Brain Smoothies and Finger French Fries for dinner

I just recently started the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet (with a play on the fad South Beach Diet) starring Drew Barrymore and definitely have mixed opinions on the show. A once-normal married couple,  Sheila and Joel, are real estate agents who live and work in Santa Clarita, California. Their lives get turned upside down when one day Shelia begins her transformation from a regular mother and wife into a flesh-eating zombie. Once Sheila pukes up her insides and dies, she truly comes “alive”. After feasting on their creepy neighbor, Shiela discovers she can only survive on human bodies. The family, including their daughter Abby, take it upon themselves to kill people in order to supply Shiela with meals. With more people beginning to go missing, including a local sheriff,  the neighborhood is becoming more and more suspicious. Along with eating more humans, Sheila must find a cure to her unknown condition before she disintegrates away and completely dies off. With the unconditional love and support from her family through these absurd new challenges, Sheila attempts to create normalcy as an undead human.

This series offers a lot of explicit and raw humor that definitely had me laughing out loud. Between making brain smoothies and cursing out her neighbors, Sheila’s self-exploration of her new personality is very entertaining. The short, action-packed episodes keep the audience on the edge of their seats as new conflicts are presented before they have time to reflect on the craziness. An important aspect of this comedy is the lack of depth and sense of morality that makes the everything so hilarious (and very unbelievable). Amidst this new issue, the family simply sets their morals and common sense aside to murder people. Quite literally without a blink of an eye. Sheila will snack on a man’s fingers like they are French fries and everyone at the dinner table is okay about it. Normal… right??



What is also interesting is the juxtaposition of this sunny, suburban, family neighborhood in California with the flesh-eating, zombie killer who happens to live there. This highlights that there is more than what we see on the surface and every family has secrets hiding behind their closed doors. For example, once the police begin searching for a man who Joel killed, instead of being worried, the man’s wife seems rather chipper and almost too at ease with the whole situation. She is seen flirting with one of the woman cops in many scenes, insinuating she has been having a lesbian affair during the search for her (dead) husband. Every family has their own unique dynamic, you know, whether your mom is having an affair or eating other people. There is no perfect household.


This article was an interesting look into some of these elements.


An aspect that turned me away from the show was it’s very graphic scenes. Without warning, I was watching Drew Barrymore biting off a man’s fingers one by one with blood squirting in every direction. In the next shot, I was watching her dig through a man’s dead body with his organs and limbs all over the ground. I was so disgusted and caught off guard that I had to switch to a different show for a little while. The questionable and almost inappropriate level of gore could throw people off. I am also not sure how long the writers can keep the show going because I feel the shock and humor may be hard to keep fresh. Although in general, the engaging plotline and laughable characters make the show a good watch.





-Sarah Holt

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7 Responses to Brain Smoothies and Finger French Fries for dinner

  1. mediaphiles says:

    It’s pretty crazy how fast Netflix has been pumping out new shows. While I often appreciate the outrageous, quirky, and unconventional comedy, I think I’ll steer clear of this series. Blood and guts is not my thing. It is interesting to think about how Netflix is finding niches in all genres to give every type of viewer something that they’d love.

    – Lydia Geisel

  2. mediaphiles says:

    Wow, Netflix is always coming up with something new. I agree with Lydia though, blood and guts are not my favorite. This show sounds like it has an interesting premise though, gore aside. I wonder how many seasons this show will run for. I like how you mentioned it provides commentary on every family having their own secrets, even if they seem perfectly normal on the outside. Luckily this is one problem my family doesn’t have! -Caitlin Herlihy

  3. mediaphiles says:

    Sarah, thank you for your comments! I definitely need to check this out! I can only wonder if, as you mentioned, there is more lying beneath the surface of this show and the writers are working to pass subtle messages along to the audience about the normality that all of the characters appear to have in their lives, while there is a zombie and her family, killing innocent people. I also like the idea of playing with the trope of- if we kill people to keep our mom alive, are we doing something wrong?

    -Luke Dellorso

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I’m so glad you did your post on this show. I just saw it on my netflix and was curious about it. I don’t know that I would really like it, as you said some of those more graphic scenes about eating another human would really get to me. I think the idea of eating other people would go a little above and beyond what I am comfortable watching. I may have to watch an episode just to check it out.

    Catherine Maier

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I think I must just be an uneasy viewer when show or movies with zombie genres come out. I honestly have never felt comfortable watching them. I always get real squirmish and just turn it off, so when I saw the trailer to this I naturally decided against it. Though I still don’t plan on watching, it is certainly an interesting concept.

    Michael Cyphers

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I was reading the first half of the post as though this was your typical show (I didn’t see the blood draining out of the cooler in the picture) and then I hit the part about munching on fingers at the dinner table and had to do a double take. This show definitely seems like one of a kind as it seems to mix the whole zombie/walking dead theme with your typical sitcom. I may be wrong in that assumption, but either way it looks like a whole new style of show and I am definitely interested in watching it.

    -Max Lissette

  7. mediaphiles says:

    First off, I always love your blog posts. I think they are very thorough and well written! As far as this series, this seems like the most bizarre idea ever. I enjoyed how you said that every family has issues, even if it is a human eating mother. For me, a series always has to have a bigger meaning and I believe if I went into the series thinking that there may be a bigger idea then maybeeee I will enjoy the show.

    Katherine Naylor

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