Santa Clarita Diet: Joel Hammond – The Loyalty We Should All Aspire To

By: Jessica Bedewi

On any given day, I do quite a bit of thinking about the type of guy I want to end up with, mostly because my taste in men leaves something to be desired.

The usual qualities have made my list of must-haves: smart, funny, honest, six-pack abs, a lack of emotional vulnerability—you know, the things we all want in our future partners. I was doing a bit of this soul-searching the other day when suddenly it hit me—I need a Joel Hammond.

Dear, sweet Joel is the ever-loyal husband of Sheila Hammond—the flesh-eating protagonist of the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet. In the horror-comedy series, Sheila suddenly turns into a zombie, much to the surprise of herself, and her husband and daughter. Now, if my spouse randomly turned into a zombie I think that would be a pretty clear sign that our relationship was at an end. I can handle a lot of things, but tearing people’s throats out and snacking on their flesh has shockingly made my list of deal breakers.

However, while any normal person would high-tail it out of that situation, leaving their undead spouse to fend for themselves and probably taking anything of value with them, Joel decides to stand by his wife’s side. Even more so, Joel decides to HELP Sheila in her new mission to find people to kill and therefore stay alive herself.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: that Joel sounds like a psychopath who just needed an excuse to murder people. I get that point of view, really I do. While their whole Bonnie/Clyde partnership might not SOUND like the ideal marriage, I’m here to convince you exactly why Joel Hammond is the loyalty we should all aspire to.

First, before Sheila turns into a zombie, she and Joel had already spent 20 years of their life together. They were high school sweethearts who got married, had a daughter, and built a decently successful business partnership. To throw all that away just because your wife starts eating people seems a little short-sighted. Joel recognizes how difficult it would be to separate his life from Sheila’s after 20 whole years together. Not only that, I’m guessing he has the intricacies of how messy a divorce battle would be when your ex-wife is an unpredictable zombie who could potentially eat you running through his head, so he sticks around. See? Smart guy.

Second, Joel is a little neurotic. Sure he’s a nice, sweet guy, but he gets nervous really easily and kind of stumbles over his words more often than not. That could be the result of his transition to being married to a zombie, but combine that with his slender physical build and increasing age and you’ll probably come to the same conclusion that I did—Joel wouldn’t do so great on the dating scene. Again, he’s smart enough to realize this, so he sticks with Sheila. And honestly who doesn’t want a guy who’s willing to settle for them?

In addition to these stunning qualities, Joel is also willing to take direction. Turning into a zombie understandably means that Sheila now wears the pants in the relationship. Joel struggles with this slightly, but in general he’s willing to loosen the reins of typical masculinity to give his wife what she needs. She conducts most of the killing, calls a majority of the shots, and Joel mostly just follows along cleaning up after her and making sure they don’t get caught. I’m not saying Joel is a model feminist here, but he knows how to take direction and honestly that’s more than most men can say these days.

Lastly, Joel has a dark side. Mostly he’s just following Sheila around on her various killing sprees, but there are a few times where Joel himself snaps. For example, Joel gets fed up with the dick of a neighbor next door who’s trying to blackmail him, so he kills him. Why is this a good thing, you ask? I mean, if you’re gunna stay with someone forever you have to keep things interesting. Disclaimer: I’M DEFINITELY NOT RECOMMENDING MURDER. I’m just saying, Joel’s personality is often akin to eating a bowl of fat-free, sugar-free, flavor-free Greek yogurt, so tossing a bit of murder in there is the normal person equivalent to tossing some cinnamon or fruit into your morning breakfast bowl. He might kill people, but at least he’s not a total bore.

So, there you have it, all the reasons why I’ve decided Joel Hammond is my ultimate relationship goals. I’m fully and completely convinced that we should all strive for a Joel Hammond-level of loyalty, minus the murdering and flesh-eating aspects of his life. But hey, no relationship is perfect, right?

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