I’ve been overweight most of my adult life, which contributed to crippling osteoarthritis. Most of it was gained when my knees went out and I could no longer walk daily. Nor would my insurance cover knee surgery because of my weight. Finally, after losing 150 pounds, I got the surgery and my mobility. I work hard to stay at 300, including constant diet and exercise. I know fat shaming, I know the tropes, and I watched the entire series.
The main premise of the series is that social shaming exists for every expression of individuality and the willingness of your peer group to turn into a mob the minute you step over their boundaries. They will shame you even as they hide the tendencies they know will bring shame on them.
The show also explores social manipulation, social bargains, and breakdowns in communication.
Is the series tasteless? In many ways, yes. Over the top and absolutely willing to stereotype in the name of stereotype shaming. Does it step over the line? I have no doubt it stepped over the line for everyone, including me. And yet that is a central message of the show: Who the fuck are you to judge us?
I found it no more offensive than the Farrelly brothers, Jim Carey, Denis Leary, the most desperate attempts of SNL, and many of the skits proposed by comedy writers I worked with.
I push the envelope of offense too. I think about what I’m doing every time. It’s a fine line, and occasionally I cross it. But I learned years ago that some people’s skins are so thick, their assumptions so ingrained that you have to provoke them just to get their attention. You also have to offer common ground, and, believe it or not, the series explores that theme too. Unfortunately, the heroine is so bad at reconciliation she makes things worse.
Insatiable will never make my top 100 TV shows list, but it is smarter and funnier than the shows I don’t even remember.