The Santa Clarita Diet did something pretty damn fun. And I’m not just talking about the zombie aspect. It was surprisingly feministic. I know that sounds weird but go with me on this fun little journey.
When the show was first announced, people just thought it would be a Goop-spoofing comedy. Goop is Gwenyth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog that is pretty much unachievable for normal people. It might actually be impossible for anyone that isn’t Gwenyth Paltrow. Advertisements and descriptions for the show were sparse and free of any loose body parts for snacking. No drops of blood. Just Drew Barrymore looking smug and perfect. Side note, Drew Barrymore is perfection. So the assumptions of the show were very anti-feminist. It just came across as some goofy female comedy that would have women bitching about their bodies and relationships and goals.
Then everything changed in early January when a new advertisement featured Drew Barrymore in a sanguine-colored dress holding a glass containing body parts. People freaked out because this flipped everything upside down. Was the show about a cannibal? (Is Gwenyth Paltrow a cannibal?) Netflix didn’t make the world wait too long for an answer to what the diet was all about. A trailer popped up revealing that Drew Barrymore’s character Sheila Hammond becomes a zombie and her family does their best to embrace this new change that is better than any diet on the market.
When Sheila Hammond turns into a zombie, it invigorates her and she becomes an almost completely new person. Her husband, Joel (Timothy Olyphant) is befuddled and slightly terrified by the change but quickly supports his wife in her new lifestyle. If his wife needs to murder to survive, he’s not going to let her do it alone. They promised to love and support each other no matter what and even if death technically happened, he isn’t going to step down and leave her. Joel completely respects his wife. He knows she’s the brains and the real money maker of their life and unlike most shows, he doesn’t spend the entire season trying to prove he’s the alpha male.
As for their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson), she might rebel like a teenager when her world gets rocked by a Mombie but she wants to be there for her mother at the end of the day. Sheila reminds her that no matter what happens, she can handle it. And Abby proved that throughout the entire season. She embraced her Mom becoming the undead, stood up to a sexist chop-shop idiot, smoke-bombed a deadbeat’s home to revenge a hurt friend, and developed an equal friendship with her nerdy neighbor Eric. Being a queen runs in the Hammond family.
But obviously, the biggest Feminist aspect of the show is Sheila herself. Her undead transformation allows her to get rid of her inhibitions and just love herself. Or maybe she just vomited all of the fucks she used to give up. She shuts up her annoying new coworker who won’t take no for an answer when he makes unwanted sexual advances. She points out the absurdities of when her misogynist neighbor assumes her husband is behind all of the death. She’s a gorgeous middle-aged woman that proves a lead character doesn’t need to be a barely dressed 20-something beautiful eye-candy. She isn’t a sexual object and demands the sex that she wants rather than obeying a man’s urges. Sheila Hammond is a badass Feminist and she will eat your heart out if you get in her way.
God, I fucking love Sheila Hammond. I need more of this show. Also, thank you for not being a Goop-spoof. No one needs that crap in their lives.
Watch the Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix now.