The series, which centers on an unpopular, heavy set teenager who suddenly loses weight and, in turn, gains self-confidence, is once again among the top ten shows in demand by a US audience for a second week in a row. That information comes according to Parrot Analytics, which measures demand by factoring in numerous inputs, such as peer-to-peer and streaming content data, fan & critic rating data, and social media data.
The Netflix original, which premiered on August 10, was met with waves of criticism in the weeks leading up to its release. So much so that a petition aiming to have the show canceled was created on Change.org and has since garnered over 230K signatures. In recent months, similar consumer backlash over ‘offensive’ content has had a significant impact on the decision-making process taking place within the entertainment industry. Most recently, Scarlett Johanson dropped out of the film “Rub & Tug” after receiving intense criticism for accepting a role as a transgender character in the project. Many argued it was offensive that the role was not given to an actual transgender person.
But unlike Johanson, Netflix decided to weather the storm of criticism and has come out on top, with not only a spot on Parrot’s leaderboards but with 89 percent of Google users “liking” the show. However, this reaction was not the same when looking at reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, where it received an 11 percent rating, and Vox, which gave the series 1 out of 5.
Netflix, which has yet to announce if it will be renewing the show for a second season, is faced with a tough decision to continue on with the series at the risk of inciting another tornado of criticism or to drop the series altogether. While the streaming giant has been more or less quiet about the future of the show, its head of original programming, Cindy Holland, has shown her support of the first season.
“The creator [Lauren Gussis] felt very strongly about exploring these issues based on her own experiences, but satirically, in a very over the top way,” she explained in a recent interview. “Ultimately, the message of the show is that what is most important is you feel most comfortable.”