If this show isn’t for you, you’ll know within minutes. The new comedy which seems to build itself as a happy go lucky, suburban type show, starts off with a very strange story, Sheila (played by Drew Barrymore) a realtor is a zombie and literal people eater, while her husband (played by (Timothy Olyphant) also a realtor, tries to keep their family together. The show from its start is weird but also strangely entertaining, from the off you think to yourself this won’t work, and rightly so, because it shouldn’t, but that’s where your wrong because strangely it does. I’ll admit I went into this thinking I would hate it, but by the time the first episode had ended I wanted to watch another (if only to just understand more of what I had just seen)
I feel like one thing should be pointed out, this isn’t the Walking Dead style of zombie series, so all you die hard zombie fans, it may not be for you. Shelia Joel Hammond are your so called everyday bland and boring married couple, they have a teenage daughter Abby, who typically sneers at her parents authority and at the very thought of her parents having sex, the families biggest worry (before Shelia dies and becomes a zombie) is that Joel can’t figure out how to work the toaster oven without burning the bread. The moment I realised that Santa Clarita Diet was going to be totally different than advertised, was when Sheila died, in the most weird and strange way I have seen on a Netflix series, that moment when Joel and Shelia are showing a couple around a house and all of a sudden, Shelia starts to erupt with an absurd amount of vomit all on the very clean carpet, she walks to the bathroom where she quickly sprays the entire walls and the whole bathroom in yellow vomit, then to finish off she coughs up an organ.
It was very strange, no reason was given why. The first couple of episodes certainly feel like the actors are slipping into their roles (this usually happens with new shows, especially comedy series) and the writers try to even out the shows strain of the suburban satire with the weird and strange condition that Shelia has seemed to have contracted for no reason and no for-warning.
It was Joel’s immediate acceptance of the whole situation that defined what this new dark comedy/satire show is all about. The comedy of a family trying to keep their lives together, even if it means chaos and also ending the lives of others so that Shelia can have food. It’s just about here that the series starts to delve in to the Dexter style of things (and not necessarily in a bad way). The Hammond’s must go about finding people who deserve to be killed and eaten, a plan that obviously goes wrong at every turn (hence the comedy element). New complications start to show up and it’s here that it gets more interesting in terms of setting its Moral compass and as the series goes on it becomes more and more serialised, the basic suburban parody jokes are left behind in favour of a hunt for a zombie cure that gets more and more twisted with every breakthrough. The series ends on a huge cliffhanger, even though a second series hasn’t been commissioned yet.
Personally I ended up enjoying Santa Clarita Diet and it’s first series, while it’s not for everyone and most people who are looking for a series Zombie drama (Walking Dead) won’t find it here, what they will find is a dark comedy that is easy to watch (if you are not bothered by the gore) and strangely enjoyable. For now I’ll be left with the image of Joel shaving a very hairy dead guy so that it’s easier for his wife to eat, while Shelia smiles and sucks the fat off some ribs.
The first series is currently on Nextflix.