2017-02-15 / Arts and Entertainment

New zombies show on Netflix will leave you wanting more


New Year's Resolutions. We all have them and this year was no exception.— PHOTO COURTESY OF NETFLIX— PHOTO COURTESY OF NETFLIX

My resolution this year was to curb my meat intake. Basically, I wanted to change my diet and to do so I starting substituting meat for tofu. Surprisingly, if cooked right, tofu is not bad at all, a fact that made the switch easier.

I ran into one very big problem — I love meat.

This lead to the inevitable outcome of failure to hold true to my dietary plan. It happens, something like 81 percent of New Year's resolutions fail and that means I am probably not alone. Tofu was a decent dietary choice and I enjoyed doing it, I just loved bacon more.

My diet lasted about five weeks, give or take a few days, and I am still left with the desire to find a better diet.

And I think I’ve found it in "Santa Clarita Diet," although not in the strictest sense.

“Santa Clarita Diet” is an American horror-comedy series created by Victor Fresco and with the first season being recently released on the streaming service Netflix. “Santa Clarita Diet” stars Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore.

It is wonderful to have Barrymore back in a meaningful way. She has not acted in anything remotely good or significant since 2009's "Whip It."

"Santa Clarita Diet" falls right into Barrymore's acting niche, the goofy funny rom-com style she is well known for. "Santa Clarita Diet" is not your typical rom-com, but is as funny as I have seen coming from Barrymore.

Shining as Sheila Hammond, Barrymore's comedic timing is on point and brings a lightheartedness to the newly zombified housewife, which is especially useful to undercut the necessary gory scenes.

Timothy Olyphant comes back to the zombie genre in "Santa Clarita Diet," his first foray being in the often underrated "The Crazies."

He was brilliant in "Justified" and he brings that brilliance to "Santa Clarita Diet." It just could not be in a more different way. In "Justified" it was all swagger he brought to the character of Raylan Givens.

Playing the husband Joel Hammond in "Santa Clarita Diet," Olyphant is just as brilliant but in the completely opposite way. For all of Raylan Givens swagger and confidence exuding mannerisms, Joel Hammond is an anxiety riddled bundle.

Joel's manic behavior playing off Sheila's newfound overconfidence and bravado is what makes "Santa Clarita Diet" the wonderful show it is. The contrast of characters and back and forth humor between both Hammonds makes "Santa Clarita Diet" the funniest show I have seen in years.

I would put it up against any comedy show to come out in years. For me it is as good as the first three seasons of "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

I will give it this one clarification though, and that is that "Santa Clarita Diet" is not your kids’ zombie show, "Santa Clarita Diet" is your parents’ zombie show.

What makes "Santa Clarita Diet" so good is its ability to use contrast of extremes. Earlier I talked about character contrast but my favorite contrast in "Santa Clarita Diet" is its contrast of life.

"Santa Clarita Diet" uses the sometimes extreme banality of life, like when Joel Hammond calls deciding to buy a set of knives a "life-altering decision" after his wife turns into a zombie. That contrast still makes me laugh.

I have never been married, but I can appreciate the trivialities of everyday life. "Santa Clarita Diet" contrasts the minutiae of everyday married life with the extremes of dealing with a zombie in the family, bringing a warmth to the show — and not one from overcooking, as is all too common in television shows.

"Santa Clarita Diet" is perfectly acclimated to my dietary needs, or at least it is replete with that necessary dose of humor everyone needs. Bringing humor and heart, "Santa Clarita Diet" is the television's equivalent of a delicatessen.

In the strictest sense, "Santa Clarita Diet" may not help my own personal dietary needs, but if I were to put it on the menu so to speak, "Santa Clarita Diet" would be Chinese food. Fantastic, easily digestible, and 30 minutes after finishing you’re left wanting more.

Jason Guyer is an avid moviegoer and works in the Graphics Department at the Eagle Times. For questions or comments he can be emailed at guyerj@eagletimes.com

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