Drew Barrymore is a suburban mom with irresistible cravings.
On a list of all things tired, overdone and played out, zombies and family sitcoms must be near the top — which makes it all the more impressive that Santa Clarita Diet is so good.
The new Netflix original series follows the lives of Sheila (played by the standout Drew Barrymore) and Joel Hammond (Timothy Olyphant) as they navigate their demanding careers in real estate, the struggles of marriage and raising a teenage daughter (Liv Hewson) — and Sheila’s uncontrollable urge to devour human flesh.
One day, while showing a house, Sheila ejects “an outrageous amount of vomit” (it’s gross), and everything changes.
The show immediately takes advantage of its TV-MA rating, with dialogue that is believably peppered with profanity and gore that achieves the Sam Raimi-esque balance between hilarious and disgusting.
Barrymore does a phenomenal job playing the newly uninhibited real estate agent. She’s strong and motivated, and thoroughly enjoys the perks of her inexplicable condition. Olyphant takes the role of the straight man, and frets about zombiehood’s impact on their domestic life; it’s a great gender inversion of a common trope.
Series creator Victor Fresco, the mind behind the underrated Better Off Ted, has crafted believable characters in a decidedly ridiculous circumstance. Their dialogue never comes off forced, and everyone acts in ways that ring true.
Don’t let undead overload put you off — Santa Clarita Diet is a smart, funny, socially aware comedy that’s well worth a watch.