Oh My Gosh! Ever since I learned that Drew Barrymore was going to star in her own series, I’ve been counting the days for it to release. Thank God Santa Clarita Diet was developed by Netflix, meaning I wouldn’t have to wait for weeks on end to watch it. Of course, the binge watching was a given. I only stopped on Episode 9 last night because it was almost 1 am and quickly made short work of the last episode this morning. As expected, it was so much fun and a definite must watch.
SYNOPSIS: The Hammonds are a normal suburban family living in the upscale community of Santa Clarita. Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and Sheila (Drew Barrymore) are licensed realtors while their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) is a typical teenager who enjoys stuff that normal teens do. But one day, during an open house, Sheila gets really sick and throws up — a lot. The next thing she knows, she can’t feel her heartbeat and she is craving raw meat. When she accidentally kills an asswipe of a co-worker and makes a meal out of him, achieving normalcy for the family becomes slightly more complicated.
There are zombie series and there are zombie series but I truly enjoyed the approach the Netflix took with Santa Clarita Diet because it combined the strength of the horror genre with the charm of a comedy sitcom. It was like watching a crossover special of Friends or Cougartown with the blood and guts of The Walking Dead.
There was a lot of sass in the script. The repartee among the characters was just so entertaining. The amount of personality that the actors gave their roles were some of the main strengths of this new series. They gelled well together and projected a solid unit against a mysterious problem that is threatening their way of life.
One of my favorite elements of the show was Joel’s unconditional love for Sheila that he goes out of his comfort zone to cater to her needs and keep her alive. I appreciate the fact that Olyphant can do no nonsense action a la Hitman and still be this flustered, lovesick husband and dad who would do everything to restore normalcy in his family. I loved the part where he and Abby vented their frustration over the new status quo in their home and yet, their common love for Sheila puts her above any other reservation they may have felt over her condition. From forcing Sheila to eat an old foot from the morgue to “We Have to Kill People,” Joel’s commitment to Sheila was just a given. And the normalcy in which they embraced the extremes that they needed to reach was just touching. Abby’s acceptance of her parents having to kill to feed her mother — so much so with their accomplice Eric (Skyler Gisondo), their helpful but nerdy neighbor who has been guiding them through the undead mythos from the beginning.
While the series approached the zombie trope with much humor and lightness, there were genuinely cringeworthy moments in the show that were completely gross. Losing digits, feasting on intestines and blendering said organs to make a super yummy smoothie is not for the faint of heart.
My only complaint perhaps was the shortness of the episodes that made the storytelling a bit stunted. There was also the cliffhanger ending to the season that all but guaranteed a second season but definitely left viewers wondering what would become of the Hammonds in the time between. At times, while the show managed to tell complete stories per episodes, it seemed that there wasn’t enough time spent with this entertaining but weird family.
All in all, I much enjoyed Santa Clarita Diet. It was hilarious but had its fair share of danger. It was light but it was touching and had in its core the essence of family and friendship. It was very entertaining with a very strong cast that I would very much like to see in a fresh season. Too bad I have to wait another year (at least) to binge watch again.