Drew Barrymore isn’t my cup of tea. My frustration with her lies somewhere between I can’t unsee her dancing with a pink feather boa in Never Been Kissed and her refusal to move the entirety of her mouth when she talks. It doesn’t help that her acting spirit animal is a mediocre drama student. Barrymore’s acting seems needy. She tries too hard and it’s is painfully obvious. It is like the Tom Green-iness never washed off of her. In Santa Clarita Diet she stays true to form. Barrymore plays Sheila Hammond, a suburban housewife who inexplicably turns into a zombie. I found myself liking Santa Clarita Diet despite Barrymore rather than because of her immobile jawline. The chasm between the cringe and the enjoyment made watching the recently released netflix series difficult. Until I found the perfect solution.
The Drew Barrymore Solution:
Tell yourself that a common side effect of being undead is frenetic neediness. Take all of the ticks and habits that make you want to turn off the show and tell yourself, “that’s how zombies are.” Bless their little black hearts. Make the paradigm shift in your mind to assume the personality change within the character. This theory works! For one, the format allows it. Barrymore is “normal” for only a few minutes at the beginning of the show. There is not enough footage to truly get a baseline read for what her character was like pre-zombie. As a viewer, we are safe to assume what her personality was like in order to tolerate what her character has become.
Without this helpful tool you will be stuck watching the rest of the show thinking, “What if they cast Christina Hendricks instead?” Don’t do that to yourself. It is bad enough that there is one more zombie show on TV. But seriously, what if they cast Cameron Diaz? Just kidding. That would be more of the same.
Without the Barrymore Solution in Santa Clarita Diet there are so many nuggets that you will miss. There is the incessant puking that is like Linda Blair with morning sickness at Six Flags. There is a fun thought experiment about who would you eat, if you had to feast on brains because you are a zombie (the answer is a young, single Hitler.) There is the literal good cop/bad cop setup built into the story because the Hammond’s house is sandwiched between a sheriff and cop’s house.
The best nugget is the Timothy Olyphant nugget. Olyphant and his charming whisper of grey hair is the best part of Santa Clarita Diet. He is always game to solve problems for his needy wife. He’s a terrible liar, but he lies anyway. Shelia’s jokes are terrible but he laughs anyway. He would literally kill a young, single Hitler for Sheila. He is way more attractive than that creepy stalker routine Christian Grey does.
The zombie horror genre has been tapped out. Before we put it to bed with one final knife to the earhole, give Santa Clarita Diet another try with a skewed perspective.