Skip to main content

Drew Barrymore Takes A Bite Out of Suburbia in the Hilariously Dark "Santa Clarita Diet": Review

Santa Clarita Diet: TV Review



The less you know about the premise of the new Netflix comedy Santa Clarita Diet before you watch it, the better. You'll get a pretty good indication of whether you're going to like or not in the first fifteen minutes. Without revealing too much, Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant play Sheila and Joel Hammond, married suburban realtors whose lives are irrevocably changed after Sheila develops an appetite for human flesh. 

It's definitely not a show that is going to appeal to everyone. There are several gross-out moments and some of the jokes are really dark. But I found it to be hilarious. When trying to think of other shows that I could compare the tone of Diet to, I came up short. It's goofy and sharp and unlike anything else on TV.

Santa Clarita Diet marks Barrymore's first starring on television since 2000 Malibu Road (a primetime soap produced by Aaron Spelling) was canceled after six episodes in 1992. Unlike her recent film appearances, where she has been a grounding presence, here Barrymore is clearly having fun. Her performance is big and zany, which is also a good way to describe the show. Olyphant has a much trickier role. He fares best when he's trying to match Barrymore's daffy spirit. Liv Hewson is great as Abby, the couple's teenage daughter. This is one of the rare shows where the side plots, mostly involved Abby's adventures with Eric (Skyler Gisondo), are as entertaining as the main ones.

Perhaps because the show try so hard to be unique and singular, not all of its aims are serviced equally.  It's part horror-comedy and part satirical look at self-betterment techniques in suburban culture. Unfortunately, the satire element becomes far less pronounced as the ten episodes go on. Some of my favorite jokes contrast the increasingly preposterous situations with commentary on the prosaic details of married life. More than anything these ten episodes are an indication that the show has a ton of potential to hopefully grow its world in future seasons. While it may not be for everyone, Santa Clarita Diet has such a specific brand of strangeness that must be admired. 

Have you binged Santa Clarita Diet yet? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Ten Best TV Shows of 2019

Best of TV 201910. BH90210 (Fox) What an unexpected delight this show was. While the original Beverly Hills, 90210 was before my time, I found plenty to enjoy in this funny and shiny reboot. The premise sees the cast playing fictionalized versions of themselves preparing to reboot the '90s teen drama that made them famous. Their willingness to poke fun at their images made for a great satire of celebrity culture. 9. The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4 in the UK, Netflix in the US)In its tenth year, this show is old news. Nothing new or surprising can be evinced from this format. So why on Earth did this season nearly bring me to tears multiple times? I don't have an explanation, I just know how it made me feel. Perhaps it had something to do with this crop of contestants, but the nicest reality competition there is made for some for most pleasant viewing experiences of the year.  8. Mrs. Fletcher (HBO) Based on the Tom Perrotta novel, Mrs. Fletcher charts a woman's journey …

The Ten Best of Films of 2019

Top Ten Films of 2019 10. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Marielle Heller is an incredible director and she's made yet another great film. 
9. Pain and Glory

Pedro Almodovar's deeply felt film is about the difficult process of aging and the painstaking process of creating art. It has one of the year's best endings. 
8. Non-Fiction

Olivier Assayas delivers another very interesting look at the way technology has changed culture and our relationships. This time, it's packaged in a sleek comedy about the affairs of people in the publishing industry.
7. Once Upon a Time in HollywoodI haven't waded into the online discourse about this movie because I truly don't care, but all I know is that I thoroughly loved Quentin Tarantino's carefully crafted ode to a Hollywood that wasn't. 
6. Hustlers

Lorene Scafaria's Hustlers is a very smart and funny crime film that has a lot to say about economic conditions in America. The screenplay is structured in a really e…

Best of the Decade: The Top Ten Films of the 2010s

As the 2010s draw to a close, it's time to look back on the best films of the decade. 
10. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)The 2010s at the movies were defined by the massive success of the superhero genre. For me, the best superhero flick of the decade was Christopher Nolan's trilogy capping The Dark Knight Rises. The scale was epic and comic book-y, but the human drama was real and powerful. Watching this movie is really fun, but not because they shoehorn in a joke every five minutes to keep the tone light like the factory-made Marvel movies. Also, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle is a really underrated performance. Every minute she's on screen is terrific. 
9. Muppets Most Wanted (2014)It's been a decade of real ups-and-downs for the puppet-filled comedy group. It started out strong with a comeback in The Muppets (2011), but the lukewarm box office receipts for the sequel basically killed their viability as a big screen franchise. They tried television again with a funny an…