Feb 24, 2017

[TV] Santa Clarita Diet: Season 1

Drew Barrymore is a bit of a darling given her entertainment career. She has always been a bit of an oddball and yet always endearing as well, and that has certainly helped her over the years. I can't remember the last time I had seen her on screen or on TV and so it was a bit of a surprise to encounter her name attached to a Netflix show.

But Santa Clarita Diet turned out too be the sort of comedic effort that was just perfect for her. Sure the comedy feels a little black even for her but of course she made sure to fully own the role and made it feel tailor fit for her.

The show is certainly a quirkier sort of offering from Netflix, not that they've shined away from peculiar brands of comedy such as what we saw in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. But man this show has such an unusual premise that I didn't quite know how to approach things.

But a few episodes in, we were hooked and certainly all the better for it.

Synopsis: Santa Clarita Diet is an American horror-comedy series created by Victor Fresco for Netflix. The first season consists of 10 episodes .

Shiela (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) are husband and wife real-estate agents living in Santa Clarita, California. They're not exactly wealthy but they do get by and make the most of their lives. But one day Shiela has an unusual vomiting spell while showing a house and she coughs up a ridiculous amount of whatever that was. The next day she starts to exhibit some strange behaviors including a craving for increasingly raw meat.

But soon frozen meat or animal meat in general just won't cut it and it seems that Shiela needs to feed on human flesh to survive. Why she has become some sort of a zombie is a bit of a mystery but there's only so much Joel can do to support his wife as she goes through this unusual change. They try to keep their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) out of things as best we can but there's really no hiding something of this nature.

What I Loved: Like many shows, this one started out a little weird and it took us some time to get into the show just as it seemed to take the actors time to fully get into their roles. But in time the shift is pretty noticeable and things really get moving once Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant find their stride as husband and wife.

I really enjoyed how matter of fact things end up being despite the peculiarity of the situation. After all, she is eating people and she needs to kill people in order to eat them. But the show never descends into something grim or dark and it always seems to maintain the air of suburban safety that one expects from the sort of manicured lawn community where the show is set. And how that all progresses is really where the fun is.

What Could have Been Better: Timothy Olyphant was a bit of an odd choice or the husband since we remember him more for his strong, action-oriented roles and yet here he's the sort of mousy husband who lets his wife lead in most things. Or at least that seems to be his characterization in the beginning but Olyphant never quite fits into that role and in time becomes more himself.

I'm not quite sure how to feel about Abby's story arc as the teen who starts to rebel because her parents are involved in something weird. I understand the trauma they sort of wanted to convey but at the same time it didn't quite translate well and so some of her actions just felt a little off. It's a minor point, but it does get distracting.

TL;DR: Santa Clarita Diet is a comedy with a very fresh concept and quite a nice addition to the mix off things. It's not for everyone but if you keep an open mind you can have a lot of fun with it as it's a show that knows not to take itself seriously. Thus the first season gets a good 4 random body parts out of a possible 5.


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