Described by Netflix as a “dark comedy thriller,” the preposterously titled, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window is one of the most ridiculous mystery shows to emerge in quite some time. With Kristen Bell at its center (who is no stranger to mysteries considering her tenure on Veronica Mars), this fun little show carries the weight of a star performer doing her best Amy Adams exaggeration. At first, it is definitely a bit shaky, but the further Woman flows into its various twists and turns, the more it eases into an impressive groove.
For Anna (Bell), every day is a repeat of the same dreary existence. The show starts with an eerie vibe, but that is before Anna’s British voiceover kicks in. Creepy theme music and water dripping down from that nonsensical title immediately set the stage for the type of show we can expect. Shortly after, Anna pours a glass of wine all the way to the tippy top, where it practically spills over. This becomes the first of many times that Anna pours a glass of wine, and wallows in her own convoluted backstory. First a talented artist who painted animals in classical paintings, Anna’s entire life fell apart after her daughter’s tragic death. “I was talented once,” she opines unironically. Now suffering from ombrophobia—fear of rain—Anna is a shut-in who only makes public appearances donned in bathrobes.
The inciting incident here is a new family that moves in across the street, complete with a shirtless love interest acting as obvious eye candy. The daughter reminds Anna of her own child, who is tragically absent thanks to her brush with a cannibal nick-named “Massacre Mike.” When Anna witnesses a murder that happens across the street, she spirals. The cops think she was “having a party” and made up the story while reading a thriller novel. No one will believe Anna—even her hunky neighbor Neil (Tom Riley) is not on her side.
A constantly escalating attempt to resolve the murder—and the subsequent hole that Anna keeps digging herself deeper and deeper into—keeps the show interesting. It makes one guess what will happen next, even if one knows it is probably going to be implausible. The eventual reveal is satisfying in a way that many mystery shows are not, and moderately made me want to rewatch to see if I could notice the breadcrumbs laid, or if it was just so out of left field on purpose.
The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window may never be laugh-out-loud funny, however it is more like ridiculous-funny. Anna dropping the casserole dish an obscene number of times, or the mere visual of a bowl overflowing with wine corks, perfectly exemplifies the tricky tonal balance. A second season of The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window could be an absolute blast. The wise decision is made to at least wrap up the primary mystery, so all that remains is the one that presents itself during the cliffhanger ending. If Kristen Bell is down to revel in this amount of absurdity for another breezy eight episodes, I am down!
“If you don’t risk anything, you risk everything…” Don’t risk missing the shocking (and frequently funny) The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window when it debuts on Netflix, Friday, January 28th.