INSATIABLE: A FAT GIRL’S CRITIQUE

Image Source: IMDB

If I had planned to unveil my new website today, I hadn’t planned on publishing a new blogpost on top of it. But here I am, talking about the same thing people have been talking about for the last three days: Netflix’s new series, Insatiable.

Like a lot of you, probably, I heard about it before I even saw the trailer… and the first thing I heard was that people were super offended. So I watched the trailer and you know what?

I found it hilarious!

I had high hopes for this show. I really did. I’m one of those who wasn’t offended by what I saw, quite the contrary actually.

So I binge-watched the whole thing this weekend. Mostly because I was really tired and couldn’t do much of anything but watch TV and walk the dog when he needed to go potty. I watched most of it on Sunday (yesterday). I even made pancakes to watch it while stuffing my face with syrupy goodness.

I thought it’d be a nice touch, you know?

Now, if you haven’t seen it and would rather not be spoiled, you might wanna stop reading now. I mean it: Don’t click on the “read more” link if you don’t want spoilers. 

All right… now that you’ve been properly warned, let me tell you how me, a lifelong fat girl, reacted to the show.

First of all, I was hoping for something in the likes of 1988’s Heathers, with Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. You talk to me about someone being bullied and seeking revenge? That’s the kind of stuff I’m hoping for. Or, at the very least, we could have been treated to the same type of wit and violence that the Scream Queens TV series gave us a couple of years ago.

What I was hoping for was some kind of satire, a clever parody. And even though I think they really wanted to do that, I feel that there was too much restraint for it to be effective. Would they have been even more outlandish, it would have worked better, in my opinion. And, because of that, a lot of what they tried to convey fell flat.

I think it didn’t help that they threw “lessons” into the mix. If I wanted life lessons, I’d be watching something like The Fosters(Don’t worry, I’m not dissing the show… I really do like it.)

This being said, I would be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate it at all. I laughed quite a bit. Did I laugh at inappropriate jokes? I guess I did, yeah! I wouldn’t be the first time, and it probably won’t be the last. I think I can have a weird sense of humor sometimes. I like dark stuff, and mostly, I like to laugh about things that aren’t funny. Like me having Multiple Sclerosis, per example. It’s not exactly funny, but it certainly beats being bummed about it.

As I watched the show, I was curious to see if people that had actually seen it would have had nicer things to say. Apparently not… and although I can agree with some stuff I read,  this critique just didn’t sit well with me on some points.

Don’t know if I disagree because I’m dumb, or because I just don’t bother getting offended by everything. (I will get offended by stuff, I’m no better than anyone else… I just think there are actual real-life stuff to be even more offended about.)

As far as entertainment goes, what will offend me is bad acting, crappy scenarios, or cheap productions (that’s some kind of lie… I can appreciate that stuff too at times… it’s funny, what can I say).

Anyway, from that article, one point in particular didn’t sit well with me. It’s about Dixie’s (Irene Choi) teeth having been filed into fangs and explained on the show as being “what Asians do”, and how racist that was. I honestly haven’t heard anyone say that on the show (again, could have missed it, but if that’s the case, it is racist and not cool). But we’re talking about beauty pageant contestants: teeth need to be filed to have veneers. (Jeffree Star also had his teeth filed into fangs to for that very purpose. Is it always fangs? I don’t know… I choose to believe that it is ’cause it’s really badass!)

And the alleged fat shaming. This is what gets me the most. Because, yeah… there is fat shaming… from the bullies. In no way shape or form is this show promoting the fact that being fat is disgusting. And okay, the phrase “Skinny Is Magic” is said quite a bit… not only is it something I believe most fat people will think at some point, but I’m certain it’s also meant to be sarcastic. Because skinny is all but magic… shit hits the fan on a regular basis. Patty (Debby Ryan) constantly makes bad decisions and is “living” proof that skinny ISN’T magic.

In other words, skinny doesn’t make everything right, and it doesn’t make anyone less dumb. And I do think the show conveys this nicely enough. And you know what? In real life, being skinny (or just normal thin) can sometimes make things easier on a number of occasion. First impressions alone… overweight people might often have to work a little bit harder not to be dismissed because of their outward appearance. Same for those who aren’t that good looking.

As a fat person myself, I can tell you that I don’t need a TV show to be told I’m “disgusting”. People in all walks of life will have shown it over the course of my life, if they don’t just didn’t go and say it outloud. I’ve had my own parents say it numerous times as I was growing up.

Not in those very terms of course, but I was led to believe not being skinny was something to be ashamed of. It became the reason people would hang out with, only so they would look better. It meant that I’d end up marrying the first guy that would look my way because it wouldn’t happen often enough.

And yes, I’m still struggling with all of that self-confidence crap to this day. Does it mean I should be offended by a television show daring to have its plot revolved around an overweight girl that’s “magically” thin and wants revenge on her bullies? Maybe, but mostly I know a mere three months on a liquid diet wouldn’t make a fat person be perfectly thin and toned.

IT’S FICTION.

IT’S COMEDY.

IT’S TELEVISION.

What I think they should have done is go even further than they did in order to not be taken too seriously. Even though I know some people LOVE to be outraged, while others don’t really get sarcasm. Some people might not even like sarcasm.

This is not me shaming the people that don’t have the same opinion I do about the show. I’m only acknowledging that not everyone has the same sensitivities or the same sense of humor. Hey… some people don’t even have a sense of humor. Which is fine… I guess. I do find the idea a bit sad, I won’t lie.

What I do believe is that people should try to see something before going crazy over it. I mean… I HATED the Fifty Shades of Grey books, but I didn’t say shit about it before I had actually read them.

This whole outrage thing makes me wonder about something, though. What if Patty hadn’t been fat? What if she had been bullied over a set of crooked teeth, only to come back with a million dollar smile? Would that have been okay? Or should she have had a humongous nose and come back after having it fixed? What about if she had been dirt poor and had won the lottery?

And no… I’m not saying that having crooked teeth is bad, or that having a big nose is bad. (My teeth aren’t straight and I do like noses with a bit of character.) Same with not being rich… I certainly am not. But kids in school can certainly be bullied over that, this isn’t news to anyone.

I’m not advocating for bullying here, I’m just saying that would this show have been done or not, bullying exists. Not only are bigger people often bullied, anyone can get badly treated for any type of reason. Kids are cruel, they’ll latch onto anything that’s remotely different from their own reality and pick at it.

This guy looks gay, this girl is too tall, that guy is too skinny, that girl has acne, this dude still lives with his mother, this chick’s a slut, this man isn’t successful enough, he’s a slacker, this woman is too successful, she must have slept her way to the top.

Anything goes, and not just in the schoolyard either.

Everyone in that show has “something wrong”, something that they’re either ashamed of or that sets them apart from the herd. Alyssa Milano’s character, Coralee Armstrong, can’t fathom the idea of anyone knowing she’s from a “trailer park”. Her husband Bob Armstrong, played by Dallas Roberts, is a walking and talking gay stereotype.

Speaking of Bob Armstrong… I would have LOVED for him to NOT be gay (or even bisexual, as he eventually identifies himself). Not because I have anything against either, but because I would have loved the stereotype to be WRONG.

Who cares if the man loves shoes, and clothes, and pageants, and acts a little bit like a precious princess? Having him be a heterosexual man would have been a better way to counter said stereotypes. But it didn’t happen that way… oh well.

Another thing the article above spoke against (I would agree if it was the case) is how we’re supposed to be laughing at Nonnie (Kimmie Shields) having a very blatant crush Patty, her best friend. Would it have been funnier to have a guy friend crush on her instead? Like… oh, I don’t know, Choi (Daniel Kang), who then has a crush on the gay girl or on the only other asian girl (they do make fun of that, which I loved)? I mean, we’re talking about hormonal teenagers here. They’re awkward, confused… they’re teens!

This show is filled to the brim with stereotypes, I won’t deny it. Except I do believe they’re mostly there to be pointed at and mocked, to some extent. As I said, I would have preferred for some of them to be somewhat debunked, but I think it wouldn’t have worked either. Pretty sure that if Bob Armstrong hadn’t returned Bob Barnard’s (Christopher Gorham) advances, the show would have then been accused of queer baiting, or gay erasure.

Like I will probably be accused of bi erasure from my desire for Bob Armstrong to not be gay at all. Which is not the case. I’m actually glad he’s bi, I just think he didn’t have to be “stereotypically gay” on top of it. It cheapens the idea, in my opinion. Other than that, I’m glad there’s a bi character, and I’m glad he doesn’t let “Hot Bob” tell him he’s in a phase, that he’ll eventually accept the fact that he’s 100% gay.

(That’s another thing I’m glad they touched, if only for a second, how bisexual people are often dismissed, not only by straight people but by gays too… I know… had a gay friend who refused to believe bisexuality was a thing, something I disagreed with wholeheartedly.)

Anyway…

If there’s a second season, they BETTER NOT be making Bob Armstrong realize that indeed, he’d been refusing to accept himself as a gay man. He’s bi, and that’s beautiful. If they do this, I swear, I’m flippin’ a table!

Overall, I thought the show had interesting things to say, even though many times, they seemed to be testing the waters on some stuff, only to back off. As if they got scared or something. At least, Patty seems to be consistently getting worse instead of learning valuable life lessons. And this, I totally can appreciate.

She makes shit decisions and she’s not that nice, which is a relief in itself. I didn’t sign up to watch people being nice. Or politically correct. Or even being decent.

With the way the first season ended, I have to admit that I’m hoping there’s gonna be a second one, but only if they stop being all fidgety and actually go the extra mile.

Gimme violence. Gimme offensive. Gimme obnoxious.

Gimme a true revenge fantasy!

Partagez moi! / Share Me!

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