The Santa Clarita Diet

I’d heard about Neflix’s series, The Santa Clarita Diet and was intrigued, but not really enough to watch it. I’ve always liked Drew Barrymore, but that alone wasn’t enough to make me watch. Then about a week ago, I saw one of the ads:

Having seen Hal and Joanne on my TV for so many years, this really made me laugh and was enough for me to try the show, despite already having enough content in my queue that I’ll likely never finish everything. So what did I think? Well…

The first episode almost made me vomit. Really. I’m not normally squeemish, so I am not sure why I reacted the way I did, but something about Drew Barrymore spray-painting an entire bathroom with greenish vomit made my throat tighten more than I would have expected.

By the end of the episode, I really wasn’t sure if I would continue. I had been hoping for a smart, witty dark comedy and wasn’t sure that I was getting it. I was faintly disappointed, but after considering it a bit, I decided I would at least try a second episode,  which then turned into a third.

While I wouldn’t have said that I actively liked it at that point, there was enough there to keep me watching. The teenaged daughter and her potential love interest– both of whom I expected to dislike– were actually fun characters. As each new episode played (and I ended up watching several in a row…) I grew to like it more and more.

Certainly the show wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it turned out to be something better. My initial thought– that it was more weird than funny– was probably related more to the show not meeting my preconceived notion of what it would be, because it is funny, often extremely so. Humour is subjective, so it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as it progressed, I started to really appreciate the clever dialogue and the way the characters were developing.

There is enough blood and guts in the show that fans of The Walking Dead might feel at home here, but there is quite a bit more. Each episode builds upon what came before, as Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) try to keep their lives from spiraling out of control. There is a subplot that comes in the latter half of the series, involving a potential cure for Sheila’s zombiehood, but the main focus is the attempt of this family to maintain a normal life despite undeath and murder.

While this isn’t a show that everyone can appreciate, I for one am already waiting for Season Two…


4 thoughts on “The Santa Clarita Diet”

  1. Let me be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from this comedy and I found the story line amusing. The chemistry was excellent between the two main characters and their relationship seems so real. My favorite character is the teenager.

    This show is not for everyone especially people with a weak stomach. If you love this type of comedy that offers you murder, cussing, and cannibalism you will be waiting for Season 2. This show will really have you thinking… How far will I go to save my family member? By the way, tell me your favorite character and why?

    Thanks for your review, I will be eagerly waiting for season 2.

    1. It’s a little hard for me to say now exactly what I had been expecting, because my views on the show changed while watching it. I got caught up in it and once I let my preconceptions go, they were pretty much forgotten.

      I agree about those with a weak stomach possibly having some difficulty. I didn’t really expect to have a reaction, but that first episode during the showing of the house…. It’s kind of amusing to me, actually, because I used to watch a fair number of horror movies when I was younger, but had stopped watching them at some point. A couple of years later, I watched the first Scream movie and during the first murder, I was cringing and thinking “ooh, that’s not good! That’s not right!” In both cases– Scream and Santa Clarita Diet– my reaction was to Drew Barrymore in distress, so maybe it’s related to her? Ha ha. It’s weird seeing little Gertie from ET in these situations!

      As for my favourite character, I’d probably have to go with Joel… I can sympathise with him in a number of ways, which is probably a bad thing. I find his character amusing and I really like Timothy Olyphant as an actor– even though I keep confusing him with Kyle Secor from Homicide: Life on the Street… I keep laughing at his thought processes and some of his dialogue. As absurd as he sometimes can be, I find that some of his reactions are pretty real.

      There has been no word on season 2 so far, but I hope it does return.

      Thanks for commenting!


  2. You know for a while there I wasn’t really sure what I was watching. I’d never heard of The Santa Clarita Diet and the joke at the end of the video wasn’t impressive but I did feel the need to watch the official trailer and see what it was all about. I think it’s a great twist on the zombie franchise but honestly, how many zombie jokes can you make a series out of? It’s a great idea but I don’t see it going past one season.

    1. I think the Hal and Joanne trailer was funny for me mainly for two reasons: I already knew the premise of the show, so I knew what was coming, and the ghoulish laughter (particularly from Joanne) given that it is so out of character for them. The confused laughter from the “social media influencer” worked for me, too.

      As I mentioned, I know that zombie fatigue has set in for many people, but I think this is a good twist on it and like any sitcom, the humour derives from the dumb situations that the characters find themselves in, not just the zombie aspect of it.

      I don’t know that there could be multiple seasons, but the pemise carried it through the first easily enough and I think they are in a good position to manage a second. Beyond that, who knows?

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