Santa Clarita Diet has a lot going for it: Drew Barrymore as our deific zombie, Timothy Olyphant as her loving husband/partner in crime, and oh-so-many social-justice-zombie-ing hijinks. Those hijinks usually involve cover stories and on occasion an 80's Halloween costume version of a disguise. Which is to say, usually creatively inspired by whatever’s on hand, and not necessarily completely convincing.
Today, though, we want to focus on a specific undercover character created by Joel (Olyphant). In the first episode of Season 3, the Hammonds hear a thud and open their door to find a note stuck to their door with a knife. It says “Beware! The knights are coming!” Sheila (Barrymore) has no idea what it means, but Joel does. The Knights of Serbia were a group of men dedicated to killing the undead. (“Of course they were all men,” Sheila deadpans. Can you believe Netflix canceled this gem of a show?) So, Joel’s on the hunt, trying to figure out who dared stick a knife in the Hammond’s beautiful front door. (Did I mention that they’re also a realtor couple?) He walks into the Serbian Consulate of Los Angeles. He’s got on glasses (serious Joel) and over the same polo he had on that morning, a blazer (professional Joel) and a messenger bag (student Joel). He walks up the desk and greets the minions Janko and Vlado, “Hello, I’m Roy Eastman.” After getting the attention of their boss, he says, “I’m a medieval scholar" and then — I cannot stress this enough — he pulls an unremarkable black retractable pen out of his breast pocket as proof of his academic livelihood before continuing, "at the local university.”
It makes absolutely no sense but Joel doesn’t break stride, moving right on to his questioning. You’d think his confidence would be enough to sell the cover, but the three Serbian officials, suspicion heightening with every word coming out of Joel’s mouth, are really, really not buying it. Then Hammond forgets Roy’s last name. But that’s OK — he totally covers in a very believable way. (Read as: not believable at all.)
But Olyphant’s delivery in this scene is genuinely one of the funniest things the show has ever done, and Roy Eastman-Kodak gets special recognition for the combination of the “Yeah-I-work-in-academia-look-at-my-pen” move and the addition of Kodak as a believable hyphenated last name for a medieval scholar. He tried, and that’s what matters most.