A scene from Insatiable.
Photo: Tina Rowden/Netflix
Netflix’s new show Insatiable is about a cruelly bullied high-school girl, “fatty Patty,” who — and this is true — gets her jaw wired shut after being punched by a homeless man who she first punched because he tried to steal her candy bar, and suddenly sheds 70 pounds in three months. When she gets back to school, all of her peers treat her differently because she’s skinny, and hijinks ensue. The show has been described as, among other things, “an utter disaster,” “obscenely cruel and terminally dull,” “an offensive mess,” and “hollow, harmful, and hateful.”
Shortly after its trailer premiered last month, over 200,000 people signed a Change.org petition to cancel the show because of its perceived fat-shaming plotline. “This series will cause eating disorders, and perpetuate the further objectification of women’s bodies. The trailer has already triggered people with eating disorders. Let’s stop this, and protect further damage,” the petition read.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Insatiable’s creator, Lauren Gussis — who told THR that she has struggled with “every single one” of the issues presented on the show — said she thought the backlash to show bordered on censorship.
When asked about her choice to include so much fat-shaming language in the show, Gussis replied, “That’s the reality of what still happens. There’s a lot of people in this country who are evolved. But I know that my experience was that there are still people in the world who think that stuff is OK. To portray those people who actually exist in the world, is real. I think we’re in a real danger of censorship if we decide that we all have to tell stories in a certain way so that everybody else feels safe. In my own experience, growth comes from discomfort and pain.”
Gussis did not go on to explain why the “discomfort and pain” that is already constantly and systematically inflicted upon people with fat bodies is not enough for “experience” and “growth.”