There are some Netflix Series that a person should try to finish. Apparently though, there are also some that a person should never start. And there is a reason that you should regularly read reviews before you watch a series on Netflix – because it can help to know which of those options to choose.
Netflix’ new series Insatiable is not only wildly immoral, it's pretty much trash. It is writing without a notable purpose. Worse yet, if you watch it to the end of Season One you will feel worse about yourself for doing so.
What is the show about, aside from being terrible? Good question.
Netflix’ own description of the show says:
“For years Patty (Bladell) was overweight, which caused her to be bullied, ignored and underestimated by the people around her. But she is now thin and seeking revenge against those who ever made her feel bad about herself through fat-shaming. Enter Bob Armstrong, a disgraced attorney with a passion for coaching beauty pageant contestants. As one of the only people who sees Patty's potential, he takes her under his wing -- first as a legal client, then as a pageant contestant. Bob hopes to coach Patty to the top of the pageant game, but he and wife Coralee have no idea how deep her rage goes or how far she will go to exact revenge on the people she feels have wronged her.”
Oddly enough though this description of Netflix’s doesn’t even capture the larger complexities surrounding the themes of the show. And what becomes astonishingly remarkable as the first season goes on was how it makes one feel as the viewer. I kept hoping for glimpses of redemption to arise – and just when such possibility would surface - the characters would just dive deeper into depravity.
This fact makes the series not just cringe-worthy but sad because the actors/actresses are not the problem with the show at all. The cast actually could be fantastic together with the right script. I can easily envision a scenario where the characters of this show could become beloved and champion virtuous changes in societal thinking and behavior. But it simply doesn’t happen.
The primary issue is the complete lack of ethics in the writing. It is almost incomprehensible how what was written, could have even been suggested and approved by Netflix. Insatiable truly lives up to its name because it is as if the writers kept trying to one-up themselves by finding more and more shocking things to incorporate into the show. But the problem with writing in that matter is that the viewer is the one ultimately left unsatisfied.
What I find truly fascinating about the show was that it has obvious times where virtue-based pivots could have been made to bring value to the show. For instance, in one scene when Patty is giving a response at the “Miss Magic Jesus” pageant, she says:
> I never knew my dad, he abandoned me before I was born. I’ve been looking for someone to take his place ever since. I thought I had found the perfect Father Figure, someone who would stick by my side always. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t know if Jesus is inside me but I do know that his Father never abandoned him (maybe for a second on the cross) but then he was resurrected three days later by the Father. That’s like pretty much the greatest Dad moment ever. So if Jesus, or God or the Holy Spirit can be a Father that never abandons me… I’m all in.
One doesn’t have to have even seen the show to understand how that speech could have been a pivot for the characters toward something more authentic, humanizing and ethical. But instead the writers just trivialized scene and discarded it in exchange for increasing vulgarity. Reviews of the series have repeatedly pointed to this fact.
Carla Suggs of the Nevada Sagebrush writes
> Not only does Insatiable perpetuate body-shaming, reduce women to their looks and joke about child molestation, but it completely dehumanizes homeless people as well.
Courtney Gavitt of UConn’s Daily Campus appropriately writes
> I don’t like seeing Netflix support the idea of falsely accusing people of sexual assault, especially when such a tiny percentage of actual accusations are fake. God knows we don’t need to give people more reasons not to believe victims, not to mention that the scene where the accusation occurs uses a slur for transgender people as the end of a joke.
And another review from Thrillist.com is titled: Insatiable is Netflix’s Worst TV Show Yet – By Far
All that being said - with great failure comes the opportunity to redeem. So instead of just casting Insatiable aside I want to make a proposal to Netflix. Either cancel the show – which everyone would completely understand. Or use the failure of the show as a press opportunity.
Let’s face it Netflix – it’s time to confess and repent.
Acknowledge that the show is a bomb and hire me, as a pastor, someone trained in virtue formation, to help redeem it. I believe that every bad thing that has been done in the show could be redeemed. I also believe that given the series’ compelling cast of actors it could be transformed in a way to make it not only beloved but truly admired. And the immediate benefit for Netflix in making such a pivot is that they would receive more positive press than they could possibly imagine both for seeking to change the show’s narrative and then for actually succeeding in making the show virtuous. That is the kind of media services provider that its audience wants to champion.
Because the ironic thing about Insatiable is that indeed Netflix has left its audience always wanting more– it just isn’t more of what you’ve been giving us in this series.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. How do you think the media that you consume directly or indirectly impacts you?
Q2. What responsibility do you think that media companies have to create ethical content for public consumption?
Q3. What actions do you think that people can take to encourage better content to be created?