Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Santa Clarita Diet Season 2

Sheila and Joel are in pretty bad shape at the start of the season. Sheila is locked in the basement due to her lust for flesh eating and accelerated rate of decomposition while Joel is in a 72 hour psychiatric hold due to trying to steal an old Serbian woman's bile. This season has them discovering new zombies, finding out more about zombie lore, trying to live their lives and succeed in their real estate business, and stop the spread of zombie infected clams. Their daughter Abby and her friend Eric help them along the way.

Santa Clarita Diet Season 2 has everything the first season has and more. It's hilarious, heart warming, and gory as hell with the perfect mix of horror and comedy. Sheila and Joel are an adorable couple. I didn't think I would like Joel anymore after the events of last season. He essentially rejected Sheila and admitted her only supported her because he thought she would return to the meek human woman she was before she became a zombie. This season, he got some perspective and accepts his wife for who she is. Their relationship greatly improved when his ego stopped getting in the way of Sheila's new attitude and outlook on life. They unite even further as real estate agents against another couple desperate to take any success from them with Sheila as the driving competitive force. They also investigate the zombie disease spreading and do what they can to save the general public from turning into zombies.

Sheila has a lust for life now that she's a zombie that has intensified from the first season. Her worsening condition caused her to become more prone to give in to her hunger, anger, and other desires, but she's stabilized and channeled her bloodlust into jogging and chasing animals in the desert at superhuman speed. Unfortunately, her condition still brings some surprises such as her blacking out and eating someone she doesn't remember, chewing off her fingers when nervous, and having to choose the right people to eat. There is a particularly funny scene where they befriend some Neo Nazis in order for her to eat awful people without guilt. Joel, on the other hand, drags his feet for everything and lets his pride in a negative Yelp review hold them back from investigating the origin of the disease at an Italian restaurant. His priorities are a bit skewed at times, but he comes through for Sheila and his family.

Secondary characters shine this season, especially in Abby and Ramona. Abby goes from sullen, sarcastic teen to superhero. She realizes that societies' rules don't always dictate what's right and she decides to fight for what she believes in even if it may fall outside the law or societal norms. Her efforts are channeled into protesting frakking in Santa Clarita and being who she really wants to be. I always liked Ramona as the clerk who always caught Joel and his family at odd moments staring at cleaning supplies trying to deal with their new and overwhelming living situation. Her character is fleshed out and we see more than just the few one liners she delivered the previous season. Ramona experienced something similar to Sheila and left her old job as an auctioneer to the sardonic, slow speaking drug store clerk she always wanted to be. She takes up a relationship with Eric where she essentially uses him to get human flesh. He's so meek that he just goes along with it until Abby intervenes for him. I enjoy how the women have the power in this show unlike most sitcoms like it.

The zombie lore has expanded. The virus originated in Serbia and came to the US in a pair of carnivorous red clams, infecting Sheila and who knows how many other Santa Clarita residents. The ball Sheila threw up when she turned grows eight legs and seems to be a living creature. Its purpose isn't known yet, hopefully something explored next season. The infected will become completely feral and inhuman if they don't have the weird Serbian bile serum, as seen with an elderly veteran. A couple seem to be zombie hunters, having a similar double life of shady actions and illegal activities to Sheila and Joel to a very different end. This tradition also seems to be continued from the medieval era according to the family's research. It's like the start of answers are there, but the threads have yet to be connected. I'm interested in seeing how it will further expand in future seasons.

Santa Clarita Diet Season 2 has a wonderful balance of family drama, comedy, zombies, and over the top gore. At turns, it's effectively heartwarming, funny, and disgusting but all with an undercurrent of heart. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Oliphant especially shine as the central couple. Barrymore has wonderful comedic timing and infuses her performance with optimism. Oliphant is more bumbling and unsure since his relationship has been upending and he's forced to do stomach turning things to feed his wife. Joel changes from the last season in that he accepts his wife and their unconventional situation much more. I can't wait for next season to find out what happens next, how the lore will expand, and how many other zombies will be revealed in Santa Clarita.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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