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Lili Reinhart Archives – FutureFemme

The verdict’s in: Netflix’s new satirical comedy 'Insatiable' is pure trash. Here are ten of the best female-fronted shows to stream instead.

All the best #GirlPower shows to watch instead of ‘Insatiable’

By News

The verdict’s in: Netflix’s new satirical comedy Insatiable is a disastrophe. And not the good kind you can sit and enjoy with a bottle of wine and absolutely no shame. The kind that misfires in its attempt to be edgy while lacking the sharpness and wit to nail the delivery of its controversial subject matter.

The show itself follows a “fat girl” (a thin girl in a fat suit) named Patty (Debby Ryan) who gets punched in the face, has her jaw wired shut, loses weight (and subsequently becomes “hot”), and seeks revenge on those who bullied her.

Although the premise is problematic in itself, we were quick to challenge the naysayers who denounced the show before they’d even seen in. However, having seen the first few episodes ourselves now, we can confirm Insatiable contains none of the sharpness it needed to deliver such a satirical statement on body image.

The show is at once aggressively cruel and a total yawnfest, and contains some tired queer tropes via its depiction of Patty’s closeted lesbian bestie Nonnie (Kimmy Shields) to boot. So while everyone expected Insatiable to be bad, the reality is even worse.

Instead of wasting your time on this trash heap of a “comedy” (which drops on Netflix today), turn your focus to better content with these stunning examples of #GirlPower. Here are ten of the best female-fronted shows to stream instead of Insatiable:  

GLOW (2017-)

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling body-slammed its way into our hearts when it first hit Netflix in 2017, and continued to do so into S2 with a solid core cast, nostalgic 80s setting, heartfelt portrayals of female friendship, and oodles of spandex.

A diverse cast including Alison Brie, Sydelle Noel, Sunita Mani, Britt Baron, Kate Nash, Gayle Rankin, Kia Stevens, Ellen Wong, Jackie Tohn, and Britney Young star as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling as they grapple with life both in and out of the ring, managing to remain both frothy and fun while exposing societal prejudices that are still prevalent today.

Broad City (2014-)

Yas queen! While it’s bittersweet to know that Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson’s next season will be their last, marking the end of an era, we can at least remind ourselves of the hilarious times the comedy duo have brought to us over the years (from seafood allergies to Val’s diamond-munching antics – no mo FOMO).

For four tumultuous seasons (soon to be five), Abbi and Ilana have kept our sides splitting with their portrayal of two broke girls living in NYC, while teaching us the true value of female friendship. It’s thanks to this show that we can’t leave the house without a Bingo Bronson at our side and a backup vape in our rucksacks.

Killing Eve (2018-)

A dazzling thriller from Phoebe Waller-Bridge – the creative mind behind Fleabag – Killing Eve stars Sandra Oh as a woman whose job as a bored low-level MI5 security employee takes an exciting turn when she links a string of murders to the capricious and dangerous assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer).

As Eve embarks on the task to seek out her culprit, the two end up obsessed with each other and enter into a risky game of cat & mouse. The genre-bending miniseries is at once slick, gripping, and wildly entertaining, bringing fresh energy to a worn out genre.

Good Girls (2018-)

Jenna Bans’s dramedy is getting a second season and we’re here for it every step of the way. Centering on three suburban moms (with glorious turns from Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman) who find themselves in desperate circumstances, the tired trio have had enough of playing it safe and swap wholesome housewife values for a life of crime, chaos, and dollar bills by robbing the local supermarket at (toy) gunpoint. Some girls are good, some girls are bad, and some are just doing what they can to get by.

Veronica Mars (2004-2007)

A show that was cut from the air and from our lives too soon, the neo-noir YA crime thriller saw Kristen Bell long before her Good Place days, as a snarky high school student turned private investigator who dedicates her life to cracking the toughest mysteries in the affluent town of Neptune, including the murder of her best friend Lily.

Using her smarts and determination to unturn a number of stones (while dealing with sexual trauma of her own), Veronica is the ultimate example of girl power, proving you don’t have to show physical strength to be powerful.

Riverdale (2016-)

The CW’s dark, edgy, and sexy take on the Archie comic books has proved highly addictive, set in the once-idyllic small town that becomes a hotbed of controversies and secrets with the death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines).

From Betty (Lili Reinhart), to Veronica (Camila Mendes), to Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), Riverdale features a host of female characters who show strength and are fierce in their own special ways.

Daria (1997-2001)

The TV show equivalent of your 00s teen angst, Daria was more than just a cartoon – it was a way of life.

Fuelled by misanthropy and cutting wit, Daria was and still is the perfect example of sardonic apathy, following the titular character through teenage life as a proud outsider in a world of mainly idiotic adolescents and condescending adults. Together with her bestie Jane, the pair take on the world in Creepers and grunge boots, one snarky quip at a time.

Big Little Lies (2017-)

Arguably one of the best crime dramas of last year, HBO’s Big Little Lies stars Hollywood heavyweights Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley as suburban moms who exist in a community fueled by rumors and divided into haves and have-nots.

As their seemingly perfect lives unravel, dark secrets bubble to the surface and we begin to see that life is not as it seems in the tranquil beachfront town of Monterey. Not only does the show offer a gripping storyline and three-dimensional characters whose arcs you can’t help but be enthralled by, but the show also tackles the tricky subject of domestic abuse in a complex and nuanced manner. With season two on the way, we’d recommend giving season one a watch or rewatch ahead of its release.

Vida (2018-)

Mishel Prada and Melissa Barrera star in Tanya Saracho’s latest comedy as Emma and Lyn – two estranged sisters who return to their old LA neighborhood where they are confronted by the past and the truth about their mother’s identity.

In its first season, the show has been praised for its portrayal of Latinx culture, LGBTQI relationships, and gentrification – with another season on the horizon, we’re excited to see what hot topics Saracho and the creative team will take on.

Pose (2018-)

Ryan Murphy’s portrayal of 80s NYC ball culture is dazzling, authentic, and deals with its challenging topics with tact and finesse. A landmark show in terms of LGBTQI representation, Pose explores the fetishization of trans women and the details of gender reassignment surgery in ways that have not been seen on TV before.

As well as lifting the curtain on the bold ball subculture and the issues the trans community faced both inside and out of the scene, Pose also feels like a family drama thanks to the relationships formed by the sweet yet powerful Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), who builds lives and shows love by making a home for Angel (Indya Moore) and Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain). In short, Pose demands to be seen – it’s one of the greatest shows on TV and we’re giving it tens across the board.

Dark Betty (as the character is known in the show) wears a black bobbed wig and has a penchant for black lacy lingerie. She’s super dark, folks, and her dress sense reflects it.

Why ‘Riverdale’ needs to drop the Dark Betty trope

By Uncategorized

You could say it all started with Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) in Grease. Perming her hair into a seductive cloud, pouring herself into a pair of smothering skin tights, and lighting a cigarette she has no idea how to smoke. And all in the service of suggesting that Sandy has a secret darkness inside of her.

With a new dark wardrobe and sultry spirit, she exudes confidence and deviance. She can rock with Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and the rest of the T-Birds. And she can kick it with the Pink Ladies – even if in actuality she’s pure, humdrum, and totally wholesome.

In Riverdale, this trope keeps popping back up by exploring the bad girl flip side of goody-two-shoes Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart). Dark Betty (as the character is known in the show) wears a black bobbed wig and has a penchant for black lacy lingerie. She’s super dark, folks, and her dress sense reflects it.

Even the most hardcore of Riverdale fans (like ourselves) can admit there’s something irritating and poorly executed about Dark Betty. It isn’t so much the adoption of the terrible wig or her proclivity to strip down to her undies that we take umbrage with.

It’s more the suggestion that Betty’s “dark side” is something that can’t possibly be consolidated with her public identity – despite the fact she dates the town’s broodiest biker babe and nobody would likely give a shit if she suddenly went legitimately edgy.

Instead, this dark persona steps up to take on various tasks and is unleashed sparingly and seemingly at random.

Dark Betty steps in to torture a dude who’s been sexually harassing her classmates. Dark Betty becomes a cam girl. Dark Betty has kinky sex with Jughead (Cole Sprouse). Dark Betty does a cringe-inducing striptease to the most depressing song imaginable (the Gary Jules cover of “Mad World”).

Dark Betty doesn’t make an appearance at Jughead’s birthday, but this dark persona still gets the blame for Betty having the gall to organize a surprise party for her boyfriend against his wishes. (Oh and sure, not telling him about the whole “I tortured Chuck” thing.)

“Something is very, very wrong with me,” she tells him, “Like, there’s this darkness in me that’s overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t know where it comes from, but I think that’s what makes me do things.”

The character’s declaration to her boyfriend brings to mind Dexter Morgan’s (Michael C. Hall) excuse that his “dark passenger” is the one who requires him to kill with a thirsty regularity in Dexter. It provides a personification of his need to take life and also absolves him of responsibility for the murders.

He doesn’t want to be doing this but he has to. Ultimately, Dexter is in charge of the journey, but he’s still allowing for his “dark passenger” to dictate the destination – however, the serial killer decides to only kill people who have committed hideous crimes against others.

Likewise, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) goes off the deep end with her magic dependency after her girlfriend is killed. Subsequently, her red hair turns black, as do her clothes, and she transforms into Dark Willow.

Like Dark Betty and Dexter’s Dark Passenger, Dark Willow has a thirst for punishment and winds up flaying the skin from the body of the man who killed her lover. But as it turns out, that isn’t quite enough to satiate the flip side of the formerly good witch.

Dark Willow winds up on a rampage of magical rage that threatens to destroy the entire planet. However, unlike Dark Betty and Dexter, at least Dark Willow commits wholeheartedly to her new savage persona – Dark Betty and Dark Passenger are like lounge outfits to be slipped into after a long, hard day of presenting as “normal”.

Which is perhaps our biggest problem with the trope. The whole “I have a secret, uncontrollable inner darkness” kind of loses its edge when it’s clear the character can in fact control these dark urges that define this side of them on some minor or major level.

It’s a trope commonly seen in teen TV shows for exploring the “dark sides” of young women struggling with the complications of growing up. However, for most young adult shows, this isn’t all too often explored by simply paying fanservice by throwing the female character into some sexy underwear and a dark wig.

In The O.C., it’s Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) drinking herself into a young ruin, throwing pool furniture around when her mom asks her what’s on her mind, and shooting her boyfriend’s brother because, well, why not.

In Glee, it’s Quinn piercing her nose, dying her hair pink, and turning “punk” overnight because she’s sad and that’s just who she is now (deal with it, Glee Club!).

In My So-Called Life, it’s Angela dressing up like Rayanne after she finds out her former bestie slept with her ex-boyfriend and figures bad girls don’t get hurt.

And in Gossip Girl, it’s little Jenny Humphrey’s transformation into a Chuck Bass screwing, teenager from hell with a wardrobe full of solid black kinderwhore creations.

Where all of these dark transformations differ from Dark Betty is that these characters are all given space to experiment with these dark sides without it being highlighted as an unhealthy or dangerous mode of expression.

In Riverdale, there’s an insinuation that Dark Betty is inexplicably both. As a result, this side of the character is confined to the sidelines. She digs her nails into her palms and sits out her turn.

Overall, it’s a supremely lame way to explore a young woman potentially struggling with mental health issues or who simply might have a healthy interest in pursuing a consensual sadomasochistic relationship.

But instead, Dark Betty is treated like a part of the character’s identity that needs to be chained down and locked up – left unexplored and misunderstood unless Betty can bring her out for the occasional striptease, cam sesh, or sex time with Jugs.

This suggests that Riverdale is more interested in fetishizing Betty’s inner anguish than it is in effectively exploring it. That’s incredibly disappointing for a show which otherwise delivers strong and complex female characters with compelling feminist arcs.

The bottom line is that good girls can be bad – and they shouldn’t have to concoct some bullshit “I have an inner darkness” excuse to do so. Every person has a dark side and it serves TV shows well to explore those aspects of a person’s identity in depth and with care.

So to throw a wig and some hot lingerie on that dark side? Come on, Riverdale – you can do better. In S3 of the show, we hope to see Betty refusing to apologize for her dark side and simply referring to it as “Betty” – no further adjective required.