• Sun. Dec 10th, 2023

A Scathing Review of Netflix Original: Santa Clarita Diet

BySimon Fern

Feb 15, 2017

A series about a couple of murderous real estate agents, Santa Clarita Diet is pushing the genre definitions of horror-comedy by managing to be neither funny nor scary; it also gives further evidence to the fact that Netflix Original should be understood as an indication of provenance rather than merit.

It works as entertainment in the same way that my laundry basket occasionally doubles up as a doorstop when I can’t find anything more suitable.

At 76 words into this review I have already begun to run out of things to comment on; it feels like writing a description of a perfectly functional but otherwise ordinary table. I can acknowledge the fact that this show does have a cast, dialogue and a plot – none of these are particularly worth the adjectives it would take to qualify them, and suffice to say you do not need this show in your life.

In the first episode, a repeated bout of ‘humour’ seems to stem from the fact that the leading woman, Sheila, enjoys receiving oral sex. Whichever creative genius worked out that sex can be a source of instant laughs should be applauded for their pioneering spirit and ability to carve out revolutionary spaces for cutting-edge comedy. The realtor couple swing from one hilarious moment to the next with little character development or overarching plot, which is fantastic because it means the show’s inevitable cancellation after a similarly lacklustre second series won’t leave any loose threads.

Series creator Victor Fresco previously worked on My Name is Earl and has had stints writing for ALF and Andy Richter Controls the Universe – knowing this is helpful as it lets you avoid future viewing mistakes rather than because you might want to follow up on such a creative genius.

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant are both likeable and do their best with what has been given to them. The teenagers, Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo, are clearly talented and will hopefully have this show as a mundane footnote to more interesting careers, god forbid they should peak here.

Somehow, I made it through five 30 minute episodes of this series before realising that maybe there were better things to be doing with my limited time on this planet. I think I let it go on that long because there wasn’t much else happening and it filled a gap that would otherwise have been spent critically examining my life.

If you are in a similar position and need light-hearted entertainment to waste the hours away before nightly unconsciousness, Santa Clarita Diet is vanilla enough not to leave a bad taste, and you’re unlikely to actively hate it.

Image: JamesDeMers @pixabay

By Simon Fern

President 2016-2017 Comment Editor (2015-2016) Fringe Theatre and Dance Editor (2016) 4th Year History and English Literature student.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *