Friday, May 26, 2017

When Mom is Zombie Dexter, or Thoughts on Santa Clarita Diet

The Addams Family lived in a spooky house in a suburban neighborhood and made no effort to fit in, whereas Joel and Shelia Hammond in the Netflix horror comedy series Santa Clarita Diet (2017) live a spooky lifestyle in a suburban neighborhood and spend every episode hiding it from the neighbors, who unfortunately, happen to be cops.  There’s an obnoxiously alpha LA County sheriff on one side and a less-obnoxious but equally alpha Santa Monica police officer on the other.
Drew Barrymore is Shelia Hammond, a successful realtor who comes down with an unexplained virus that causes extreme vomiting, heart cessation and an uncontrollable urge to consume human flesh.  Timothy Olyphant is Joel, her realtor/business partner/husband who is just trying to keep up with the changes in their relationship.  Shelia is more like an iZombie (2015) zombie; she retains her consciousness and personality, but also gains a new self-confidence due to lowered inhibitions and impulse control.  They’re also one of the happiest couples since Gomez and Morticia in their matching American Psycho (2000) murder ponchos because Joel and Shelia are one of those couples who do everything together.
The high school sweethearts do their best to kill and eat only bad people, folks who deserve to die; “Someone like a young, single Hitler/We’d be heroes!”  From Victor Fresco of My Name is Earl (2004), the series has a witty, breezy script and lots of banter that is balanced against all the finger munching and f-bombs; I’ve never heard Timothy Olyphant swear so much, and I’ve seen Deadwood (2004). 
Santa Clarita Diet features an impressive array of guest stars including Nathan Fillion, Thomas Lennon, Patton Oswalt, Portia de Rossi and Grace Zabriskie.  Also starring Mary Elizabeth Ellis, the waitress from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005) playing a character with an actual name and Richard T. Jones from Terminator: The SarahConnor Chronicles (2008) as one of those cop neighbors.

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