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Is new Netflix show Insatiable really homophobic, biphobic and fat-shaming?

Is new Netflix show Insatiable really homophobic, biphobic and fat-shaming?

A promotional shot for Instatiable featuring Kimmy Shields and Debby Ryan.

Insatiable premiered on Netflix on 10 August. Ever since it first aired, it caused a stir due to its alleged anti-LGBTI humor and fat-shaming jokes.

People have, in fact, started an online petition to ask the streaming giant not to renew the show for a second season.

The plot of Insatiable

The protagonist is Disney Channel alumna Debby Ryan. She portrays Patty Bladell, an overweight teenager who experienced discrimination for her appearance. After a three-month liquid diet, the now thin Patty returns to high school seeking revenge.

The series also stars Kimmy Shields as Nonnie, Patty’s only best friend who is secretly in love with her. Popular and Ugly Betty’s Christopher Gorham and Charmed’s Alyssa Milano also joined the cast.

The controversy

Viewers and critics alike complained about the show’s fat-shaming attitude.

Many highlighted that as soon as she gets thin, Patty starts using her body as a weapon trying to seduce an older man.

https://twitter.com/chaoticxbliss/status/1028485965898235904

‘I lost 70 pounds. So now it’s my turn to get the guy,’ Patty says.

The actress also wears a fatsuit during flashbacks, which some have found insulting.

People fear that the show’s fat-shaming might trigger those with eating disorders. At the moment of writing, more than 230,000 have signed the petition prompting Netflix to cancel the show.

The pilot for the show also contains a rape joke.

‘He’s a child molester,’ Nonnie points out.

‘Which means I might actually have a shot,’ Patty replies.

‘Thought I’d give Insatiable a chance and… uh… yeah, I’m out,’ one viewer wrote.

The show says bisexuals ‘don’t exist’

Insatiable makes several homophobic and biphobic references across the twelve episodes.

‘Turns out fat-shaming wasn’t the only problem with this show. Hundreds of articles have been written today upon it’s [sic] release, expressing themes of false sexual assault allegations, jokes about sexuality, race, and molestation,’ a user wrote on change.org.

After sending a nude, a girl shows regret over being perceived as a lesbian.

‘I just figured everyone would think I’m a slut. Now they think I’m a lesbian and that’s way worse,’ Dixie says.

Irene Choi as Dixie Sinclair in a scene of Insatiable.
Dixie Sinclair in a scene of Insatiable. | Photo: Netflix

On the other hand, the show includes a lesbian, black character, played by Ashley D. Kelley.

Nonetheless, NPR compared her character to a ‘fat, black, lesbian fairy godmother who exists only to educate thin white girls on how to live their best lives’.

The series has also been criticized for equating bisexuals to demons and aliens as they all ‘don’t exist’.

While biphobia seemed to be a cheap comedy trick on TV shows from the 90s and 00s – Friends anyone? – some viewers believe this kind of references are outdated and didn’t fit in a contemporary TV show.

Fans are calling for a renewal

Despite harsh criticism, Insatiable has already won the hearts of a solid fanbase. Some claim the show’s satire has been misunderstood.

‘unpopular opinion: insatiable actually is hilarious and body positive and LGBT+ inclusive and every thread I have seen against the show by people who have actually watched it clearly don’t understand the heavy satire used to convey this,’ one user wrote.

Alyssa Milano, one of those who sparked the conversation around #MeToo in the aftermath of Harvey Weinstein’s scandal, also defended the show publicly.

‘Any time people start a conversation about social issues it’s a good thing,’ she told E! News.

‘Obviously, people are already having that conversation, which I think is a good thing. But I do think there’s lots more for them to be upset about and I look forward to those conversations as well.’

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