Netflix announced on Friday it has canceled “Insatiable,” a series that garnered significant backlash for its portrayal of disordered eating and fatphobia after two seasons.
“Insatiable,” starring Debby Ryan as Patty, followed Patty’s journey after she lost a significant amount of weight after having her jaw wired shut. (Ryan wore a fat suit to portray Patty pre-weight loss.) To get back at the people who bullied her when she was a larger size, Patty transformed herself into a ruthless pageant queen.
Created by Lauren Gussis, the intention of “Insatiable” was to satirically show how damaging body issues can be for everyone. The show missed the mark before it even aired, garnering more than 100,000 signatures on a Change.org petition asking Netflix to cancel the series before season one went live. Response to the show when it aired wasn’t much better.
“At least in other shows that have portrayed disordered eating/eating disorders, there is usually a friend, parent or teacher who acts as a voice of reason for the person struggling,” wrote Mighty contributor Danielle Lowe in a season one review of the show for The Mighty. Lowe added:
In ‘Insatiable,’ the only person that really seems to care for Patty is her best friend Nonnie, who does not seem to have much influence over Patty. They all seem to be relatively under the same spell. Every time someone says, ‘Skinny is magic,’ I just want to scream, ‘Go to therapy.’
In response to the backlash, “Insatiable” creator Gussis, along with series stars Alyssa Milano and Ryan, defended the show. Gussis shared the premise was loosely based on her own experiences, and Ryan explained the series was trying to make a productive point about body size through comedy.
“We’re not in the business of fat shaming,” Ryan tweeted at the time. “We’re out to turn a sharp eye on broken, harmful systems that equate thinness with worth.”
“These moments (when the show is weakly trying to make a point) highlight ‘Insatiable’s’ fatal flaw — the satire just isn’t good enough,” Schuster wrote, adding:
Considering there is still so much misinformation about eating disorders, and considering the sketchy way Patty went from ‘fat’ to the size of the average thin actress in Hollywood, bringing up eating disorders now is honestly insulting.
The show was renewed for a second season, which aired in October 2019 without much notice. Milano hinted earlier in February “Insatiable” would not return for season three in response to fan questions on Twitter. Netflix made the show’s cancellation official on Friday.
We will not be coming back, sadly.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) February 4, 2020