Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Insatiable Scene That People Think Went Too Far

Netflix has courted controversy with shows and films like "13 Reasons Why" and "Cuties", but their black comedy "Insatiable" really took the cake.

The 2018 show starred former Disney star Debby Ryan as Patty Bladell, an overweight teen forced on a liquid diet after getting punched in the face. Now thin and stereotypically beautiful, Patty seeks revenge for how she was bullied and mistreated — catching the eye of corrupt lawyer and beauty pageant coach Bob Armstrong (Dallas Roberts). Bob sets out to turn Patty into a real beauty queen, but her need for vengeance leads to betrayal, murder, and plenty of other awful behavior.

When "Insatiable" premiered, dissections of how the show promoted fatphobia and harmful depictions of weight loss appeared in the media. However, "Insatiable" turned out to be an equal opportunity offender. Roxane Gay's analysis describes how "the writers of Insatiable have never met a stereotype they don't love, whether they're portraying fatness or queerness or Blackness or pretty much anything else. Every lame, insulting fat joke or trope you can imagine makes its way into every episode."

One scene in the first season especially stands out as incredibly offensive and demeaning to the subjects it means to "celebrate."

This Season 1 scene is insulting and inaccurate

In Season 1's fifth episode, a transgender girl named Julie (Michelle Hendley) tells Patty how uncomfortable she still feels in her own body, even after she transitioned. Patty explains that she "used to be fat," and the two bond and give each other pep talks about loving their bodies. Both then show off their bikinis in public — if only for a few minutes.

While the scene is supposedly about loving your body, it's not only rooted in a fatphobic, inaccurate idea of weight loss as inherently good, but the show believes Patty's obesity and problems with binge eating are one and the same. It feigns body positivity while implying that Patty and Julie were right to wait until they had the "correct" bodies before showing them off.

Julie is also never seen again on the show, only existing for Patty. The comparison between the trans experience and Patty's self-loathing is ultimately debasing and offensive; as one site points out, "there is no discussion of the difficulties of transitioning or of gender identity." The writers of "Insatiable" use the struggles of an LGBT character to help a straight woman show off her body, and then they discard her.

In the end, "Insatiable" only ran for two seasons before getting axed, though the company has not commented on the reason for its cancellation. The controversy and negative press likely didn't help matters. If you want to see what the fuss is about for yourself, the show is still streaming on Netflix.