Review: SANTA CLARITA DIET Season Two

“Had enough? Or are ya hungry for more?” a certain little precocious tyke was once heard to ask in HOME ALONE.

Kid, the hunger pangs never subsided…not even ONCE, after we enthusiastically scarfed down Season One of SANTA CLARITA DIET, and went sniffing around for more, jonesing badly for Season Two.

Well, folks, ‘jones’ no longer.

Our favorite suburban “scream team,” the Hammonds are back, and thank goodness, their lives are no more normal than when we last saw them. In fact, things couldn’t be more fucked…or so THEY think.

By the end of the Season One finale, Joel Hammond (TIM OLYPHANT) had been consigned to a psych ward, and Sheila (DREW BARRYMORE) was being chained up in the basement – at HER OWN request – by daughter Abby (LIV HEWSON), so she could be kept away from people, and not be tempted to snack on anyone (well, anyone ELSE) in the neighborhood.

Of course, if everything stopped right there, there wouldn’t be a Season Two, right? So…what things can I tell you about the new season without giving away major, major spoilers?

Santa Clarita Diet Season 2

Well, for starters, there’s the ‘common sense’ things you can surmise without getting any help from me…Like Joel getting out of “psych holding” in the hospital facility, and Sheila finally getting out of the basement and chasing…well, I can’t tell you who or what she’s chasing, but it does have quite a bit to do with all of that boundless energy she’s gotten from being undead, and changing her eating habits to “homo sapiens proteinus” (not even close to being real Latin, I’m sure).

I can reveal a few more tender, juicy tidbits…

Lisa Palmer (MARY ELIZABETH ELLIS) had been taking the disappearance of her hubby, Dan, kind of hard, but not for long. She was ‘helped’ through her grief by one of the deputies involved in the investigation, one Anne Garcia (NATALIE MORALES of HBO’S GIRLS and PARKS AND RECREATION). In fact, Lisa and Anne are quite something of an ‘item’ now, and not afraid to let everyone know it. And the growing friendship-by-osmosis between Anne and Sheila cannot lead to anything good. One of the cops trying to solve the mystery of Dan’s ‘vanishing’, befriending the woman who was involved in killing him? Nope, nothing wrong here!

Not to mention the complications that develop in the relationship between BFF’S Abby and Lisa’s son, Eric (SKYLER GISONDO), having to do with a wildly relevant new social status that Abby attains at school, due to a certain incident she becomes involved in. Not to mention other issues that motivate the two friends to suddenly become activists. Or is it ‘terrorists’? You can decide for yourself when you see what happens.

A thread of sadness runs through this season, however, as beneath the constant, frantic state of paranoia, Joel and Sheila have begun to accept that the real possibility looms over all, that everything they’ve been doing could be uncovered, before Joel, Eric and Abby are ever successful in finding a cure for Sheila’s “condition”. Which appears to be growing a lot worse, not just in the sense of her physical deterioration, but also in terms of her nocturnal ‘foraging habits’.

I won’t tease any more of the plot, but I WILL mention some of the guest stars strolling through this time around, so if you want to know NOTHING more about this, here’s your chance to bounce while the bouncing’s still good.

A certain special guest star from Season One makes an unexpected and shockingly funny re-appearance this time around, (and I’ll let YOU guess who it is.) And they’re joined this time by PAUL BEN-VICTOR (from too many movies and TV series to name, but most recently from HBO’S VINYL); JOE MCHALE (THE SOUP and COMMUNITY); MARKIE POST (from THE FALL GUY, CHICAGO P.D. and the beloved comedy series NIGHT COURT); SARAH BAKER (HBO’S BIG LITTLE LIES), and even GERALD MCRANEY (yes, “MAJOR DAD” shows up for a real fun cameo.)

Not to mention that many other characters who add to the show’s laugh quotient are back. THOMAS LENNON (RENO 9-1-1!) returns as prissy Principal Novak, still trying to make Abby’s life miserable at school; ANDY RICHTER, still basking in a warm miasma of misogyny and socially-inept douchiness as Joel and Sheila’s boss, Carl Goby; and something I always love to see happen to featured characters – deadpan store clerk Ramona (RAMONA YOUNG) gets a ‘promotion’ of sorts, playing a much larger role in the mirthful mayhem, murder and munchies this season.

These next ten episodes blow by way too fast, and parting from SANTA CLARITA once again is such sweet sorrow. But by the way – speaking of guest stars – an appearance by one in particular in the last episode, signals the strong possibility of a Season Three on the horizon. You do NOT get someone of this caliber to make an appearance on a show that’s been earmarked for cancellation, right? I wish I could tell you who it is, but once you spot him, see if you don’t agree with me.

I’m not exactly sure how creator/showrunner VICTOR FRESCO is maintaining the quality of the series, but I think it has a lot to do with consistency, rather than trying to ‘shake things up’ in a show that doesn’t really require it. He’s kept the same writers from Season One, as well as the same talented directors; from TAMRA DAVIS and STEVE PINK, to RUBEN FLEISCHER (ZOMBIELAND, ironically enough) and DEAN PARISOT, the helmer of one of my all-time favorite comedies, GALAXY QUEST.

I’m not sure how others will find it, but I’m perfectly happy with the arcs that all of the characters are going through, whether they created their own misfortunes and triumphs, or it was the side effects of situations that went WAY beyond their control. The gags (sometimes literal) are still funny as hell, as are the subtle and not-so-subtle digs at life in upper middle class Suburbia.

Giving a happy three-and-a-half out of five stars for SANTA CLARITA DIET’S second season, and yes, I’m holding out my plate, expecting thirds. Hear that, Netflix?

Author: Samuel Glass Jr

From the first time, at age eight, when he saw little Rhoda Penmark’s evil ass get taken out by a lightning bolt, Sam Glass Jr. has been freaked out by lightning…and completely captivated by horror. The son of an Air Force communications specialist and a government worker, he’s been a writer and sometime actor, and his biggest claim to fame is getting to appear in a John Waters movie, CECIL B. DEMENTED, in 2000. His biggest passion is reviewing horror films and attending conventions, and overall favorite movie is PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. Currently, he resides in the city of Las Vegas with his partner of twenty years.

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