Considering my love for murderous television families, you'd think my starting "Santa Clarita Diet" had something to do with its plot. After all, the show follows Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant), married realtors living in the suburbs of Santa Clarita, California, and disguises itself as a sitcom until a virus causes Sheila to make a sudden and disturbingly gruesome transformation into a zombie, leading its two stars into crime and murder plots, sitcom aesthetic still intact. When I started "Santa Clarita Diet," though, I had no idea of what the actual plot was. My interest in the show was actually sparked by a gif on Tumblr, several days after the show's release on February 3rd, of Timothy Olyphant throwing up a peace sign, covered in blood with a smile on his face.
It turned out getting to that moment from the second episode was a little harder than expected, considering how stomach-turning the first episode is. Though the show becomes tamer after its pilot, the first episode features such an excessive amount of vomit and guts that I almost abandoned the show for fear of finding that the rest of the episodes were the same. I rarely have an issue with gore, but because of the colorful, tame sitcom feeling that "Santa Clarita Diet" has, every moment of blood and bile becomes unsettling and startling. Shows that live in darker, grittier worlds don't deliver the same shock as finding dead bodies in your suburban family comedy.
The show was able to keep me and eventually have me binge-watching the ten episode season, though, with its humor and characters. It has plenty of genuinely funny jokes, most of them dark humor, which isn't surprising considering the subject matter, and its characters are refreshing and compelling. Joel and Abby are the standouts, as the sources of the majority of the depth and heart of the show, but every character provides the comedy and high-energy that keeps the show moving. Though its plot comes straight from the horror genre, the cast and humor allows the show the love and family-oriented center of sitcoms. It's able to both present heavy subjects with levity and comedy and provide depth to comedic situations through its combination of genres, so that even when the plot stalls or muddies for a moment, its characters can still shine through.
As long as you can handle the gore of the first episode, the show is worth watching. There are only ten episodes, each under thirty minutes, so it's an easy show to watch during breaks from work or when you have free time. Although, I wouldn't recommend watching that first episode during your lunch break.