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Unsuccessful satire abounds in ‘Insatiable’

| Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Ruby Le | The Observer

Like many other college students around the country this time of the semester, I found myself procrastinating on the pile of work I had to do. Instead of reading my Theology assignment or finishing my math homework, I pulled up the familiar comfort of Netflix on my computer and bundled up in a blanket on my bed. Scrolling through Netflix in search of something interesting and entertaining to watch, I stumbled upon a new Netflix original “Insatiable,” and my curiosity forced me to press play. This led to five episodes watched over the period of a week, before I gave in and accepted that the show is frankly terrible and almost painful to watch.

“Insatiable” explores the life of a young girl, Patty Bladell (Debby Ryan), who was once obese but has now lost “the weight,” due to an altercation with a homeless man. Patty is now hungry for revenge on her bullies, no matter what it takes. Though its creators claim the series is a satire, it is entirely riddled with issues ranging from poorly portrayed stereotypes to negative coverage of relevant social issues.

For starters, the depiction of extremely negative body-imaging throughout the series hits home for many young women today. The portrayal of Patty Bladell as angry, negative and having an extreme hatred for her body only helps nourish the negative mindset surrounding young women’s bodies in today’s society. It fosters the idea that if you aren’t model-thin, your life can’t be happy and full. Though it is unfortunately true that the overweight youth of today often face bullying and torment from classmates, it is not true to say that larger or curvier women cannot love their bodies or live happy lives. Furthermore, instead of allowing the newly skinny Bladell to simply be happy and, for lack of better words, to kill her bullies with kindness, the creators decided to make her intent on revenge. Often her revenge attempts are violent and deeply twisted, including an attempt to set a sleeping man on fire.

The series also tackles increasingly relevant topics, such as sexual assault and homophobia. Much like the damaging attempt at satirizing fat shaming, the creators entirely missed the mark on these two topics. Instead of creating satire, the writers seem to have created a narrative bashing every topic of controversy and relevance in today’s society, making a complete mockery of the victims of these issues by misplacing these topics in humorous situations. The show is, simply put, a disgrace and a tragic attempt at satire writing.

Satire is an extremely difficult type of writing to master and can come across very wrong when done poorly, as evidenced by “Insatiable.” The writers of this show should have taken a second look at the script before pushing it to production. The presentation of such controversial and difficult topics comes across more as a tragic attempt at a comedic representation than a true satire, and it seems as though I’m not the only one that feels this way. The show received a measly 11 percent and one star on Rotten Tomatoes, along with a mass of seething reviews. Even the original trailer received much controversial feedback, and many thought the show’s release would be canceled. Ultimately, “Insatiable” is a terrible satirization of topics which should be handled with extreme care, as well as a failure to show the true importance of issues such as homophobia, sexual assault and fat-shaming. Despite the unfavorable reactions to the first season of the series, a second season has been announced and is in the process of production. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ll be making it through the rest of season one, much less an additional season of such an unsuccessful satire.

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