Friday, February 3, 2017

Santa Clarita Diet: Episode 1

1. So Then a Bat or a Monkey
Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel Hammond (Timothy Olyphant) are realtors in a suburb of Santa Clarita, California. She wakes up one morning with a sharp pain in her stomach. She shrugs it off and they head to work, where they are introduced to new transfer Gary West (Nathan Fillion). Eager to sell, the husband and wife tandem takes a couple on a tour of one of their newly-renovated properties, where she throws up an insane amount of vomit along with what seems to be an internal organ. She uses the bathroom as he continues the tour. He later finds her unconscious and seemingly dead on the floor, but she quickly regains consciousness. Later that day she discovers that she has no heartbeat anymore. Their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) enlists the help of their geeky neighbor Eric (Skyler Gisondo), who concludes that her mother is technically a zombie. The four of them keep it a secret, until Gary drops by and insists on flirting with her. She ends up eating his fingers first, until Joel arrives and finds her feasting on his intestines.

That was quite weird, but I guess it’s because most of the zombie narratives we see either on TV or film are too serious for their own good. One film comes to mind, though. Warm Bodies. That one was also a comedy and it was also as strange as it was funny. Santa Clarita Diet starts slow, but given its sitcom format, they can easily fill in the half an hour run with something worthwhile. The pilot is a good introduction. For now, they seem to be staying faithful to the popular zombie lore. Perhaps, the difference is that this is no invasion, which is a good thing. As such, they can actually focus on the family angle instead of turning it all into one big episodic chase after another. The premise is kind of bizarre, but still enjoyable if you just ride along. As for the humor, it’s a good balance between circumstantial and the personality of the characters. Let’s see how they will keep up with Sheila’s needs and if they can still manage to keep it hilarious but not off-putting due to the gore.

“I feel like a bus station shit in my mouth.” –Sheila Hammond

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