On January 28th, Netflix released the premiere season of the long-windedly titled show The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window. The story follows a heartbroken, homebody woman named Anna (Kristen Bell) and her increasing suspicions about the new family that moves in across the street after she thinks she witnesses a murder. Her alleged delusions are fueled by her own past personal trauma, paired with her heavy abuse of red wine and prescription pills — the Insane Woman™ essentials. The mile-long title derives from satirizing popular girlboss psychological dramas such as The Girl on the Train and The Woman in the Window, and honestly perfectly sums up the plot right in the title —so I guess the creators get a point for that.
Going into it, I’ll admit I had high hopes. From what I knew, it was a dark comedy that was a parody of one of my personal favorite movie genres: Women Going Insane. I was excited to see a caricatured Amy Dunne from Gone Girl and the cult of crying women from Midsommar with the pop culture jokes and nuances of a Scary Movie parody. Netflix producers really lost their chance by not giving me a call to ask to direct, because my vision would have blown the actual production out of the water.
If you couldn’t tell yet, my first viewing of The Woman in the House disappointed me. I almost thought I was watching the wrong thing because of how unfunny I thought it was at the beginning. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be the idea itself of a wine-guzzling, pill-mixing PTA mom-type having delusions and stalking her neighbors that was the satire, but the attempts to include humor seemed to fall flat. Instead, viewers are given scenarios or dialogue that are just off-putting and weird enough to wonder if the creators did it on purpose or not. The acting performances of Bell’s supporting cast members are lackluster at best and on par with a Hallmark movie, which would have played into the joke of it all if there was anything actually humorous to build off of. Meta-parody is a tricky art to master, and unfortunately, The Woman in the House exemplifies how easy it is to mess up. I understand if they didn’t want to go full Disaster Movie to keep some of its integrity, but I think that route would have been more effective than the slightest pokes the show attempts to make at fem-lit parody. I applaud Kristen Bell’s commitment to being a deranged suburbanite, but this could’ve been Anna Faris’ big comeback into parody media, and for that, I will always feel cheated.
Did I come for the concept of The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window? Absolutely. Did I stay for it? No. I stayed for drama (obviously) and to get closure from the ending, which I suppose viewers get as far as the answer to if she imagined the crime goes, but nothing past that. I will say the ending was not something I was expecting, but was a prediction from someone in my watch party.If there is a next season to expand on all the loose ends that were left within the finale of Season 1, maybe someone can catch me up, but I have no intention of enduring more episodes myself. If I want to join a woman in her wine-induced psychosis, I can hang out with my own friends! However, I will say it was a nice way to kill time while I wait patiently for my Sunday night Euphoria episode premieres.