Santa Clarita Diet: We Can Kill People – Cole (Review)

Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet

Episode three of Santa Clarita Diet “We Can Kill People” jumps things into high gear as Sheila’s appetite gets almost out of control. It has been days since she ate parts of Gary. (She moans about all the meat that she wasted to Joel who replies that there was over 150 pounds of Gary left, there was no way she could have polished the new realtor off.)

The couple decide that since the meat must be fresh, it is now okay to kill people who are evil or the dregs of society. Meanwhile Dan is still sniffing around and asking questions about that ant spray.

Abby and Eric decide to help Sarah take revenge on Cole after he dumps the teenager. He is a guy who sells pot to minors, according to Sarah and while the kids plan their revenge, Joel and Sheila decide that the “drug dealer” and “pedophile” will be the perfect snack to end Sheila’s enforced diet.

This episode of Santa Clarita Diet was a real treat. The sight of the real estate couple dressed in clear rain macs, with hoods and rubber gloves, was funny but not as funny as Joel bonding with Sheila’s not so “happy meal.” He learns that Cole sells great weed and that he is not a “pedo” and that he dumped Sarah when he found out she was not 21.

After Joel and Sheila let Cole go, Abby and her friends stage a commando type raid on Cole’s house, where Abby dons a gas mask and rescues the blue sweater she bought her BFF Sarah. Out of the three main characters, Abby is turning out to be the coolest in a crisis.

Her parents continue to adapt to their new lifestyle. Sheila realizes that  frozen food is almost as good as fresh and she decides that they will buy a new freezer to keep her next meal in. She can then carve off what she needs with less waste.

Another comic highlight of the episode has Sheila attacking the douchebag driver of the car that Joel bumps into. The man is aggressive and foul and Sheila leaps on him in mid-rant and bites out his carotid artery.

While it still seems like Dan, the policeman neighbor who is far too interested in what Joel was spraying on his lawn, could be in-line to be a meal for Sheila, the newest victim may keep him alive that little bit longer.

Santa Clarita Diet has managed to mix slapstick type comedy with odd and quirky. It also gives us a chance to laugh at incongruity of the situation. Joel’s calm, yet glassy-eyed, acceptance of his wife’s new condition as a zombie and Abby’s confidence in going along for the ride.

The series is on Netflix, as an original offering and can be streamed or downloaded to watch offline.  The show’s creator; Victor Fresco, has knocked it out of the park with this one and this comedy horror is genuinely funny. Head on over and check this one out. 

Cast:

Guest starring Matt O’Leary as Cole, Kaylee Bryant as Sarah and Richard T. Jones as Rick

Santa Clarita Diet: We Can’t Kill People (Recap/Review)

Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet

Santa Clarita Diet “We Can’t Kill People” continues the hilarity and the premise of the show. How to survive dying, by vomiting up an organ, but coming back to life as a flesh eating and pretty much fully functioning zombie. (Or Mombie…)

The latest episode appeared to give a nod to “The Lost Boys,” or maybe even the comic book guy on “The Simpsons,” with the next door neighbor geek teen who takes Abby down to his comic book store hangout. The same place where he learns about zombies a’la the Frog brothers.

(A comic highlight – no pun intended- was Abby’s attack on the comic book guy running the store. After his repeating the “30 seconds” mantra that one time too many, she grabs him by the neck and slams him to the floor. The mantra ceases. “I think you were right,” she tells Eric, “I am going to like this place.”)

In this episode of Santa Clarita Diet Joel and Sheila dispose of Gary’s remains  by depositing them in a hole dug by Joel in the desert. Abby and Eric arrive and this causes her parents to panic. Spilling the plastic box full of Gary on the ground.

Joel and Sheila manage to argue throughout the episode. Firstly about the missing lid on the box, that Sheila could not find. Then they argue about the eating of flesh. (Since eating Gary, who had two very small balls, Sheila cannot eat package raw meat. Nor can she eat the dead foot they buy for $400 later.)

Dan, the cop next door is suspicious about the chemical that he saw Joel spraying on his grass and comes to investigate. It seems pretty easy money to bet on Eric’s stepdad as being the next victim of Sheila.

This episode had the very funny running argument of “yeah but maybe its not,” between Joel and Sheila. Sheila chasing the rooster down next door while wearing a transparent rain mac and hood was a show stopper and it seemed certain that the hospital orderly was so going to die…

Sheila, besides wanting to constantly hump like a “rescue dog at Rite Aid,” has become more assertive, almost aggressive one could say. It works out well this week as she manages to sell the Peterson’s house because of it.

Joel almost being committed after meeting with Dr. Hasmedi was brilliant and helps us to place him in this the comedy. He will be the one who tries the hardest to normalize the family’s new truth.

Abby moves up a notch to compete squarely with her parents as a comic torch.

Olyphant and Barrymore are perfect together. It is easy to forget that both these actors kill it with comedy. Timothy may have run with the Elmore Leonard country cop series Justified, and he can do a real mean Clint Eastwood impression (Rango) but the actor may well make his fans forget all that.

Liv Hewson is spot on as Abby, the newly rebellious teen “I’m going to be swearing in front of you a lot now.” She is as comically astute as the rest of this excellent cast.

The guest star list is impressive, Nathan Fillion as victim number one and Patton Oswalt as the virologist who wants Joel committed were both brilliant.

Santa Clarita Diet is a real winner on Netflix and should be watched…right now.  The series can be streamed or downloaded for offline viewing. Check it out.

Cast:

Guest starring Patton Oswalt as Dr. Charles Hasmedi, Roxana Ortega as Dr. Hernandez and Adam Rose as the orderly. 

Santa Clarita Diet: So Then a Bat or a Monkey – You Are (Review)

Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet

Netflix have joined the zombie craze with their latest offering, Santa Clarita Diet. The first episode, “So Then a Bat or a Monkey” starts things off with a major character dying by throwing up what looks suspiciously like an organ. A vital one mixed with the “insane” amount of vomit that comes jetting out of Sheila’s mouth.

Sheila and Joel Hammond are estate agents who live and sell houses in Santa Clarita, CA.  Their seemingly idyll existence is disrupted when she dies in the middle of showing the Peterson house. After spending hours at the local hospital’s emergency room, Sheila and Joel head home.

Despite being dead, Sheila feels great. She has focus and is, in Joel’s words, exuberant. Their teenage daughter Abby is not overjoyed to learn of her parent’s sexual escapades and suggests seeing a local “nerd” to find out what is happening.

The new real estate agent from Sacramento Gary West makes moves on Sheila and ends up being consumed by his recently deceased co-worker in the back garden. Joel walks in on the grisly scene and is justifiably horrified.

Santa Clarita Diet is an interesting, and funny, comedy horror offering on Netflix. Is it blazingly original? Not necessarily, iZombie got there first, although so far Sheila is not craving brains and eating West did not change her.

In many ways this new series could be seen as “iZombie with grownups.” The idea also seems to be a comic re-imaging of  the 2006 horror film “The Hamiltons.” (Or at the very least a comic riff on the theme of the film.)

In Santa Clarita Diet both Sheila and Joel, in the beginning, are quite boring in their little real estate lives. (And nothing equates to being a grownup quite like boring…) The sudden death of Sheila changes the formulaic existence of the couple dramatically.

Joel’s wife becomes more exuberant, as he tells their daughter, not just with sex but everything. She is more confident, assertive and impulsive. Her husband has trouble keeping up with the new Sheila. After she kills and eats Gary, it looks like Joel’s problems are just beginning.

It was interesting to see Nathan Fillion as a character who is, to say the least, a bit of a bully. He forces himself on Sheila and threatens, somewhat inanely, Joel: “You are.” One wonders whether his casting was in response to the “Castle” rumors that flooded the Internet when the show was cancelled.

(Fillion was said to be very unkind to his co-star Stana Katic and his cryptic and somewhat taciturn Twitter post when she left the show did not help his tarnished image.)

The character being played by Fillion was a deviation from his normal roles, apart from Monsters University in 2013. He voiced a character that was also a bully. In this instance Fillion managed to make his douche character amusing, which is his gift as an actor.

“That was an insane amount of vomit!”

Regardless of the rationale behind Nathan’s playing a somewhat dislikable character, it was brilliantly funny. (Showing yet again that Fillion has still got those comic chops that he displayed early in his career.)

Fillion was not alone, this series is full of comic performers who have got chops for days. Barrymore, Olyphant, Mary Elizabeth Ellis (a personal favorite) and guest star Ramona Young filled out a cast full of actors who know how to do comedy.

This 13 episode series is available to stream or download in its entirety on Netflix. Stop by and check this one out, it may not be overly original but it is pretty funny. It also has a lot of familiar faces in it.

Cast:

Guest starring Nathan Fillion as Gary West and Ramona Young as Ramona.

The Grinder: The Olyphant in the Room (Recap & Review)

The Grinder makes a triumphant return after a mid-season break with its first episode of 2016 in The Olyphant in the Room.

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The Grinder makes a triumphant return after a mid-season break with its  first episode of 2016 in The Olyphant in the Room.  After the standard opening where Stew does not get yet another plot line behind a Grinder episode, the real lawyer reveals that a reporter will be doing an article about him and the family law firm he runs.

After his kids express amazement that the reporter will not be writing about Dean,  the former “Grinder” star finds Timothy Olyphant kissing Claire in his, Dean’s, parking spot at the law firm.  It also transpires that his TV replacement is staying with the object of Dean’s devotion at the weekends.

As with other episodes, Dean uses the premise of the clip shown at the start of the episode, to “help” Stewart on his latest case.  Stew begins trying to bring the focus back on real law versus the type that Dean practices.  Of course the ulterior motive behind Dean’s offer of help, is to pry Claire away from the new “Grinder” Olyphant.

The reporter, Neal (Rob Yang) follows Stew (Fred Savage) everywhere but writes mainly, it seems, about Dean (Rob Lowe). Debbie learns that Neal is actually writing a “smear” piece about the famous brother. Stewart then tries to practice some damage control to protect his somewhat delusional sibling.

Dean, in keeping with his lack of real focus, decides that Olyphant is the one throwing bricks through SUV windshields at Boise dealerships. He plans to stake out the only dealership not hit by the brick thrower and asks Claire to participate in order to keep her away from Olyphant. (Getting Claire away from Timothy is the real reason behind Dean suspecting his replacement as the brick thrower.)

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Dean going all “Grinder” on Timothy Olyphant…

As part of his master plan, Dean pulls in a favor from Jimmy Kimmel  (who plays himself, as does Olyphant) and while on the ABC talkshow, Dean asks Jimmy if Timothy has ever been a guest. When Kimmel replies no, Claire proves that she does not just let the air out of Dean Sanderson by digging at Olyphant when he protests about the Kimmel remark.

Meanwhile, the “delusional” side of Dean is made apparent when he “calls out” the Boise brick throwing vandal on national television.  Claire takes Timothy on the “stakeout” with her, foiling Dean’s plan. Stewart tells Neal he knows what the reporter is really doing and after standing up for his brother, he instructs the Neal to write what he wants and to get out of the SUV.

By the end of the episode, Stewart is made to look very good and Dean made to look completely delusional.  Olyphant is shown to be just as “ungrounded” as Sanderson, but that the actor will not be leaving anytime soon.

Sidenote: Jimmy Kimmel has been busy lately. With his (very funny) cameo upcoming on ABC’s The Real O’Neals and now playing himself yet again on FOX’s The Grinder, Kimmel is delightfully spreading his wings and becoming even more of a household name. 

It bears mentioning that Timothy Olyphant is very adept at;  a) comedy and b) making fun of his image and profession. As a “long term” guest star, or late addition to the main cast, Olyphant is keeping his presence alive on television  after the end of Justified (Another FOX production).

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Olyphant “grinding” it in…

Sadly, there was little of the two “kids” on show this week with Hana Hayes and Konnor Kalopsis (who play Stew and Debbie’s offspring Lizzie and Ethan) only there to promote their hero worship of Uncle Dean. (Although Lizzie does seem a little less enamored of the famous former TV lawyer…)  Mary Elizabeth Ellis as wife Debbie is used as a major plot device, she finds out about Neal’s nefarious plans to smear Dean, and William Devane maintains his usual level of  presence. 

As the season progresses, all  of the ensemble cast have settled into their roles with ease.   Apart from the Sanderson family, the law firm’s members have hit their stride as well.  Natalie Morales, as Claire, is brilliant as the “down to earth” lawyer who, despite being attracted to, and having a fling with, Timothy Olyphant is not above shoving a pin in his ego as well.

Steve Little, as Todd, has established that his character is the sycophantic hero-worshipping dullard who may mean well, but does not have the capability to do so.

FOX have a truly funny sitcom in The Grinder, along with the perfect double act with Savage and Lowe as the “Brothers Sanderson.” In fact the entire cast fit their parts like  well tailored  gloves and all help to bring the laughs to an appreciative audience.

Thus far, FOX have greenlit a “back nine” set of episodes to round out the first season of The Grinder. Pulling in around 2.2 million [sic] viewers for each episode the show may not be a shoe-in for a second season, but if there is any justice in TV land, it will be back after this one ends.

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Stew and Debbie, the perfect couple…

The Grinder airs Tuesdays on FOX. Tune and and enjoy the fun.

 

The Grinder: Giving Thanks, Getting Justice (Review)

The parallel storyline on The Grinder: Giving Thanks, Getting Justice is brilliant mix of disillusion, betrayal and at least one surprising revelation

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The parallel storyline on The Grinder: Giving Thanks, Getting Justice is brilliant mix of disillusion, betrayal and at least one surprising revelation. As the Sanderson family prepare to ignore Thanksgiving, something initiated by Stewart (Fred Savage), Dean (Rob Lowe) is reliving the one year anniversary of events that led to his leaving  “The Grinder.”

At the Sanderson house, Stewart has a secret reason for not celebrating the holiday and Dean invites the former legal partner of their father’s; Joseph T. Yao who Stew caught “In flagrant delicato” with their mother in Dean’s bedroom five years previously.

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Rock star lives….

This episode has a dearth of guest stars:  Clyde Kusatsu  as Yao, Timothy Olyphant, as himself and Arielle Kebbel as “The Grinder” paralegal Avery who Dean has TV sex with on his old show. The excellent Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander gives a star turn as the director/show runner who shafts Dean on the issue of shirtless versus not shirtless, which prompts Dean to leave the show.

The plot lines were funny, of course. The two brother’s dealing with infidelity, and the whole reality of their parents’ “rock star” sex lives, which included Yao was hysterical.  Olyphant’s cameo, as himself, giving advice to Lowe’s character about dignity and taking control was the highlight of the show. The punchline, of the gag (Justified?) almost stole the thunder from the rest of the episode and its gags.

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Jason Alexander, King of Smarmy and Rob Lowe…

In terms of guest stars, this FOX sitcom has pulled in some great names. In this episode alone the gorgeous and uber talented Kebbel steps in as, the  “familiar female star” for “The Grinder.” In an earlier episode, this cameo was taken by Linda Cardellini.  Alexander, who plays show creator and director Cliff  Bemis, tricks Dean into using the “Mitch shirtless” scenes, does his usual expert turn as the master of smarmy. A previous guest spot was filled by Christina Applegate.

As usual, Dean Jr. manages to stack up the familial situation with stress but, in the end, also helps his little brother to get his dignity back. Before the end credits roll,  the episode delivers  a “double punchline”  that has both men upset by the news that their father knew about their mother’s apparent ongoing sexual dalliance with Yao.

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The confrontation

It also has Dean realizing that the advice Olyphant gave him was a set up when a trailer shows Timothy will be playing Mitch Grinder’s brother Rake an a replacement show to Dean’s. The advert ends with a shirtless Olyphant saying “The Big Easy just got hard.”

The writing on this show continues to deliver the laughs.  On a sidenote; it is impressive the number of words that rhyme with Yao… While the viewing figures may not be very high, FOX  will surely bring back the series for at least one encore, aka second season.

This week’s episode also proved that as Stewart’s wife, Mary Elizabeth Ellis can deliver with a minimum of muss and fuss. The revelatory scene where Dean forces Stew to tell him about their mother and Yao  has Ellis stealing the scene with one line. 

The Grinder airs Tuesdays on FOX. Tune in and get ready to laugh…a lot.