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“Santa Clarita Diet” Review: The Ups and Downs of a New Diet

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In recent years, there have been an excessive amount of films and TV shows that were undead or zombie-themed. The most noticeable films are the sci-fi horror drama “28 Days Later” and the horror comedy “Shaun of the Dead” and the most popular zombie TV series being the horror drama “The Walking Dead.” Netflix’s half-hour horror comedy, “Santa Clarita Diet,” brings an alternative spin to the zombie themed premise and also presents itself as an absurdist family sitcom that is highly aware how free they are from the traditional constraints of network television. What the show has going for itself is its great set of actors and unique twist of a family sitcom. Although, there are some parts where the show falters particularly in the structure.

 

Courtesy of YouTube.
The series centers on Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel Hammond (Timothy Olyphant), a married couple that lives happily together as real estate agents with their teenage daughter, Abby (Liv Hewson) within the beautifully quaint suburban region of Santa Clarita. That is until Sheila feels ill, vomits profusely, dies for a bit, and then returns as part of the undead which seems like a normal start to a family sitcom. Surprisingly enough, Shelia is not like a zombie normally seen on “The Walking Dead” and abstains from killing and eating every human she sees. However, Sheila’s life does take a dark turn and she begins to eat human flesh but not in the normal instinctively undead way but in a way that boosts her confidence, audacity, and lust for Joel. Right after this turn, Joel realizes that she has changed and has become part of the undead and quickly discovers that she can only survive on the consumption of human flesh. Instead of running away in fear from her, Joel helps his wife find the most awful and despicable people for his wife to feast on all while trying to maintain the appearance and feel of a normal suburban family. As the show progresses the Hammonds realize that their lives will never be normal again.
 
Throughout each episode, it was pleasing to see how both Barrymore and Olyphant were able to click together as a married couple in an abnormal situation. In all the films that Barrymore has been in, she seems to be the unsure character in the scene. However, in this TV series as Shelia, she is mostly this sure character that goes through a dynamic change and brings this surreal courage while also balancing the humor and emotion of her character. As the show progresses through each episode, it was funny to see the irony of Barrymore’s character; Barrymore shows how Sheila feels alive in her personality when she turns towards her cannibalistic activities. Olyphant’s Joel presents a lighter side to Olyphant, which is different compared to Olyphant’s darker and more serious roles in past TV shows and films such as “Deadwood” and “Justified” and another zombie horror film, “The Crazies.” There are some moments where his execution of jokes tends to fall flat, however, Olyphant is able to break the normally troubled hero tone he conveys with this show. He is a more eccentric, comedic, and vulnerable person as Joel and is able to highlight all the complexities and triumphs in an experienced marriage. The viewer can understand how Joel is just trying to find a piece of normalcy in this hectic predicament. Shelia’s and Joel’s daughter, Abby, has the right amount of cheekiness, sarcasm, and humor that resembles a younger Ellen Page in “Juno.” Abby’s personality combined with her friendship with her neighbor’s awkward and nerdy teenage son, Eric (Skyler Gisondo) offers a great foil to the series.
 
The show reflects an alternative depiction of a family sitcom normally seen on a normal network channel such as ABC, NBC, or CBS and a pack with bloody action sequences seen on HBO or AMC. Some of the faults of the show are the pace and structure of the plot. There were some moments where the pace would slow and rush unexpectedly, especially in the middle of the season. The mystery and the root of Sheila’s current nature are not the central focus until the second half of the season. Santa Clarita Diet overall is still the right mixture of humor, horror, and heart that highlights a new side of Barrymore and a lighter comedic tone for Olyphant. The series just needs to improve the pace and structure of the plot. I give it a B.
Read more Entertainment articles at ClicheMag.com
Santa Clarita Diet Review: The Ups and Downs of a New Diet. Photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.

It’s You, Not Me Episode 8

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We all can admit that we have winged it out one night with one of our girls to have a good time and see where the night takes us. Karen and her friend, Monica, do just that in Episode 8 of It’s You, Not Me, leading them into a rather unusual situation when they go to meet Karen’s date, Anthony, “the Exterminator.” If his name isn’t odd enough for you, the surprising events in this episode will definitely keep you laughing.

See what the cast has to say about filming this episode and check out some behind the scenes looks. It’s You, Not Me Episode 8 airs on Friday, May 16.

Director and Producer: Lauren Patrice Nadler
Cinematographer and Editor: Abe Portillo 
Read on for cast interviews!

It’s You, Not Me Episode 7

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First impressions can make or break a possible relationship, especially when it comes to online dating. The honesty policy is a number one priority in sharing who you are through a website, and Luke is all for it in episode 7 of It’s You, Not Me. When lies occur, it seems to be a dealbreaker for Luke and a possible end to his search for “the one.”

Deception, support, and a possible crossroads between our two main characters, Karen and Luke, all happen this time around. Who knows what’s to come? What we do know is that there will always be laughter ahead in It’s You, Not Me.
Check out some behind the scenes clips and what the cast has to say about their characters! It’s You, Not Me Episode 7 airs on Friday, May 9.

Director: Lauren Patrice Nadler
Cinematographer: Abe Portillo
Editor: Jason Koczanowicz
Read on for cast interviews!

It’s You, Not Me Episode 6

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In preparation for the first, second, or tenth date with a person, we sometimes self-obsess on the idea of our potential One. Almost immediately, we’re bombarded with a flurry of questions we ask ourselves: Is he or she The One? Could this be the person I’ve been looking for? Or, if we’ve crossed the first date, we’ll ask, “What will happen next?” In  It’s You, Not Me Episode 6, Karen and Luke are anxiously preparing for their upcoming dates with their friends, and are nervous for what’s to come of the night. Karen believes that since it is her second date with Thomas, her “latin lover,” that he must be “the one.” However, her friends seem to have their own opinions on the subject, while Luke’s friend, Ben, gives him his patented pep talk.
The night’s hilarious events will leave you cracking up or relating to the situations our protagonists find themselves in. Read on and find out what the cast members thought of this unpredictable episode and what they think of their characters.
Don’t miss It’s You, Not Me Episode 6 this Friday, May 2 on ClicheTV.tv!

Director:  Lauren Patrice Nadler
Cinematographers: Abe Portillo and Steven Jared Mangurten
Editor: Jason Koczanowicz

It’s You, Not Me Episode 4

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In the 4th episode of It’s You, Not Me, we find Karen starting to believe that maybe “her type of men” is a little too broad. She is ready for a real click with someone, so could a musician do better than a suit-and-tie? They have a reputation for being dangerous and mysterious, and also interesting, creative, and passionate. Will James be the interesting guy she needs or the interesting guy that makes you run for the door?

Luke also decides to go in another direction with online dating; however, his hot, playful blonde with some baggage seems a little familiar. Sooner or later they will find qualities that either make or break these dates. Take a moment to go behind the scenes with the production team and read interviews with the cast members  who gave some fascinating insight to their characters and the episode itself. Also don’t miss It’s You, Not Me Episode 4 this Friday, April 18 on ClicheTV.tv!

Director: Lauren Patrice Nadler
Cinematographer & Editor Abe Portillo

Read on for cast interviews!

It’s You, Not Me Premiere

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Love: that one thing we all long for and sometimes can’t seem to find as easily as the fairy tales make it seem. As technology booms, it seems newer ways to find the “one” pop up, but that doesn’t mean any of these new ways make meeting your soulmate easier. It’s You, Not Me is a new comedic take on trying to find romance on the web. The series follows Karen and Luke as they use online dating to find that perfect someone. Their story is one that a lot of people will be able to relate to in this day and age. Who hasn’t known someone that’s tried online dating and it ended up a bit awkward, or possibly a bit crazy? Male or female, there’s a bit of each of us in Karen and Luke.

Of course finding love isn’t easy for them either, and sometimes the two end up in tight spots when meeting their dates, like Karen with the “exterminator” or Luke and the drunken blonde. Thankfully, the pair have their good friends to fall back on—Karen with her roommate/sister, Tracey, and Luke with his best roommate and pal, Ben. It’s a story of hope, humor, and the will to never give up when faced with so much chaos.

Although the series follows Karen and Luke’s search for love, they aren’t the only ones to suffer through love and heartbreak. Close friends and family members deal with their own troubles with love. There are times where characters in the show want to just give up, or rethink their lives.

Cliché partnered up with the series and spoke with writer and producer, Renee Kay, and director Lauren Patrice Nadler. They gave us some great insight into what went into making the show possible and why this series will make you laugh as you follow the struggles that Karen and Luke, along with their friends, face to find the “one.”

Meanwhile, don’t forget to watch our It’s You, Not Me premiere this Friday, March 28 at ClicheTV.tv!