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Netflix’s Suburban Cannibal Horror Comedy Looks Good Enough to Eat

Satisfy your cravings with new promos.
By  · Published on January 10th, 2017

Satisfy your cravings with new promos.

From a glance, the marketing for the upcoming Netflix original series Santa Clarita Diet reads like a bland diet advert. We are, after all, in peek “new year, new me” season: cut carbs, get a gym membership, eat a high-protein diet of human flesh. Oh.

The official logline for Santa Clarita Diet is as follows: “Married couple Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) are real estate agents in Santa Clarita, California. The couple’s lives take a dark turn after Sheila goes through a dramatic change.” It’s a benign enough premise. That is until you find out SANTA CLARITA IS PEOPLE.

As it turns out, Sheila’s “dramatic change” is her death, and her subsequent hunger for self-improvement is, in fact, a hunger for human flesh. And from the looks of things, the show is poised to sit at the same table as iZombie, Fido, and Pushing Daisies: somewhere in the crunchy intersection between suburbia and sinister.

In the show’s first promo, which aired during the Golden Globes, a dewy Barrymore hits the familiar marks: she feels “younger, more energetic, and sexier” than she has in years. It’s a pitch-perfect mimic of diet culture. “I’ll have what she’s having,” you say, “wait a minute, is that a poke bowl of human remains??” you say.

Twisting diet-ese on its head in charmingly macabre fashion has been the calling card of the show’s marketing. And the promo is phenomenal; you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a real diet ad. Barrymore beams: “I satisfy all my cravings and eat whoever I want, and I only eat the foods that deserve it” while she chows down on a flesh cube she grins, “this one was a real bastard.”

The second promo features Olyphant’s unreasonably supportive husband, Joel, who hints that Sheila’s loosely defined moral compass governs her cravings for human flesh. Be it the bastard-turned-poke-bowl, or as Olyphant describes, just a dick throwing rocks at the ducks. Eating jerks being the key to achieving the unattainable fantasy promised in diet adverts? As far as cannibalism goes, it’s a hilarious sell, and I’m sure there are no downsides whatsoever.

I’d be remiss not to mention the show’s fake website which is, honestly, a work of art. It features everything from social media posts espousing vacuous inspirational quotes, to an enticingly vague step-by-step breakdown of the diet itself. There’s even a testimonials page, which suggests Barrymore’s character won’t be the only Santa Clarita resident partaking in the fad. Also, you can submit your email to “try if for free for 30 days,” which I did against my better judgement (the consequences of which have yet to become apparent).

In addition to Barrymore and Olyphant, the core cast is rounded out by Scandal’s Richard Chavira, Liv Hewson (Dramaworld), Skyler Gisondo (Hard Sell), Richard T. Jones (Narcos), Mary Elizabeth Ellis (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Joy Osmanski (Lucifer). The series showrunner Victor Fresco of quirky Better off Ted fame is joined by Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer, who’s set to direct the opening episodes. Did I mention that Nathan Fillion has a guest spot? Because Nathan Fillion has a guest spot.

Santa Clarita Diet premieres globally on Netflix Friday, February 3rd.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).