Some Quick Thoughts on Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet

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Pets can be a blessing and can bring a lot of joy into your life. Pets can also be jerks that wake you up at 3 in the morning for no real reason. My cat Pumpkin falls into the latter category today as I was awoken by him pulling the blanket off me so he had a better shot of smacking my arm to get my attention. Best I can tell he was hungry – because he’s always hungry – and if he can see the bottom of his food bowl he somehow thinks his life is in mortal danger from starvation. Unfortunately, once I was awake, I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I tossed and turned for a while and finally conceded that a return to slumber was going to a long shot, so I decided to check out the first two episodes of Netflix’s new horror-comedy Santa Clarita Diet. The show had just debuted at midnight, so it seemed apropos to give it a try. It should be noted that Pumpkin fell right back to sleep.

My interest in Santa Clarita Diet was piqued once that cast was announced, since I generally find Drew Barrymore adorable and fun and Timothy Olyphant is always great (and swoon worthy). A few weeks before the premiere, the details of the show were revealed and they definitely contained some interesting info: while Barrymore and Olyphant play married couple that work together as realtors, the big reveal is that Barrymore’s Shelia is a zombie. Yeah – I didn’t see that coming either. I was a bit surprised that they shared this info about the show before it debuted – that would have been one hell of a twist – but perhaps they wanted to make sure that people knew what exactly they were getting into when they watched the show. Plus, in the words of Zoolander’s Mugatu, zombies are “so hot right now” so they may have wanted to tap into that particular fandom. Shelia is initially able to sustain herself on raw meat, but once she tastes human flesh there is no turning back. She, Joel, their teenaged daughter Abby (Liv Hewson), and their teenaged neighbor Eric (Skyler Gisondo) must keep Shelia’s secret and figure out how to keep her satiated. A lot of fun guest stars and recurring characters also turn up; only two episodes in and there are appearances by Nathan Fillion, Andy Richter, Patton Oswalt, and Mary Elizabeth Ellis.

The cast pedigree is great, though so far the show’s writing hasn’t quite lived up to its promise. Admittedly, I watched a small sample size of episodes and it was 4 am so I may not have been in peak consumption mode for a new series, but Santa Clarita Diet didn’t necessarily blow me away. While the premise is certainly unusual, the jokes haven’t been all that groundbreaking or edgy. Comedies notoriously take some time to get their footing – worlds have to be established and characters fleshed out (ha!) – so I’m not ready to write the show off despite my initial first impression. There is definitely promise and the show is created by Vince Fresco who is responsible for the criminally underrated Better Off Ted, so I’m hoping that the deeper into the series I get, the more that I’ll enjoy it. This is the kind of wacky role that I think Barrymore could have a lot of fun with and though Olyphant was tremendous as the lead in the dramas Deadwood and Justified, his comedic chops often get overlooked. He was a pleasant surprise on The Grinder and I think that Santa Clarita Diet could provide him with a platform to show his range. I refuse to believe that this many talented people got together for a lackluster show, so I’m hoping that the series settles into its groove after its premise has been established. The first season is only 10 episodes and runs around 30 minutes per episode, so I have no problem taking a flyer on this show and see where it takes me. There are worse way to spend five hours than looking at Timothy Olyphant.

So I’m cautiously optimistic about Santa Clarita Diet; I don’t know that it will be the next big thing for Netflix, but I think it could be a fun little diversion. If over the top gore isn’t your thing, you may have some issues with the series. So far, there’s a lot of bodily fluids on display. I’m personally a little over the zombie craze, but Santa Clarita Diet does offer an interesting spin on the premise. Pairing that with a great cast, the series can hopefully live up to expectations. Perhaps watching it after a full night’s sleep will help.

The entire first season of Santa Clarita Diet is now streaming on Netflix.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Snow Day edition

Another day, another snowstorm – I am really beginning to hate living in Upstate New York. It’s been a bad winter for everyone and the fact that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow is not a good omen. We’re getting up to a foot today and there are rumblings of a Nor’easter headed our way on Sunday. This may be the winter that finally breaks me.

Thankfully I am working from home today so I don’t have to go out in this mess and I am looking forward to participating in a conference call this morning while still in my pajamas. I feel terrible for the people who don’t have that luxury or who don’t have a very understanding boss and are bracing this weather to go into work today. Stay safe!

For those of you that are snowed in, hopefully my biweekly roundup of pop culture stories will help keep you warm and make you forget about all the white stuff piling up outside. Maybe there’s even a thing or two in here to help you keep the kids entertained.

  • In honor of the weather, check out this side by side comparison of the beginning of The Walking Dead and Atlanta after 2 inches of snow paralyzed the city:

BfRO7AnIMAEXzgy

  • Benedict Cumberbatch dropped by Sesame Street:

 

  • The good people of Savannah, GA had to watch the same boring Super Bowl that the rest of us did, but they also got to watch this ridiculously epic local commercial for a personal injury lawyer:

They are the clear winners of Super Bowl Sunday.

  • Last time it was Liberace, this time it’s Peter Pan. Bill Murray knows how to make an entrance:

 

  • Steve Carell’s college mustache is OUTSTANDING:
  • A gag reel from Thor: The Dark World:

 

  • David Beckham – fan of LEGOs. He just became more perfect.
  • One unknown perk of winning the Super Bowl – you get to hang out with Beyoncé and Jay Z:
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@BrooklynNets

  • Neil Gaimain reads Green Eggs and Ham for charity

 

  • Former Olympian Tara Lipinksi skated a The Big Lebowski-themed routine on Fallon:

 

  • Conan is the king of the remote segments; in this one, he tries to sell some of his old memorabilia:

 

  • The cover for Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue has been revealed:

VF Hollywood

Julia Roberts is one lucky duck!

Trailers:

  • Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West (Red Band – NSFW):

 

  • Kevin Costner’s Draft Day:

 

  • Transformers: Age of Extinction:

 

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2:

 

  • 24: Live Another Day:

 

  • Vampire Academy:

 

  • Liam Neeson in Non-Stop:

 

  • From Dusk Til Dawn – the series:

 

  • A trailer for the video game Thief:

 

  • The Amanda Knox story inspired a feature film, Face of an Angel:

 

  • The final Divergent trailer:

 

  • Another interesting trio: Aaron Paul, Rob Thomas and Bill Murray at a Kings of Leon concert:
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@ThisisRobThomas

  • Animator Arthur Rankin, Jr., who was responsible for holiday classics like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, passed away.
  • This week is Beatles week at Late Night with David Letterman.
  • As a fan of the original cult classic, I was impressed with this trailer for a fake Warriors reboot:

 

  • There were beer drones? Why am I just hearing about this now that they are grounded?

As always, we end with the Supercuts and Mashups

  • A supercut of Oscar visual effects winners:

 

  • A Superman vs. Jesse Eisenberg supercut:

 

  • Grumpy Cat in Frozen:

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  • This supercut ignores the so-called plot of the first 3 Transformers movies and just focuses on the actual transforming:

 

  • A mashup of every Harrison Ford movie:

 

  • Mr. Freeze sings “Let it Go”

 

  • And finally, a supercut of all of Tina’s moans on Bob’s Burgers:

 

Spring can’t get here quickly enough!

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Breaking Bad Edition

I normally have a lot of Breaking Bad info in these pop culture roundups, but with the show recently returning for its final eight episodes ever (SOB!), there was more awesome info than normal this week. I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so sprinkled throughout the roundup is an abundance of links related to the show. And for the love of all that is holy, if you aren’t watching this show get to steppin’. You are missing out! So kick back and bring yourself up to speed on all the pop culture that you may have missed over the last two weeks. Let me be your pop culture curator.

  • N’Sync is rumored to be reuniting at the MTV VMAs on Sunday, which now forces me to watch the VMAs. I’m skeptical as I’m not sure what Timberlake gets out of this. But I do hope it happens.

 

  • Jimmy Fallon is doing a Breaking Bad parody. This will be amazing.

 

  • It’s hard to get excited about football season when you root for the Bills, but I do love when the Manning brothers do commercials:

 

  • This is an interesting casting rumor (emphasis on rumor) – could Charlie Hunnam play Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaption? By the time this movie comes out, will anyone still care?
  • Friday Night Lights, the movie? Make it happen!
  • HBO has released a trailer for the new season of Girls:

 

  • NBC is clearly in the Jonathan Banks (Mike, Breaking Bad) business. After a guest appearance on Parks and Recreation, the actor will be a regular on Community.

A quick break for the depressing stuff:

  • Lisa Robin Kelly, who played Topher Grace’s older sister Laurie on That 70s Show, died. She was 43.

OK – back to the more lighthearted links.

  • Blog fave Dean Winters (Dennis the beeper king on 30 Rock) is headed to the new Andy Samberg comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
  • Oprah gives away cars when she is just a guest on a show. Mental note – get in the audience when Oprah is on a talk show.
  • A trailer for the new season of Homeland:

 

  • Jay Leno’s last night on The Tonight Show will be February 6th. Believe it when you see it, Jimmy.
  • Mark your calendars: the third installment of Adam Scott’s The Greatest Event in Television History drops on November 7th. Nothing is confirmed, but speculation is that they are doing the opening credits from Too Close for Comfort.
  • Ha! Billy Ray Cyrus does look like fat Mac:

 

photo from Uproxx

photo from Uproxx

  • Whoa – it’s Walter, Jr. from Breaking Bad:

 

Photo from Uproxx

Photo from Uproxx

 

  • A tweet from Sons of Anarchy creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter makes me very nervous.
  • The chicken fight from Family Guy was never one of my favorites, but kudos to these two stunt women for the live action re-enactment:

 

  • This new trailer for season 3 of Revenge has piqued my interest:

 

  • The new channel FXX, which will show new episodes of The League and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, launches September. Use this handy website to find out if FXX is available on your cable system (Phew- it is for me!). The network is off to a promising start with a Parks and Recreation marathon.
  • This slowed down version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” is pretty cool:

 

  • The house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is for sale.
  • This Avril Lavigne music video is a little nuts:

 

  • The White House Twitter account made a Mean Girls reference:

White House Twitter_Mean Girls

  • My birthday is a month from today and I would sure like it if someone bought me this Breaking Bad Lego set.
  • Another pop culture roundup, another American Horror Story: Coven teaser:

 

  • I’m surprised it took so long; watch a guy crowd surfs in order to “Come on Down” On The Price is Right:

 

  • Benedict Cumberbatch had a message for the papzrazzi trying to get spoilers on Sherlock:

 

Getty Image

Getty Image

  • In this trailer for Fading Gigolo, watch Woody Allen act as a pimp for John Turturro. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

 

  • I’ve always like Donal Logue, so I’m not surprised he helped a stranger propose. P.S. Terriers is now streaming on Netflix – do yourself a favor and watch this late great series.
  • J.J. Abrams released a mysterious trailer on Monday.

Turns out it was for a book.

  • Listen to the Breaking Bad theme played on meth lab equipment:

 

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts

  • Mean Girls mashed up with Book of Mormon

 

  • Here are some super cuts of movie clichés. First up “You just don’t get it, do you?”

 

  • Phone numbers that start with 555:

 

  • Superheroes introducing themselves:

 

  • Vulture put together a supercut of all of John Oliver’s explanations for Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show absence.
  • Nerdist put together a Breaking Bad/Saved by the Bell mashup:

Dustin Diamond was available? I’m shocked.

  • Behind Elysium (A Behind the Candelabra/Elysium mashup)

 

  • The opening of Adventure Time done in Legos:

 

 

Another installment of a Seinfeld/Game of Thrones mashup:

 

  • Ha! Thor meets Arrested Development in Thorested Development:

 

  • Breaking Bad recut as a romantic comedy:

 

  • President Obama “sings” Demi Lavato:

 

  • Listen to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the style of other divas:

 

  • We Are Never Ever Gonna Cook Together (Taylor Swift/Breaking Bad parody)

 

  • And finally – Walter White “sings” “My Way”