Life is not easy for Kristen Bell’s Anna in The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window. Suffering through the loss of a child, a messy divorce, and a range of substance abuse, she is in potentially the roughest spot ever in her life. So, it is no wonder that when a new mysterious neighbour moves in across the street, she plays out countless fantasies and delusions about the situation as she looks on with wine in her hand. This is the setup for the new Netflix dark comedy The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window.
Taking from the core of the thriller genre, The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window is a story that dances the line between engaging and complete satire of the situation. With a fear of rain, and a tragic backstory, Anna is very close to the typical stay at home crime solver we have seen in countless movies and shows, even close to the Hitchcock Classic Rear Window, but it is the way characters play with the scenario that makes the well tread landscape of the thriller formula so interesting.
If you were to only watch a few minutes of an episode, most things are played straight, even some of the more ridiculous concepts. Characters never break, even if the things they are saying make no logical sense. From the concept of “take your kid to work day” involving a maximum security prison for the criminally insane, to how characters react to everyday tropes, it all works to build a universe that feels silly, but you just need to see what happens next.
“Kristen Bell brings the character of Anna to life in The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window with the typical dry comedy we have come to expect from her.”
Kristen Bell brings the character of Anna to life in The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window with the typical dry comedy we have come to expect from her. She plays into the roll, bringing just enough mania to the character to make her relatable, even as she goes on wild adventures and missions that no person should ever attempt. As she questions the surrounding reality, we join her for the ride since she is so damn entertaining. While her world may be imploding, at least she always has the typical sarcastic wit that makes her so engaging.
The cast and guest stars in The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window all play their roles masterfully as they build out the bonkers reality Anna lives in. With acting greats like Michael Ealy (Bakershop), Mary Holland (Veep) and Cameron Britton (Mindhunter) the series feels grounded in its own reality, even if things quickly go from semi-normal to unhinged as the series progresses.
As Anna tries to unearth what is going on, the series plays with perspective, so you are never clear what is really going on. Combine that with Kristen Bell’s unique way of delivering ridiculous lines completely straight, especially as she tries to play detective badly, and you have a formula that should not work but somehow does. Even as the series barrels into the third act, and the revelations get more and more insane, it all works, making for truly engaging bingeworthy TV.
It can be hard to make satire work, and harder still to do that while delivering a series or movie that is fun and entertaining to watch, but somehow The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window pulls it off. For anyone who loves a good thriller, and wants to see how far off the rails things can go without anyone batting an eye, then you need to give this series a watch. You will thank me later.