It’s another beautiful day in sunny Santa Clarita and wife/husband real estate duo Shelia and Joel Hammond are about show (and hopefully sell) another lovely property. The perspective home buyers are looking at the home for the third time so the Hammond’s are confident they will make the sale.
Everything is going well as they make their way into the master bedroom to view the perfect way the sun lights the room, when Shelia, quite out of nowhere, vomits profusely…
After showing the clients out, Joel returns to check on Shelia and finds her, and the entire master bathroom, covered in vomit. He also discovers she has no pulse.
Upon returning home a few more discoveries about Shelia’s condition are unearthed as she scarfs down a package of raw hamburger meat and slices herself open to reveal she doesn’t bleed now, but oozes a strange goo.
At about this time, we as the viewer know what is going on and soon, we guess, others will too. If this show goes like most of the others, we also know where it’s going. But here’s the thing about The Santa Clarita Diet. The Hammond’s want to go about life as normal as possible, especially for their daughter Abby, while they try to navigate whatever is happening to Shelia, thus confiding solely to their neighbor’s super nerd son, Eric (who is the one who gives Shelia a formal diagnosis…undead).
***You may be asking yourselves why they turned to Eric for this particular situation. Well, think about those of kind people who are super smart, a little socially awkward and the kind of curious that lets you know that they just might keep a secret…That is Eric. More fascinated by the Hammond’s news than repulsed, he quickly draws the most logical conclusion to Shelia’s recent change in culinary cravings. She has either contracted a version of rabies from a foreign bat or monkey or…she’s a zombie.***
Remember the thing about the Santa Clarita Diet? The reason the why thoughts of a “normal” life are even entering Joel and Shelia’s minds is because, you see, unlike a typical story of the undead, Shelia isn’t a mindless, crazed, ravenous version of herself. In fact, if you were to ask her, she’s never felt more alive. Her senses are heightened, she is more confident and more fearless.
The old Shelia would have started her day promptly at 7am with a green smoothie, gotten to the office on time and ready to calmly handle the constant berating of her boss and gone out to show the latest and hottest new property with her equally calm and collected husband.
The NEW Shelia sleeps only two hours a night, briskly walks the neighborhood in the mornings, aggressively shows and sells houses, has spontaneous one on one time with her husband and goes out for drinks and dancing with the neighborhood wives.
Needless to say, the new Shelia is rousing suspicion and living in a neighborhood that is extremely routine and social makes keeping up appearances crucial…so does having neighbors that are cops on either side of you.
When Dan (neighbor on the right and also Eric’s stepdad) isn’t too busy busting Rick’s (super Dad and green thumb neighbor on the right) chops for being PD instead of a part of the Sherriff’s department, you can be sure that he is up in everyone else’s business, making sure it is known, he’s got his eyes on you. In fact, Joel can’t even spray his lawn at 2:45am for ants without Dan coming over unannounced the next morning to find out why.
Now, with more eyes on them than usual and as Shelia’s condition evolves, so must the means by which sustenance is procured and Joel, Shelia, Abby and Eric must be more cautious than ever.
The story, so far, unfolds over a series of ten half hour episodes:
So Then a Bat or a Monkey
We Can’t Kill People
We Can Kill People
The Farting Sex Tourist
Man Eat Man
Attention to Detail
Strange or Just Inconsiderate
How Much Vomit
Baka, Bile and Baseball Bats
As the episode titles and my above description might suggest, a (mostly) comical approach is taken on this tale of the undead.
Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, who star as Shelia and Joel, get the laughs started pretty quickly with their ‘over the top’ ideas of maintaining normal life amongst this new chaos. Add in the dynamic between their strong willed daughter Abby (played brilliantly by Liv Hewson) and the ‘Gary and Wyatt-esque’ neighbor boy Eric (Skyler Gisondo) aka my favorite character, rival law enforcement neighbors, notable cameos and Easter eggs and you are guaranteed to laugh out loud.
Sense of humor is a must all around for this one as loads of things are made light of, including but NOT limited to, a loved one turning into someone that survives only on the blood and guts of other living people.
The TV-MA is an accurate rating as language and situations are adult and a bit graphic.
For me, it was a highly enjoyable, evenly paced and different take on what has become a favorite fandom for me (zombies) and I look forward to seeing where the show/cast takes us in Season 2.
Like most of the other Netflix original series I have watched, The Santa Clarita Diet, is well worth binging on. Enjoy!