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Insatiable Star Debby Ryan Defends the Show’s Fatsuit Use by Reminding You Friends Did It, Too

Photo: Tina Rowden/Netflix/Tina Rowden/Netflix

Netflix’s new dark comedy Insatiable isn’t as bad as you thought — it’s worse. Revolving around an overweight high school girl who suddenly becomes svelte and beautiful over a summer thanks to her jaw getting wired shut, she seeks revenge on every single person who’s ever wronged her while she was fat. Insatiable is riddled with a medley of problematic themes — an equal-opportunity train wreck, if you will — so much so that the show’s creator believes the backlash it’s experiencing is equal to censorship. Debby Ryan, the former Disney Channel star who plays the lead, hasn’t discussed any of Insatiable’s criticism until now, speaking with Teen Vogue about how she’s always supported the show’s central message since day one. “We knew that this conversation needed to be had. We knew that this societal brokenness needed to be addressed, but we didn’t know how badly it needed to be addressed,” she explained. “My friend, a few days before the trailer hit, in reference to something else, said, ‘The size of the reaction is the size of the wound,’ and it stayed with me.”

A major point of contention for viewers has been the use of Ryan wearing a fatsuit in flashback scenes, a creative decision that Ryan admits made her skeptical at first, mostly because she feared “it would almost be done in parody like in Friends.” (If you’ve never seen Friends, the character of Monica, played by Courteney Cox, was overweight in her formative years. Cox dons a fatsuit in a few flashback scenes to signify that weight change.) “There was a point where [the showrunner] and I are like, ‘If at any point this is funny, if at any point people laugh, we’re not doing it.’ We’re not doing the show that we’re trying to do,” Ryan explained. “We’re just trying to portray an origin story. We’re trying to showcase that.” Besides, Ryan adds, being able to experience weight prejudice was “super educational and really eye-opening.” Too bad she couldn’t do it with a better show.

Insatiable Star Debby Ryan Defends Everything About the Show