The Absurd Comedy of “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window”

PHOTO COURTESY/ Youtube Netflix

PHOTO COURTESY/ Youtube Netflix

The title “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” sounds like when you write a paper but have not quite reached the word count yet. Released on Jan. 28, 2022, on Netflix, the show parodies the 2010’s middle-aged-woman-who-solves-murders-in-her-free-time trope (as seen in “The Woman in the Window” and “The Girl on the Train”). However, the title is not the funniest thing about the series. The over-the-top plot and characters both kept audiences on their toes and had me guessing what came next. 

After a family tragedy, Anna Whitaker (Kristen Bell) spends her time as a recluse until she meets her handsome new neighbor (Tom Riley) and his daughter (Samsara Yett). However, her feelings are interrupted when she meets his flight attendant girlfriend (Shelley Hennig) and thinks she witnesses her murder in the neighbor’s home. Accompanied by wine, pills and chicken casseroles, she takes the case into her own hands. 

One great aspect of the show is that audiences do not know whether to believe Anna or not. She is under the influence of many bottles of wine and pills for more than half of the show and has vivid visions of her dead daughter. She clearly has an obsession with her neighbors because they have the life she once had: a happy marriage with a child. She questions her own motives and has a record of being questioned by the police. Her neighbors and peers look down on her and do not believe her accusations from the start, and at times I found myself doing the same. The show takes a twist on the similarly titled Netflix film “The Woman in the Window,” where both main characters are named Anna who are recently divorced. The two keep tabs on their neighbors until they witness a murder through the window. The Anna’s spend most of their time with a glass of wine in their hands and take a large number of medications.

The show has received mixed reviews from critics. Meagan Navarro of Bloody Disgusting writes, “This series is far more digestible than its mouthful of a title, and the absurd satire builds to a hilarious punchline.” Over all the praise, critics such as Roxanne Sancto of Little White Lies believe that “The show is so concerned with trying to be something that it ends up being nothing; it’s neither clever nor particularly captivating.” Whether you like the show depends on your preconceived notions of the satirical aspects of the show, or whether you are just a fan of Kristen Bell!

TWITHAFTGIHW is not for everyone. If you like exciting thrillers, deadpan comedies and quick watches, then this show is for you. The A-list cameo and cliffhanger at the end of the series set up the show for a second season which has yet to be renewed. The “whodunit” plot will leave you making scenarios in your mind and still be surprised by the penultimate reveal.