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‘Santa Clarita Diet’ isn’t everyone’s taste

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Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in “Santa Clarita Diet.”

Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in “Santa Clarita Diet.”

Every once in a while, a show comes along that viewers either love or hate. No in-between. Netflix’s “Santa Clarita Diet” — about a wife and mother who suddenly becomes a cannibal — seems to be one of them.

Since the 10-episode season dropped on Feb. 3, I’ve heard radically opposed opinions. A few people have told me — with no ambivalence — that they found it unbearable, not just the vomit (of which there is plenty) or the bloody flesh-eating (of which there is even more) but the tone of the whole show. One person said she thought the comedy was just the same joke over and over again: A woman turns into a zombie of sorts, and so her husband, her daughter, and a young neighbor help her find her daily meals.


Me, I’m a fan. I marvel at the way creator Victor Fresco maintained such a droll tone throughout the season, while pushing the characters into tighter and tighter corners. I breezed through 10 episodes quickly and enjoyably.

I like the way Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant seemed to be having such a good time with their perverse roles. These characters do despicable things and have no moral compass, and yet they are remarkably endearing. I’ve never been a Barrymore fan, but she fits into this kooky world perfectly. And Olyphant brings new meaning to the phrase high-strung.

In a way, “Santa Clarita Diet” is a little like “The Addams Family.” These people are dealing with morbid issues, but they are clueless and happy — and their marriage is passionate — nonetheless. It won’t make you hungry, but it may well make you smile.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.

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