The Sunday Review: The Santa Clarita Diet (TV Series)
Shock Factor
Plot Development

DO you ever find yourself thinking that what TV really needs is a suburban zombie comedy? Me neither. But luckily for us, creator Victor Fresco has blessed us with Santa Clarita Diet, the new horror-comedy series from Netflix. Starring Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore, they play married couple and real estate agents Joel and Sheila (can’t get more normal than that), who find themselves having to accept a “new normal “ in suburban America (considering the recent state of America, that’s a horror story in itself.) This “new normal” isn’t easy, however; on account of Shelia becoming a zombie who needs to eat people to you know, live.

Barrymore and Olyphant are a surprisingly compatible comedic duo. Sheila is relatively unfazed by her transformation into a man-eating zombie whilst her husband Joel accepts her undead status, asides from his occasional freak-outs, which is where Olyphant’s comedic talents lie.

Determined to make their marriage work, the couple kills “bad” people, be it a sex-trafficker, paedophile, or road hog, for Shelia to eat. Little Sheila leaps onto the back of her chosen lunch and chomps down on their neck, all the while wearing her new pink ‘kill’ poncho and pink gloves; obviously, she doesn’t want to get blood all over her nice clothes.

The humour in this show mostly comes from the juxtaposition of the bloody murderous horror with the pristine suburban setting. Sheila and her neighbour gossiping in her clean and expensive kitchen as Joel hoists his newest victim over their wooden garden fence is an outrageously funny scene.

This is not to say it doesn’t deserve credit where it’s due as a horror show, too. In the first episode, Sheila seductively licks an admirer’s fingers – before deciding to bite them clean off. And chew them. She is making quick work of her snack when her husband finds her on their perfectly mowed lawn chomping down on some fresh intestines like a scene out of The Walking Dead, and the rest of the series is just as bloody.

I warn you now, DO NOT watch this show while you are eating.

The combination of murder, ridiculous secrets, and comedy accompanied with the cul-de-sac setting is reminiscent of Desperate Housewives or Devious Maids – so much so that I was surprised that Marc Cherry wasn’t involved in Santa Clarita Diet‘s conception.

The first season of Santa Clarita Diet is currently available to sink your teeth into on Netflix.