Alyssa Mi­lano, Debby Ryan talk ‘In­sa­tiable’ and fat sham­ing

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - By BROOKE LEFFERTS

Af­ter the trailer was re­leased for the new Net­flix se­ries “In­sa­tiable,” some on so­cial me­dia voiced con­cern: Was the dark com­edy fat sham­ing?

The show, which drops Fri­day, fol­lows the re­turn to high school of a girl named Patty, who loses a lot of weight af­ter years of bul­ly­ing. Hav­ing lost the weight, she’s out for re­venge.

Debby Ryan and co-star Alyssa Mi­lano agreed that while the sub­ject mat­ter was dif­fi­cult, “In­sa­tiable” serves a pur­pose in stir­ring con­ver­sa­tion. Twit­ter’s re­sponse is ev­i­dence of that.

“It was hurt­ful that peo­ple thought that we were do­ing it just as a joke,” Ryan, 24, told The As­so­ci­ated Press in a re­cent in­ter­view. “And con­firmed how im­por­tant it was for us to ...”

“Do it,” Mi­lano said, fin­ish­ing the thought.

Ul­ti­mately, Mi­lano said, the se­ries is a clas­sic tale of grow­ing up.

“I think it is a comin­gof-age story not only for Debby’s char­ac­ter Patty, but all of the char­ac­ters in the show,” said Mi­lano, who plays a driven, con­niv­ing house­wife with a heart. “And I think it is a satir­i­cal look at what hap­pens at the point in life when you have ac­cepted your own truth and your truth has em­pow­ered you to then move past it and what you have to do to move past it.”

As for the so­cial me­dia con­tro­versy, Mi­lano, 45, said she’s “of the school that it is much bet­ter to talk about these things and at its best, en­ter­tain­ment should be a con­ver­sa­tion starter.” As the show pro­gresses, the Twit­ter­verse “will have more to prob­a­bly shame us about and be up­set about.”

Ryan, a for­mer child star on the Dis­ney Chan­nel se­ries “Jessie,” said fat sham­ing is “one of the last un­spo­ken prej­u­dices that peo­ple just bla­tantly do all of the time and al­most don’t get slapped on the wrist for it.”

Her char­ac­ter is taunted as “Fatty” Patty, lead­ing to a con­fronta­tion that forces her to have her jaw wired shut. Con­se­quently, she loses weight. Ryan wore pros­thet­ics for the role and learned some­thing about the ex­pe­ri­ence first­hand.

“As a woman, when peo­ple, kids who are play­ing the bullies, or crew mem­bers would see me walk­ing around in pros­thet­ics they would laugh and be like ‘that’s crazy,’” she said.

“The rage of be­ing treated so dif­fer­ently when the same per­son is in there,” Ryan added. “That was so scary be­cause I thought, ‘Well am I thin enough to play the thin ver­sion of her? Are we now mak­ing a def­i­ni­tion of what is of­fi­cially con­sid­ered, how much weight is con­sid­ered fat and how much weight is con­sid­ered thin?’”

PHOTO BY WILLY SANJUAN — IN­VI­SION — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Alyssa Mi­lano, left, and Debby Ryan ar­rive at the LA Pre­miere of “In­sa­tiable” at the Ar­clight Hol­ly­wood on Thurs­day, Aug. 9, 2018, in Los An­ge­les.

PHOTO BY EVAN AGOSTINI — IN­VI­SION — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ac­tors Alyssa Mi­lano, left, and Debby Ryan par­tic­i­pate in the BUILD Speaker Se­ries to dis­cuss the new Net­flix orig­i­nal se­ries “In­sa­tiable” at AOL Stu­dios on Tues­day, Aug. 7, 2018, in New York.

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