The Santa Clarita Diet, Season 1
Original air date: February 3rd, 2017
Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star in the Santa Clarita Diet, the newest binge-worthy show brought to us by Netflix. Season one is ten (30 minute) episodes—so if you have five hours to spare, this show is worth a watch. I should warn anyone that is squeamish, this show might not be for you. If you can get through the first episode, then you are in the clear—it doesn’t get any worse—but it doesn’t get any less graphic either. I am not squeamish, and I loved the series.
The Santa Clarita Diet asks the age-old question: “What if my spouse became a zombie?” Through the season, we see the pros and cons of such an event occurring. Drew Barrymore plays Sheila Hammond, a real estate agent that dies and comes back craving human flesh. Timothy Olyphant plays Joel Hammond, Sheila’s husband and real estate partner. The two deal with the regular marital strife and the whole “being a zombie” thing with such aplomb, they are now my new favorite couple. I am not saying they don’t have problems—they work and live together, there are bound to be some issues; but they are willing to do things for each other, even if it is something they may not be very good at or particularly care to do. I think this is the heart of successful relationships. I am sure there will be more strains on the marriage and though it ends with things getting crazy, I think the two will be able to weather the storm. They must if there is to be longevity to the show.
Their daughter Abby (Liv Henson) is in on the whole thing, and struggles the most with this new chapter of their life. There’s been a complete upheaval in the family dynamics and she is struggling to see how she fits in. Throughout the season she takes on multiple roles: rebel, child, parent, even an equal. She tries each on for size as her parents adjust to their new reality. What would it be like to have a mom that has no self-control and says whatever is on her mind? Being a teenager, hormones running rampant, it is very like Sheila’s zombie-ness. This, I think, allows Sheila to better understand what Abby is going through. It makes me wonder: was Sheila more like Abby when she was younger?
Santa Clarita Diet blends dark humor, some slapstick and good old blood and guts, into a fresh take on the zombie genre. Sometimes it is over the top, but it worked. The feel of the show reminds me of the early seasons of Weeds or Desperate Housewives. The absurdity of the whole situation with suburbia in the backdrop is a winning combination. The main cast are great in their roles and the comedic timing is perfect from the get go. That, plus the great performances from guest stars, most notably Nathan Fillion, Thomas Lennon, and Portia DeRossi, makes the season quite enjoyable.
Could it have been better? Maybe. I question the longevity of the show. The show sets up multiple problems and quickly resolves most of them. I like that no one issue is dragged out for an extended amount of time, but burning through issue resolution makes me curious as to where the show will go in a second season. The season ends on a cliff-hanger, and I really don’t like season end cliff-hangers. Why do we need them? If we like the show, we are going to watch the next season. They left one issue unresolved, the most crucial to the continuation of the show. So why not just resolve it and then leave room to go from there?
If nothing else the show did inspire me—I think we could benefit being more zombie like, well at least more like Sheila-as-a-zombie. She has very little use for sweating the small stuff, social norms, or what people think. She has very little self-control and no filter. I’m not saying we too should say the first thing that comes to mind, but with any social interaction (personal or otherwise) we (or maybe it is just me) could use a little Sheila-zombie confidence.