts and the ridiculous tropes that the show plays out, and I saw myself at 16 — struggling with major changes to my body and all of the emotional highs and lows that go along with them. Yes, Patty’s story is ridiculous and unbelievable, but Patty’s feelings are all too real for many, many people.
There are so many other subplots in this show that people can relate to: Kids feeling unwanted by busy and distant parents, adults struggling to cope with changes to their marriage, people confronting issues like sexuality, depression and acceptance. This show has the same plotlines that other beloved teen dramas such as “90210” and “The Fosters” do, it just portrays these themes in a very different way. “Insatiable” may not be your cup of tea; perhaps you need something more straightforward, less cheesy and over-the-top, and with a few less plot twists. But just like you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, “Insatiable” cannot be judged by its trailer alone.