Short And Sweet, Santa Clarita Diet Is Bloody Good Fun That'll Only Take 5 Hours To Binge
Confession time - I'm a sucker for moderate gore and dark comedy. So it came as no surprise when I found myself gleefully devoured all ten episodes of 'Santa Clarita Diet' in a single weekend when the first season premiered last year.
Much like how I find pimple-popping videos extremely satisfying, there's just something really cathartic about watching fictional characters bloody something up on screen and making cavalier jokes about it afterwards.
At this point, I feel like I should also point out that I'm a somewhat well-adjusted young adult who is completely aware that the show is fictional and does not advocate cannibalism. Believe it or not, the latter is a thing people argue about on YouTube.
Granted, the show may not be everyone's thing, especially if graphic scenes of Drew Barrymore chomping on human guts and blood exploding everywhere make you squeamish
The Netflix horror-comedy stars Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as married real estate agents Sheila and Joel Hammond, living a seemingly mundane life with teenage daughter Abby in the idyllic city of Santa Clarita.
That is, until Sheila develops an uncontrollable appetite for, um, human flesh. From there, the show follows the Hammonds' attempts to source for a constant supply of human meat (bad people only) as the search for a cure and deal with curious neighbours.
TV shows about zombies are not new, but 'Santa Clarita Diet' certainly stands out with a fresh, comedic spin on the often depressing and apocalyptic subgenre
For one, the show straight up ignores typical zombie tropes, even going as far as to avoid using the dreaded Z word.
Instead of the groaning, brain-craving mass of decaying creatures we're used to seeing on screen, Drew Barrymore's newly-undead Sheila finds that she now has a lot more energy, is more outgoing and optimistic, and just generally (and ironically) more alive than her usual self.
In 'Santa Clarita Diet', the "zombie virus" doesn't even come close to reaching apocalyptic proportions, and neither are the undead quarantined, isolated, or shot through the head to curb the "infection". Rather, it attempts to show that the "undead" are not total monsters and are deserving of love too... which is where Sheila's unwaveringly loyal husband comes in.
Timothy Olyphant gets to flex his comedic chops as Sheila's exasperated but unconditionally loyal husband, who's determined to maintain some sort of normalcy in their lives while aiding and abetting his wife's cannibalistic tendencies.
Add the duo's amazing chemistry and impeccable comedic timing to the mix, and you have a show that's fun and light enough to snack on after a stressful week.
The events leading to the end of Season 1 left us with one heck of a cliffhanger, which [SPOILER ALERT] involved Sheila chaining herself in the basement and Joel getting admitted to a mental institution
As cliffhangers are wont to do, we're left with more questions than answers. How long 'til Sheila goes full-on zombie? Will Joel escape in time to find the last vital ingredient of the cure? Most importantly, will the second season live up to expectations that were built up throughout Season 1?
Finally, after a year-long wait, we're finally graced with Season 2 of 'Santa Clarita Diet', which premiered on Netflix last Friday, 23 April. Needless to say, I parked my butt in front of my laptop and binged all 10 episodes over the weekend. Again. :)
Season 2 picks up where the previous one left off. Right off the bat, the cliffhanger is resolved pretty quickly... as there are bigger problems and complications in store for the Hammonds.
As it turns out, Sheila is not the only "undead" in town. People are disappearing into thin air in Santa Clarita, while ghosts from the past return to haunt the Hammonds in the form of a suspicious sheriff's deputy and a not-quite-dead old friend.
This season, the story also branches out to explore the centuries-old mythology behind Sheila's "undead" condition, complete with spider-like blood balls, dubious seafood, and - wait for it - zombie hunters.
Through it all, Joel and Sheila tries to maintain some sort of normalcy in their lives, like focusing on their real estate jobs and dealing with their daughter's newfound headstrong persona.
With that said, the younger half of the main cast truly gets a lot of opportunity to shine this time around, with Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo delivering some of the most enjoyable (and endearingly awkward) scenes this season
Dealing with a mum who's turned into the "undead" has ignited newfound passion within Abby (played by Liv Hewson). High school drama being the least of her worries, Abby now has her mind set on making a difference in the world, specifically in anti-fracking and environmental activism.
Meanwhile, best friend and next door neighbour Eric (Skyler Gisondo) is offered an opportunity to step out of his comfort zone... and perhaps move on from his crush on Abby (with an undead lover, no less).
Despite feeling rushed and a little too convenient in certain parts, Season 2 definitely left me feeling hungry for more by the time the final confrontation rolled around. And yep, it ended in a cliffhanger, and a pretty explosive one too.
Everything I loved about the first season is, thankfully, still present and even amped up a few notches. The humour - as dark and unexpected as they may be - is on point, especially since the cast seems to have grown into and definitely feel more natural in their roles this time around.
There's also enough jaw-dropping gory scenes to keep people like me satisfied. :p [SPOILER ALERT] I particularly love this one sequence where Sheila blacks out and creeps on a neo-Nazi before chomping him to death in a parking lot in the middle of the night. Blood explodes everywhere. It was glorious. [End of spoiler]
Thanks to the literally explosive cliffhanger, I'm already eager to see how long Joel and Sheila can keep their ever-expanding charade up. Here's to hoping we'll get a Season 3!
'Santa Clarita Diet' is currently streaming exclusively on Netflix. Watch our exclusive interview with Drew and Tim HERE:
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