×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Insatiable’ Boss, Stars Stand by Show Amid Backlash: ‘It Really Comes From a Place of Compassion’

Netflix’s new teen pageant dramedy “Insatiable” came under a lot of fire from the public for “fat shaming” before it even launched on the streaming service. Yet series creator Lauren Gussis says the backlash to the marketing and the widely-circulated petition against the show did not deter Netflix’s confidence in the series.

“I talked to Netflix every single day and they never brought it up,” Gussis told Variety about potentially pulling the show before it premiered. “They were the most supportive and loving. The entire process they were very artist driven and understanding. They knew it was a satire and we discussed the issues going into it so that when the issues came up, we could poke the bear so people could talk about the them.”

The show, which was originally developed for the CW, landed at Netflix in June of 2017 after the broadcaster passed on taking the pilot to series. The show stars Debby Ryan as a bullied overweight teenager who loses over 70 pounds after having her jaw wired shut following an injury. After losing her weight, she becomes a high school beauty queen and seeks revenge on her tormentors.

At the premiere event for the show in Hollywood, Calif. Thursday, Gussis said it was important for her to use satire in the show to be able to connect with her audience about sensitive issues such as body-image shame and the underlying social politics of the high school experience.

“Being able to laugh means you’re in on the joke, which means you identify,” Gussis said. “That means people are going to be able to look at this and go, ‘I get that, and that means somebody else inherently gets me and I’m not alone, and I’m connected.'”

Ryan, who wore prosthetics during the show’s pilot to appear overweight, said she prepared for the role by listening to a podcast called “She’s All Fat,” which features two hosts discussing growing up with body positivity and struggling with personal shame at their physical appearance.

“It really comes from a place of compassion and it was such an eye-opening experience for me learning about things I could have never known,” Ryan said. “Just walking through the world with friends and people close to me with very intense and visible weight fluctuations and watching the difference in their treatment ignited a fire in me. The rage was a lot of preparation for me.”

Star Chris Gorham said it’s important for audience members to remember that “Insatiable” is a comedy and it’s meant to be laughed at. He encouraged people to watch the show before passing judgement.

“It’s a comedy at the end of the day, we want you to laugh,” Gorham said. “As big and as outlandish as these characters can be and as foolish their choices can be, they’re all based on real things and they all have holes inside of them to fill.”

More TV

  • Jason Sudeikis Apple

    Jason Sudeikis Sets Ted Lasso Comedy Series at Apple

    Jason Sudeikis is bringing his Ted Lasso character to Apple’s upcoming streaming service. Variety has learned that Apple TV Plus has given a series order to “Ted Lasso,” on which Sudeikis will star in addition to writing and executive producing. In the series, Sudeikis plays Lasso, an idealistic all-American football coach hired to manage an [...]

  • CENTRAL PARK FIVE

    Netflix and Ava DuVernay Sued by Police Interrogation Firm

    The company behind a controversial police interrogation technique filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Netflix and director Ava DuVernay, claiming that it was defamed in DuVernay’s miniseries on the Central Park jogger case. John E. Reid and Associates developed the Reid Technique in the late 1940s, and it has continued to offer training materials [...]

  • Noah Oppenheim

    NBCU Has Likely Succession Plan Set at NBC News

    NBC News President Noah Oppenheim has been battling Ronan Farrow in recent and disturbing headlines, but the executive remains the most likely candidate to succeed NBC News and MSNBC Chairman Andy Lack, according to people familiar with the matter. Lack, who has seen NBC News through one of its most tumultuous eras, has a contract [...]

  • Succession Season 2 Roman Gerri

    How 'Succession' Turned Rich-People Problems Into TV's Most Satisfying Drama (Column)

    It was only as the credits rolled on the Season 2 finale of “Succession” that I realized I was standing. At some point during the exhilarating final scene, I’d apparently leapt to my feet, radiating with the thrill of watching the last meticulously placed domino fall. It was startling to understand just how invested I’d [...]

  • '100% Wolf - Legend of the

    '100% Wolf - Legend of the Moonstone' Leads Most Viewed Show at MipJunior

    Animated series “100% Wolf – Legend of the Moonstone” from Germany’s Studio100 Media topped the poll of most-watched shows at MipJunior, the children’s content market in Cannes, which wrapped Sunday. The series follows the adventures of Freddy Lupin, a young werewolf who has been accidentally turned into a poodle, but is determined to prove he’s [...]

  • jay-wallace-fox-news

    'News Stars' Will Fill Shepard Smith's Slot, Says Fox News President (EXCLUSIVE)

    Shepard Smith has left the Fox News building, but his hour will remain staffed by employees from the network’ news division. Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, Brit Hume, Shannon Bream, Martha MacCallum, Bill Hemmer and John Roberts are among the Fox News Channel news anchors who will do a stint in the 3 p.m. hour vacated [...]

  • craig-ferguson-join-or-die

    Craig Ferguson Game Show 'The Hustler' Gets Picked Up by ABC

    Comedian and host Craig Ferguson is returning to the airwaves with a new trivia game show series at ABC, “The Hustler,” in which one player will already secretly know all the answers. The format involves five contestants working together on a series of trivia questions, with the aim of growing and winning a collective prize [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content