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The Santa Clarita Diet - TV Series Review

Home > Everywhere > Comedy | Quirky | Television
by Jennifer Muirhead (subscribe)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt
Published February 12th 2017
Live your best life with this new diet

Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and Sheila (Drew Barrymore) are a husband and wife team of successful real estate agents living in Santa Clarita, California. One day while showing a house to some prospective clients, Sheila suddenly produces what is later described as "an insane amount of vomit". She retreats to the bathroom where Joel finds her, apparently dead, but after a minute she mysteriously revives. She seems happy and full of life, but soon finds that she can now only eat human flesh.

The Santa Clarita Diet, black comedy, dark tv shows, Netflix, Drew Barrymore
Sheila discovers she can make people smoothies.

The Santa Clarita Diet is a horror comedy series produced for Netflix, created by Victor Fresco. It's reminiscent of Weeds for the comic moments that come from the incompetence of the characters' criminal activities, but it's more graphic. Skip this one if you are especially grossed out by cannibalism, which there is a lot of, or vomit, which there is perhaps even more of. However, the violence is cartoonish and mostly played for laughs.

Drew Barrymore is believable as the ordinary suburban working mother who suddenly finds herself driven entirely by her id. She suddenly has the confidence to say what she thinks, has a massively increased libido, and believes she is finally "living her best life". There are two problems with this; One, she is not actually alive, and worries that her body will begin to deteriorate over time, and two, she eats people. Timothy Olyphant is brilliant as her patient, loving husband, who struggles to find a cure for her condition, and in the meantime to keep her fed.

They wrestle with the problem of whether it might be okay to kill people if they stick to only "bad guys", but of course it isn't that simple. Joel feels emasculated by his inability to murder people on demand, and confronted by his own mortality. Meanwhile Sheila worries that she is neglecting their daughter, Abby (Liv Hewson), who has struck up a friendship with their neighbour's nerdy loner son, Eric (Skyler Gisondo). The family worry that Sheila might really die (or whatever it's called when it happens to the undead) and will do whatever is necessary to stick together.

The Santa Clarita Diet, black comedy, dark tv shows, Netflix, Drew Barrymore, Liv Hewson
Abby opens the freezer.

The supporting cast do a fine job, including Richard T. Jones (of The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Why Did I get Married?) providing some eye candy as one of the two rival cops who live on either side of Sheila and Joel's house, Portia di Rossi as a scientist and Patton Oswalt as a doctor. If you either love or hate Nathan Fillion you will probably enjoy his brief cameo as a real estate agent who flirts with Sheila.

The Santa Clarita Diet is a quirky, dark comedy, which is not for the faint of heart. It will probably appeal to fans of shows like Weeds, Six Feet Under and American Horror Story.
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Why? Delivers dark comedy and decent acting
Where: Streaming on Netflix
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