On February 3rd, 2017, Netflix released its newest original series, The Santa Clarita Diet. This hit new show focuses around married real estate couple Joel and Sheila Hammond played by Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore. Everything in their life is perfect until Sheila gets incredibly sick and things take a dark turn. However, suddenly she wakes up and everything is good again, except now she is a zombie and that’s something the internet would probably have a lot of misinformation about.
The Santa Clarita Diet, while you wouldn’t think so at first, has a lot of awesome teachable moments. The main stars are just your average suburban family who, all of a sudden, have to deal with a life-changing event while still staying on top of work and making sure their teenage daughter Abby, Liv Hewson, goes to college. If you think you can’t learn anything from this show, think again, because these are the best teachable moments from The Santa Clarita Diet.
4 Family Comes First
Even in the throws of something so traumatic and unusual, Joel and Sheila are trying to keep everything together. Just because they need to start murdering people so Sheila can eat doesn’t mean they can neglect their daughter. When Sheila first comes clean about being dead (but also being undead, obviously), Abby initially seems fine. However, this kind of news can take its toll on a teenager. A lot of questions get raised. Will her mom always be that way? Will things ever be the same? Will her mom eventually go to jail for murdering several people? They have to take time out of their murdering/keeping Sheila fed schedule to make sure they love and support their daughter. Family always comes first. “We have to kill somebody today but we have to be parents everyday.” – Sheila Hammond.
3 Education Is Important
Abby decides that, since nothing in her life makes sense and that her parents are always lying to her, all of sudden sitting in class just seems redundant - which, if any of us were in her shoes, we would feel the exact same way about. However, in the interest of keeping her family together, Sheila needs to prove to Abby that college is the best choice for her. As Abby puts it “Mom, I know the past tense of stole and today I realized that air vents don’t always line up with the unit below them. I have all the tools I need.” Otherwise she could end up running a chop shop out of a storage unit wearing a leather coat that says “Pussy Magnet” on the back.
Don’t Take The Little Moments For Granted
With everything going on in your lives, whether it is work or studies or buying a home or figuring out how to kill someone and no get caught, it’s important to remember that you have to cherish those special moments together. Whether it’s moments as a family, with your spouse or just with yourself. We know it can be hard, but you need take time out of your busy schedule and take that trip to the beach like you have been planning. Joel and Sheila realized this and decided the best thing they could do while the neighborhood was being inspected to find a missing dead cop was to take that trip to the beach. Who says an alibi and a day of fun can’t be one in the same?
Know Your Limits
One thing that is very clear within this show is that everyone has their limits. There is no shame in admitting that you have limits. Sometimes you just need to embrace your skill set and know there are just somethings you just can’t do. For Eric Bemis, played by Skyler Gisondo, he knows that he can’t do cocaine, but he also knows that he can smoke bomb his step dad Dan for being a dick. As for Joel, he knows he can’t kill someone, but he also knows that he will try literally anything else to feed his wife - including paying $500 for a foot from the morgue. Abby, on the other hand, finds out her limits the hard way when she comes across a dead junkie and can’t decide what to do with the body. Everyone has limits.
2 Do Things As A Couple
We would personally say that, when faced with the horror of your wife becoming a zombie, it’s good to spend as much time together as a couple. You never know when she might go full zombie on you. Embrace those moments of happiness. While, for normal people, spending time together could include seeing a movie or going out for dinner, for these two lovebirds, they have to kill and hide bodies. Not exactly a romantic night out but ,if you’re doing it together, then that is all that matters. A couple that tries to murder a wanted drug dealer together... stays together. When you work together in a relationship, you build a much deeper bond and a stronger connection. Do things together as a couple.
Some Cops Are Trustworthy
In our day and age, it’s hard to know who you can trust in the realms of law enforcement. Luckily, they aren’t all bad apples. Some officers, like good ol’ Officer Rick (Richard T. Jones), the main characters' next door neighbor who enjoys a good cooking podcast while he gardens, is one of the good ones. He doesn’t ask questions as to why Joel needs an email traced (although he does assume it's cause Sheila is cheating, that’s why anyone wants something traced), he doesn’t hesitate to light up a joint with Joel and jam out a little bit. Some cops are just plain great guys. Even though he insists on putting socks on his baby when it’s a hundred degrees out and always wants to be included in whatever delicious meat cook out they are having.
Some Cops Aren’t
Now, because we also live in this day and age, we can openly say that not all cops are good. You watch the news and you can see cops doing things they shouldn’t literally all the time. Well, the same goes for Joel and Sheila and their encounters with Officer Dan, played by Ricardo Chavira. He is a crooked cop, who blackmails them into killing people for him. He is not a good person. Since they can’t really tell him that Sheila is a zombie they are pretty much at his mercy. The life lesson here is that they are just big bullies and you should stand up to bullies. Maybe don’t kill them with a shovel, but also don’t take their crap. Some cops are just bad people, karma will get them if you don’t. In Dan's case, he ended up dead in a bathtub.
Sometimes You Need To Treat Yourself
As much as we may slave away at our jobs, there comes a time in all our lives when we need to "treat ourselves." This is the number one mantra that you should be putting forth out there into the world. When Sheila and her new found force thinks to herself "f*ck it" and buys herself a Range Rover, it’s inspiring. She even inspires the neighbor Lisa Bemis, played by Mary Elizabeth Ellis, to take her life into her own hands and treat her self too. “I’m gonna get some of those Christian Louboutin’s. They’re f*cking expensive, but f*ck it.” Sometimes you just need to take a step back, realize you deserve it and go get yourself a pair of expensive heels or a night out with the ladies. You deserve it, treat yourself.
A Healthy Diet Is Important
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. A great lesson to learn as you move through life is that your health is important and you need to stay on top of it. Get out there and give yourself at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. When it comes to your diet, you need to make sure you are getting enough protein. Sheila saw a massive improvement in her health when she started consuming more proteins. "All of the protein", in fact. Suddenly she was out and about, power walking with the ladies, her sex drive was up, she even had a better outlook on life in general - a prime example of how having a healthy lifestyle can improve your life.
It’s Okay To Have Secrets
There is a major stigma around secrets not being good and how secrets will break your relationship. Some secrets will tear your relationship apart - for instance, cheating or lying about money - but keeping secrets about how your toe fell off and not wanting to cause alarm until you can figure things out are okay. Secrets are what make us human. We are not programmed to give away all our information up front. Santa Clarita Diet teaches us that having a secret, big or small, can sometimes mean the difference between living a happy, normal life and jail time. Similar to lying, there are some things that can be kept a secret that won’t hurt anyone. Just make sure you know the difference.
Moms Can Be Embarrassing But They Will Always Love You
This is a lesson that every teenager should learn now - your mother will embarrass you. Maybe not to the extent that Eric’s mother Lisa does by saying things like “You’re the queen of the spank bank” or “You have that new baby smell”, but they will embarrass you. That’s just what happens in life. However, as much as she embarrasses her child, she only wants what’s best for him. That’s what your mother wants as well. Take this is the most important teachable moment. Your mother is looking out for you constantly. She might say some stuff that will make you cringe, but she will always be your number one fan. At least your mother won’t surprise any of your friends wearing a disposal pink poncho (we hope!).
1 Lying Is Hard
Lying is hard because it’s something you don’t want to do naturally. However, there are some occasions when you need to lie in order to save someone’s feelings or protect someone. In the case of Joel and Sheila, they don’t want their daughter to know they are murdering people now, so they lie to protect her - just like she lies to Joel about not wanting to have sex because she lost a toe doesn’t want to freak him out. There is good lying and there is bad lying - you just need to be able to keep the secret should you choose to lie. Lying should be used for good. Lying to make someone look cool in front of his peers is also acceptable. Don’t lie for the wrong reasons. Don’t be that person.
Eating An Entire Body Is Harder
Ever heard the expression your eyes are bigger than your mouth? Well, this can be said about ordering an 8oz steak when you should have gotten a 6 oz. It usually doesn’t apply to eating a 210lb fully-grown male in one night so the police don’t find it in your bathtub. However, Sheila is entertaining to watch as she attempts it. The lesson to take away from this is that you can indulge, but keep everything in moderation. Just because you might be able to eat a fully-grown adult male body does not mean you should! We mentioned earlier that you do need to have a healthy diet, but that doesn’t mean cutting out everything you don’t want to eat. Just think about portion sizes.
Trying To Kill Someone Is The Hardest
This one certainly seems like the obvious one - killing someone is hard. There is literally nothing harder than killing someone. Well, maybe killing someone and not getting caught - that might be harder. Joel and Sheila make it look like killing someone, while undoubtedly difficult, is not the end of the world. They don’t think twice about taking a shovel to someone’s head. Sheila has no remorse about eating a dead guy's entire body. But zombie blood does not run through our veins. We do not need to kill anyone.
Having said this, DO NOT KILL SOMEONE. That should be the obvious take away. Killing someone is hard for a reason, you aren’t supposed to do it. So, let’s just not kill anyone.
Being A Teenager With Murdering/Zombie Parents Ain’t Easy
Trust us, we get it - it is hard being a teenager nowadays. There is so much pressure to be a million different things, to please a million different people, and to and plan your life out in high school when you barely know who you are. Abby goes through the same things, only her parents are now murdering people so that her mom can eat. Her problems might be a bit more complicated than ours - but that doesn’t mean we don’t get it. However, the lesson you can take away is that your parents are doing everything in their power to shield you from the horrors of the world. While you think you are ready to be exposed to a dead body, there’s a good chance you are not. Trust that your parents are looking out for your best interests. It’s not just an oven full of lies.
With all these helpful teachable moments from Season 1 of Santa Clarita Diet, we can only imagine what season 2 has in store for us. We are definitely hungry for more.