Critics on Netflix's 'Revenge Comedy': Shut It Down

Some say 'Insatiable,' about a once-overweight teen, engages in 'body shaming'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2018 9:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – The trailer for a new Netflix show dropped last week, but instead of generating excitement, it has spurred a petition calling for the show's cancellation. More than 113,000 people have signed the Change.org appeal to nix Insatiable, starring Disney Channel darling Debby Ryan as a once-obese teen, Patty, who drops pounds and then seeks to get back at those who used to treat her badly, per the BBC. However, critics want the show—which Netflix describes as a "dark, twisted revenge comedy"—off the schedule before its Aug. 10 premiere, claiming that it's "body shaming" overweight girls. "For so long, the narrative has told women and young impressionable girls that in order to be popular, have friends, to be desirable for the male gaze, and to some extent be a worthy human … that we must be thin," the petition reads.

It adds the show will cause a "devastation of self-doubt in the minds of young girls" and may lead to eating disorders. Per Refinery29, the show's stars say critics are misinterpreting its message. "We are not shaming Patty," co-star Alyssa Milano tweeted. "We are addressing (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat shaming." Ryan also posted a statement on social media, saying she's struggled with her own body image and that the show employs "satire" to deal with such issues. "Satire is a way to poke fun at the hardest things … and enter difficult conversations," she wrote. "We're not in the business of fat shaming. We're out to turn a sharp eye on broken, harmful systems that equate thinness with worth." Meanwhile, Kelly deVos writes for Salon: "I am a fat woman and I love revenge stories. ... What I can't have in real life, I can experience [through] books, films, and television." (Another Netflix show generated a much-hyped petition.)

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