23rd Jul2018

Opinionated: Show-Shaming… Netflix’s ‘Insatiable’

by Nathan Favel


There is a new television show coming to Netflix called Insatiable, which stars Debby Ryan of Disney Channel fame. The show is about an obese teenager who loses her excess weight after suffering an accident that forces her mouth to be wired shut for several months, which prevents her from eating excessively. When the teenager returns to school, she now has a svelte figure that gets her more attention, but also seems to draw her ire for some reason that causes her to pursue revenge on the students who did not care about her when she was fat. My description of the premise is vague in certain points, because Insatiable has actually not debuted yet, but this has not stopped certain people from having a definite opinion of it… and a negative one at that.

At the center of Insatiable’s critical onslaught is a woman named Kate Lopez, who believes the show is “fat-shaming”, which is when people insult other people for being fat (why not just call it insulting instead of the pretentious phrase). Kate thinks that, and I’m a bit baffled she said this, that by not allowing Debby’s character, who I believe is named Patty, to not seek revenge while fat instead is depriving fat people of their right to hate those who have oppressed them. Kate also feels that it’s worth mentioning that fat people can be successful and fat, happy and fat, with any other combination of (insert here) and fat you can think of. Before I go any further though, I should be a it candid about me… I’m obese.

Actually, I weigh about 270 pounds, but I exercise each day, walking about 6 – 8 miles a day, although it’s often 10 – 12 miles. I also lift weights (not well, at least in the past month). I don’t look like a fat guy (except for the stomach) and I have a good foundation of muscles beneath my lard-ass exterior. I do get to mention that I was around 160 – 170 pounds until about a year and a half ago, when I went on a donut binge that, when combined with ice cream and pizza rolls (pizza rolls and glazed donuts are Thanksgiving dinner in certain parts of my dining room table) made me obese again, albeit with a slimmer figure than when I was a teenager. I also should mention the donut shop, named the Brough Bakery, won a local television award for “Best Bakery in Mid-Michigan”, so I have award-winning fat jiggling in my veins. My metabolism is one part obese and another part athletic, so I’m lucky enough to be able to use exercise to lose weight faster, but still not as fast as I would like. I can say, that as a fat person, I’ve never really taken umbrage to anyone having a certain disdain for sex or romance with an obese person, because gluttony is not very attractive and obesity doesn’t come along from moderation, at least not in most cases. I don’t feel the need to remind anyone that fat people need respect, because once you leave high school, you find that most people learn that lesson on their own.

The woman that wrote Insatiable is fat and claimed she wrote the show as a way of discussing how fat people should not be afraid to be who they are, and that includes being obese. Kate Lopez who, like all of us, has not actually seen this show yet, has chosen to judge it before it can arrive to introduce itself. Isn’t that the kind of treatment that fat people always live in fear of? When I was a kid (28 isn’t very far from being a kid, but the IRS would say other-wise), I would occasionally get the impression that people had been warned of my weight beforehand, just so they could reinforce the floorboards as a means of protecting them from collapsing. When you look like the elephant in the room, you pray a stampede comes through just so you don’t get noticed by the ivory hunters. Kate, and many others, have chosen to make an negative assumption about a show that could be progressive in its views on sexuality, race, gender and weight, and these people may have killed the show before it has a chance to state its case. We should not rush to judgement on any-one or any-thing, because we never know what is going to happen until it does.

I’m willing to give Insatiable a chance, just like many people are willing to give an obese person a chance to be seen as something more than just a U-haul with legs.


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