When the trailer for Netflix’s “Insatiable” hit the internet, the internet hit back. The overwhelming narrative of the coverage was “This show is fat shaming, and glorifies eating disorders.” It got to the point where Alyssa Milano, its most high profile star, had to come to its defense, claiming that the show is “addressing (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat shaming.”
I don’t know if Lauren Gussis was herself fat, but if she was, and was also shamed for it then I understand how this show is about the damage fat shaming does to someone, because oh boy does this show hate fat people. People have focused on the jokes about fat people, and the misguided attempts at encouraging the once-fat main character to see her own inner beauty that actually still just seem to be pushing the idea that being fat is no bueno*. It might be easier for them to claim the “it’s all satire!” defense if the show actually featured any actors who were, y’know, fat, but it sadly does not. It is bizarre to me that no one thought this might be an issue, since it makes the casting of the show seem like it went a little like this…
[REMEMBER TO INSERT A SHORT BUT HILARIOUS SCRIPT HERE, IN WHICH THE SHOW’S CREATOR BOASTS TO THEIR CASTING DIRECTOR ABOUT WHAT A POSITIVE MESSAGE THEIR SHOW WILL SEND ABOUT BODY IMAGE, ONLY TO THEN BE DISGUSTED BY THE IDEA OF ACTUALLY CASTING PEOPLE WHO DON’T ALL HAVE THE KIND OF BODY YOU’RE USED TO SEEING ON TV.]
However if we’re being honest about all of this, these things wouldn’t be an issue if the show were good. It’s similar to the way people used to point out that we SHOULD be offended by Sofia Vergara’s Modern Family character. but she was funny, and the show was funny, and the show also clearly liked the character so we were all like “ha ha, who gives a shit.” This show however, is bad. Astoundingly bad. The jokes are not only desperate, but also rushed with absolutely no room to breath, as if the editor was thinking “Fuck, this joke sucks, I’ll just move on from it as quickly as possible so that people won’t notice” (they were half right.) There’s been so much focus on how offensive people find the jokes, but that is not necessarily inherently bad; some people want television that is deeply offensive. You can be incredibly tasteless and transgressive, but if your jokes are just the same kinds of fat jokes we’ve seen a million times, not to mention the laziest incarnation of a false rape accusation-as comedy I’ve maybe ever seen, people are going to be pissed off because it’s literally indefensible. On top of all that, the show also indulges in my most hated quality in a comedy, the dreaded “unearned schmaltz” (aka the Adam Sandler Special.) Like, how fucking dare you expect me to care about characters that you have previously shown nothing but contempt for! Sir, how dare you sir! Imagine if the Coen Brothers dared end their movies with some kind of heart warming nonsense: YOU’D BE LIVIND**!
In conclusion, this show doesn’t even have the courage to be offensive. Go for it or don’t, but don’t try to strike some sort of insincere middle ground, ‘for THAT’S THE MOST OFFENSIVE THING OF ALL!!!
*“no bueno” is of course Spanish for “nicht gut”
**The extra “N” stands for “Not happy about it”
DISCLAIMER: None of this is proofread and either Medium itself or my browser is fucked up and not recognizing all of my keystrokes, so don’t blame me for any typos. I don’t have the time, you needy assholes.