A CRAZY Amount of Laughs
It should go without say that this review will contain spoilers. If you have not watched Santa Clarita Diet yet, seriously, what are you doing? Go watch it! It’s on Netflix! It’s only ten episodes that are, like, thirty minutes long! Go! Now! Then come back and read this!
A good comedy is hard to comeby. A comedy that stays good and only gets better is a diamond in rough, and Netflix Original series’ are a dime a dozen these days. It also seems that their genuine entertainment value can be wagered on a coin toss, going one way or another. That being said, I was naturally hesitant to start The Santa Clarita diet while on my lunchbreak at work last month. I like Drew Barrymore enough, but I hadn’t heard anything about this show outside of the serial killer vibes hinted at in the one ad that I saw a month prior.
Boy, was I wrong!
The show focuses on married couple Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) Hammond. They’re the typical suburbanite family that’s more or less fallen into the humdrum routine of daily life; and being real estate agents isn’t adding any flair to things either, no matter how successful they might be. Simply put, life is boring. Yet one day everything changes when Sheila, mid house showing, gets sick. Like, really sick. Like, she paints the walls with vomit, and that’s not an exaggeration.
Naturally, the Hammonds lose the bid, and Sheila loses her heartbeat.
That’s right kids, this is a zombie show!
Despite being dead, Sheila finds that she has a whole new zeal for life that she was missing before. She’s beginning to find energy she never had before, is more confident, and things are genuinely heating up in what was starting to be a fizzling love life in the Hammond household. For a while, Joel isn’t really complaining all that much. However, this happiness isn’t meant to last for long as Sheila begins to realize that the only thing she can eat now is, of all things, people.
From there, things actually still manage to get worse as a bothersome neighbor (who is also an offider of the L.A.P.D.) begins to get suspicious of Joel and Sheila’s change in moods and unusual activities. Not only that, but their failed attempts at trying to keep their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) a safe distance away from their co-op murder sprees only manages to drag her in deeper along with her friend who also happens to be aforementioned cop’s stepson.
Now as a family the Hammonds must band together to keep this deadly secret. After all, the family that slays together, stays together.
My first impressions of Santa Clarita Diet were more or less “holy crap, this is funny”. By the time the first season wrapped a few more expletives were added to that realization, but I ended on more or less the same note. Comedy beats were often unexpected and out of left field, but weren’t so awkward or out of place that you weren’t put on the spot or missing the punchline. I ranged from slight chuckles to full on hearty, belly rolling laughs with each episode, and not a single moment felt exhausted or pushed too far. Props to the writing team on this one!
Not to sound cliche, but the chemistry between these actors sold me even when the comedy went a little beyond my comfort zone. Barrymore and Olyphant are actors of legendary proportions, so the idea that they were able to sell this show isn’t really news. However, equal amounts of credit must be given to the supporting cast in this show as well. When icons such as Nathan Fillion, Patton Oswalt, and Portia de Rossi aren’t stealing the limelight, Hewson as daughter Abby and nerdy neighbor kid and best friend Eric Bemis (Skylar Gisondo) do more than their fare share to keep the side stories of Santa Clarita Diet moving often being even more charming than the two show leads in their award journey to maybe, possibly more than friends?
The plot isn’t always whacky comedy and bemusing meltdowns either. This show has a heart at the center of everything, even when Sheila is chomping away at the less than reputable inhabitants of Santa Clarita. Family is very important to the Hammonds. Even as they struggle to hold on to any semblance of normalcy, their dedication to keep each other safe and happy is tantamount. This truly is a beautiful family show, just don’t be too put off by Sheila’s spaghetti and meatballs which are actually kidneys and liver atop muscle-sinew noodles (don’t worry, everyone else really is eating spaghetti and meatballs).
Santa Clarita Diet also promises to make the most of your time. The thirty minute episodes are absolutely perfect for binge watching or stretching out over a few lunch periods (not for the squeamish, just a warning). With ten episodes, nothing becomes filler either which makes every episode even better.
My only disappointment was the finale, which honestly, was anything but. It’s clear that Santa Clarita Diet is anticipating being okayed for a second season, because not a single story arc was wrapped at the end. This was borderline unforgivable given how amazing the show was right up until the point that the credits rolled on episode ten, but after a second thought I realized that there was absolutely no way they could continue both the flow of the series on these time slots and actually conclude everything in that time frame.
Don’t get me wrong, it was still a little cheap feeling. I can still promise that regardless of that Santa Clarita Diet is worth every second of your time./
If you haven’t been paying attention, I obviously highly recommend watching this show. It’s short, it’s funny, and it has substance. Sadly, there isn’t even a whisper of news as to when we can expect season two (understandable since it just aired last month) but with more fans, hopefully we can guarantee more laughs alongside the Hammonds and maybe even a few new reveals as to what it is that has caused this zombie-ism?
Hopefully, the next time we see the Hammond clan there won’t be two people munching suburbanites in the household. Or do we want that?
Seen Santa Clarita Diet already? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Final Verdict: 5 / 5
Santa Clarita Diet is currently streaming all ten episodes on Netflix.