Wednesday, February 9, 2022

TV Mini-Review: The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window


The title to this show is absurd.  So I thought I was going to sit through a nice parody of Lifetime Movie Network mysteries.  This show also stars Kristen Bell, who elevates everything she's in, so I was hoping for a good time.

But watching this show is like listening to an inside joke that you are not in on.

The story is boilerplate things from the genre: Anna (Bell), drinks too much and mixes it will pills all to cope with a past tragedy.  She thinks she witnesses a murder, but no one believes her because of the booze and drugs.  She searches for answers, unsure if this is all in her head or not.

I've heard people call this show a satire of the genre.  That is being very generous.

The show takes all of the tropes of this type of movie and amps it up to 11.  The tragedy that Anna is dealing with the death of her daughter.... who was eaten to death by a cannibalistic serial killer... who was accidentally locked in a room with her when her father took to the prison on But instead of winking at the camera to have a little fun, they play it completely straight.

Judd Apatow once said that it is difficult to do a parody of pornography, because what tends to happen is that your parody simply devolves into actual pornography.  This movie may be trying to satirize bad mystery shows.  Unfortunately, because they don't let you in on the joke, the show feels like you are watching an actual bad mystery show.

Instead of seeing a clever mock of this type of story, it feels like they simply are showing you that they understand the tropes.  There is nothing clever or original about anything here.  And because the show is filmed and performed with deadly seriousness, none of its innate silliness can be enjoyed.  

Movies like Airplane! and Shaun of the Dead can have their characters play everything straight, but the directors of those movies knew how to film things so that you could feel the humor.  The makers of this show don't understand that.  If the makers of this show had leaned more heavily into either laughs or scares, this show would be much more entertaining.

Bell does her best with the material, but it all of that talent is fueling a show that doesn't live up to the performances.

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