Actress Alyssa Milano is urging viewers to give her “magical” new Netflix comedy Insatiable a chance because it’s not as mean-spirited as the trailer suggests.
Critics began attacking the series’ premise after its trailer debuted in late July (18) and appeared to show former Disney darling Debby Ryan’s character Patty as a bullied, overweight teenager who sheds the pounds over a summer break and returns to school with a stunning new look and an appetite for vengeance on everyone who mistreated her.
Show producers were accused of perpetuating the stereotype that teenage girls need to be slim and beautiful to be accepted by their peers, and over 100,000 people signed a petition calling for the programme to be axed before its 10 August premiere date.
However, Netflix bosses have refused to bow to the public pressure over the apparent fat-shaming, and now Alyssa is defending the show, claiming there’s a stronger message behind the series – if only streaming service users would give it a chance.
During a joint TV interview with Debby on Monday (06Aug18), Alyssa insisted they “understand” where the hatred is coming from, but encouraged fans to approach Insatiable with an open mind because it’s meant to be a satire about the pressures young women face in the modern world.
“To me, any times these issues we are dealing with are discussed rather than swept under the carpet, I think it’s really important because we really want to eradicate that shame,” she explained on breakfast show Good Morning America.
Alyssa admitted the public uproar really caught her by surprise, because there was such a strong sense of female camaraderie and empowerment on the women-heavy set of Insatiable, which was filmed as the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal unfolded in October (17) and gave rise to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual misconduct, which she has been highly involved in.
“Just being around these strong women and hearing their stories (made me feel) so empathetic for all women…,” Alyssa shared of the vibe onset. “You can feel in the subject matter, when you watch the show, the vulnerability that we were able to enact due to the fact that we all felt so comfortable with each other.”
“It was a very special experience, and I think that’s why the backlash hurt us so much,” she continued. “It just killed me because it was such a magical experience and we want that magic to translate to people’s living rooms.”
Emphasising Alyssa’s message to fans, Debby added, “I think the trailer definitely speaks to where this story begins, (but) there’s a lot once we get into it.”
Insatiable premieres on Netflix on Friday (10Aug18).