Sunday, February 5, 2017

(January 2017)

"... On the other hand, maybe nothin’s impossible. Who would have ever thought an octopus and a kitten could fall in love?
"It’s on YouTube. You gotta see it. It’ll give you hope.”

There’s a select group of actors who, because of a Single Fantabulous Film (or TV Show) that they helped shepherd into reality, have got a lifetime Pass from me; they can choose to come out in whatever kind of film or series they want, and I will have no right to look at them askance or criticize them, because I’m eternally grateful for that Single Fantabulous Film (or TV Show).
Nicolas Cage immediately comes to mind. Because he produced E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire, I can forgive him for a lot, even (gulp) The Wicker Man remake.
There’s also Drew Barrymore, who now has two lifetime Passes from me: the first, for Donnie Darko (executive producer), and the second, for Santa Clarita Diet (again, executive producer). And she backed both up with her star power by appearing in the cast.
Thanx, Gertie!

“No. Don’t do anything, okay? Just relax.
“I’m dead. It can wait until tomorrow.”

Barrymore and co-star (and co-executive producer) Timothy Olyphant are husband and wife realtors, Sheila and Joel Hammond, doing their best to cope with Sheila’s new titular diet, which is (gasp!) human flesh.
Seriously, I haven’t had this much fun with anything zombie since Shaun of the Dead.
Which is why I’m talking about it here, outside of the ¡Q horror! rundown, since this isn’t really a horror show, so much as it is a comedy with some horror elements.

“Maybe we should just keep driving. Go home, get some clothes, and just never come back.”
“Well, that’s crazy! We can’t just run away. Where would we go?! Oh, we have so much equity in our house!”
“Ah! I didn’t think about the equity! I’m a monster.”

The beauty of the show though is, as much as it’s about the hijinx that result from Sheila’s zombiefication, it’s just as much about the way a family deals with seismic upheavals, about finding family wherever you can, and embracing the reality that, even if something’s changed, that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful.
And not only do we have Barrymore as the newly confident and energetic Sheila, and Olyphant as the weed-smoking, occasionally manic Joel, but there’s an excellent supporting cast here too, starting with Liv Hewson (as their headstrong daughter Abby) and Skyler Gisondo (as lovable creeper next door, Eric), and stretching out to the two cops who live on either side of the Hammonds (uh-oh), Richard T. Jones and Ricardo Chavira (who also happens to be the jerkface stepfather to the aforementioned lovable creeper Eric).
Oh! And a 2-episode appearance by Grace Zabriskie! So awesome, ‘cause we all know there is No Such Thing As Too Much Grace Zabriskie!
And for another dose of awesome, Portia de Rossi shows up at the tail end of the season (in a role that was apparently written specifically for her).

“I’m sorry. I’m not in the mood.”
“Just saying ‘Hello.’”
“I know your ‘Hello’s, honey, and that one was pouring me a glass of wine.”

If you’ve frequented the Iguana in the past, you’ll know that we’re pretty big here on atypical titles of bone-tired genres, and most everything zombie these days is so SO tired. So I wasn’t going to pass up the chance of trumpeting Santa Clarita Diet just because it wasn’t full-on horror. (Here’s hoping Netflix renews it for a second season.)
I dubbed I Am a Hero “the perfect antidote for those all-too-relentlessly grim soap opera zombie titles.”
I was wrong.
Santa Clarita Diet is the perfect antidote for those all-too-relentlessly grim soap opera zombie titles.

“I really don’t think I bit him.”
“But what if you did? And what if that makes him turn, and then he bites someone, and they bite someone and pretty soon, we’re like the biggest a$$holes ever!”

(Santa Clarita Diet OS’ courtesy of &

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