Exclusive: Cast of Netflix's 'Insatiable' defend the show, say fat-shaming allegations are absurd
The cast claims Insatiable is a fun show that's not fat-shaming. They agree there's a conversation to be had, but want the audience to give it a chance
Netflix's new original series Insatiable starts streaming on Friday (August 10), but weeks before the show launched, it was met with harsh criticism and social media campaigns calling for its cancellation. The objection stemmed from the trailer and the comedy's premise: a teenaged girl named Patty (Debby Ryan) who is overweight and bullied, but when she has her jaw wired shut she drops the extra pounds and becomes a beauty queen who seeks revenge on everyone who was ever mean to her. Many claimed 'Insatiable" fat-shamed, although nobody had actually seen the show.
The creator, Lauren Gussis, and the cast are defending the series and exclusively talked to Meaww at the Los Angeles premiere about the reaction it has received.
Alyssa Milano, 45, takes on the role of Coralee, the social-climbing wife of Bob (Dallas Roberts) who trains Patty for pageants. She explained why she loves 'Insatiable' and how she jumped at the chance to be part of the show. "It was a jewel amongst a lot of homogenized scripts that I had read during that pilot season and this is the one that stood out because it was so bold and different than everything else I had been reading."
She admitted she was shocked by the backlash and revealed how upsetting it’s been. "I was heartbroken a little bit because to me this was such a labor of love for all of us and we put so much of ourselves into it. So to have a response that wasn't anything but positive was hard. The irony was people were judging the show on a 1:28 seconds, when there are 12 more hours for people to absorb. That was not an easy week, I'll be honest."
Ryan was also surprised by the controversy.
“It was definitely unexpected, but I think it's a testament to how important it is that the conservations need to be had,” she told Meaww. “This sort of societal brokenness and this pressure can really mess people up, but also just a pressure and a hunger to look in so many different places and try to figure stuff out as you're growing. I hope people take away from the show that we're all human, we all cry, make mistakes, hurt the people that we love, and say the wrong thing. I think that all of these things are so universal and I hope the viewer can feel that.”
Kimmy Shields portrays Nonnie, Patty’s loyal best friend who the actress hopes will be relatable especially for the LGBTQ community. “I hope they see her and feel like ‘Oh my gosh there I am [represented].”
She also confessed that she wasn’t expecting the negative response to the trailer.
“I was surprised and a little but discouraged by the Internet. I think we're in a very strange time of sensitivity and Internet activism. I would challenge those who weren't big fans of the show based on the trailer to first watch the show and become fully educated on what the show is and what it represents.
"Second, if you want to be activists online, I would challenge you to get off the Internet and get out into the world to do something productive and positive about it because that's what we aim to do with the show. We want to be positive and productive about the things that used to control us to keep us afraid and angry. We were lucky enough to make a show out of it and I would challenge people to perhaps think the same and active."
While 'Insatiable' is intentionally over the top and outrageous, it does have elements of truth to the show that are based on the creator Lauren Gussis’s life.
“It’s based on real emotional experience that I had going through an eating disorder and being bullied and the journey of the emotional rage that came along with wanting to have my outsides look different. I thought that might make me feel better and understanding that that wasn't going to make me feel better. I think Patty became an avatar for all of that suppressed emotion, but this is not autobiographical,” she told us.
She added, “We touch on a lot of really sensitive issues and we're using comedy to bring all of this stuff up to the surface. I was surprised that people reacted to the trailer before they actually saw the show, but I wasn't surprised too because it's a sensitive issue to me and that's why I wanted to write it. So I have total compassion that people's buttons are getting pushed because I have the same buttons. I hope that they'll laugh and identify.”
Christopher Gorham explained his character as a “human peacock” who needs “insatiable attention” and also weighed in on the issue.
“I thought there was some irony to people who haven’t seen the show hating it so much, but I haven’t seen a lot of that in my life and my social media. It feels a bit like this is one of those examples of the social media world—not necessarily being an accurate representative of the real world.
"That being said, if there’s something about our show that makes you sensitive or uncomfortable, by all means Netflix has a lot of other things that you can watch and enjoy. For the rest of the world, give us a chance. There’s a lot to like."
And Arden Myrin expressed her views about it, encouraging everyone to see the show before making a discounting it.
“This is so fearless and so fun. I wanted to be part of it so badly. I was so surprised when the backlash happened. We're not filming in Atlanta thinking we can't wait for people to think we're bullying people. It's the opposite of what we thought we were making. I hope people will watch it and give it a chance. It's a fun show that's not fat shaming. Clearly I think there's a conversation to be had, but give it a chance.
It’s not trying to be the 'Crown'. It’s a naughty high school show, and as a lady I like the gals are showing flaws. The women are wild and have some parts that aren’t so nice. I think there’s not a lot of shows that let that happen. Why can’t girls be a little dark and have things that aren’t attractive about their personalities?”
To see for yourself what the controversy is about you can watch 'Insatiable' on Netflix beginning now.