The plot description for Drew Barrymore’s new Netflix show with Timothy Olyphant, called Santa Clarita Diet, describes the couple as living “vaguely discontented lives” working as realtors in the suburbs of Santa Clarita, and how Barrymore’s character, Sheila, goes through a drastic change which brings “death and destruction … but in a good way.”
What this plot synopsis conveniently excludes one simple fact: that Barrymore’s character becomes the undead and develops a craving for human flesh.
“The ‘dramatic change’ Sheila undergoes in the series opener is, in fact, death,” USA Today reports. “And while they tend to their open houses and teenage daughter, the couple must sate Sheila’s unbridled id and undead hunger, first with raw meat and, eventually, the human kind.”
Basically, the show sounds like a suburban mom’s journey to “find” herself in the midst of her new life change — a life change which revolves around literally consuming other people.
Though dealing with a zombie transformation would be understandably traumatic, marketing for the show seems to imply that Barrymore will be making the most out of her undead state, viewing the affliction as the perfect opportunity to embrace a fad diet regimen which revolves around exclusively eating human meat.
As Barrymore quips in an interview with USA Today, “If you ate nothing but protein every day, you’d really thin out!”
Barrymore continues, describing her character of Sheila Hammond, and why she felt compelled to do the show. “We do this sort of Cro-Magnon type of evolution with her over the course of the 10 episodes. No gimmicks, no prosthetics, just an awakening,” she says. “I just really enjoyed just shedding a snakeskin with her, so it became a really fun obstacle that I wasn’t even planning for but seemed so conducive and fun and healthy for my own life.”
The show’s creator, Victor Fresco, is the same brain behind the quirky and offbeat Better Off Ted, which is a pretty clear indicator that the show is definitely going to throw us some comedy curveballs. (Although I’m not sure what curveballs are left, once your main character turns into a zombie.) Of Sheila’s transformation, Fresco tells USA Today that the cause of her death is unclear. “Presumably, she has been exposed to something — although we don’t know what — which is making her feel a bit off.”
Describing an undead metamorphosis as “a bit off” seems like it’s par for the course as far as this show is concerned.
Barrymore says that even though the subject matter is horrific, the show itself has considerable heart and spirit. “I don’t want to watch a show about a couple fighting and falling apart, I can’t handle it right now. (The show is) not heavy, but it’s not lacking in a sort of sweetness, if you will. But it’s also got bite and backbone and balls.”
“I think it’s a very perfect recipe for 2017, and I had no idea in early 2016 when I was trying to figure out if this was even possible that it would be so right for my life,” she says. “I like things that are easy to digest. Pun intended.”
The show will be coming to Netflix in early February, so until then, I guess we’ll all just have to imagine rom-com queen Drew Barrymore shoving human body parts into her mouth.
Or, maybe not, if you’re squeamish.