The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window: Season 1
February 2, 2022 12:58 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Mixing wine, pills, casseroles and an overactive imagination, Anna (Kristen Bell) obsesses over a hunky neighbor across the street and witnesses a murder. Or did she?
posted by ltl (31 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is one of those shows that I liked much more than just about all the professional reviewers seemed to. The casserole motif? Screamingly funny. The handyman who spends the entire season repairing a mailbox? Tremendous.
There is no "I" in Heaven

posted by BungaDunga at 1:25 PM on February 2, 2022 [6 favorites]

I honestly couldn't tell from the preview -- is this show a comedy or a serious thriller? The title suggests comedy, but the preview didn't seem to imply that it would be.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:27 PM on February 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

This show has a serious tone problem. Like what is the deal here? Dark comedy? Simple-minded melodrama with twists that stretch all credulity? “Women sure do get crazy when they’ve suffered a traumatic loss”? I kept watching to the end because I thought the weird lapses in believability would be explained by a twist of some kind, like that would call EVERYTHING into question. But Uh. That’s not what happened.
posted by wabbittwax at 1:28 PM on February 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

It's mostly a satire / pastiche of the "The Girl on the Train", "The Woman in the Window" -type of thriller.

Like, it's deeply unbelievable because the characters live in a hell-world where casseroles are only made and smashed, never eaten. The handyman forever fixes the same mailbox. Rain turns on at precisely the correct moment to torment the main character, and it's always pouring or sunny, never a drizzle.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:36 PM on February 2, 2022 [11 favorites]

I was laughing my ass off so often at this show, quite unexpected. It's a much more subtle parody than Naked Gun or Scary Movie but every much the same vein. Or it's also just like watchnig a bad movie with a p[artner or family except all the ridiculous stuff you're pointing out is there on purpose, meant to be funny.

Rain turns on at precisely the correct moment to torment the main character, and it's always pouring or sunny, never a drizzle.

Not only that but she specifically has a rain phobia that makes her just collapse instantly. I also loved how the spilled casserole remained on the ground for several days in the background of other scenes. My favourite casserole gag was when she brings it to some woman and asks her if she likes casserole, she very seriously a breathily admits "she loves casserole" but when Anna leaves the lady makes sure to to make Ana leave with the casserole.

Everything with the handyman and therapist reveal had me rolling laughing, "I knew If I told you, you woulda said no!" and "but we had to fix that mailbox!"

Also when she has the guy hiding in her cupboard and he keeps getting way too close to the blinds and peeking out for no reason when it's a huge pantry with tons of room to hide in. The narration was also always full of great gags that if you take at face value are just cliche narration but they are intensely aware and making fun of this. Bingo.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:45 PM on February 2, 2022 [8 favorites]

It's a much more subtle parody than Naked Gun or Scary Movie but every much the same vein. Or it's also just like watchnig a bad movie with a p[artner or family except all the ridiculous stuff you're pointing out is there on purpose, meant to be funny.

Yeah, it's awfully subtle sometimes. Two of my favorite characters were "lighthouse keeper who gets so many visitors he obviously doesn't remember the Vital Clue" and "woman who photographs every school group visiting the lighthouse and took a picture of the Vital Clue." The first one is funny because by the rules of the genre the lighthouse keeper ought to have the Vital Clue (but, really, what are the odds he would remember) and the second one is funny because why does she shoot school groups on film? (it's so the Vital Clue can be dramatically revealed as the photo develops).

If there was only one of them, you'd have met identical characters in "serious" crime shows, and it wouldn't be that funny. But it's just slightly over the top and that makes all the difference. And having both of them next to each other just makes it clear the authors are playing around, like doing a Law and Order pastiche based on John Mulaney's "What Every Episode of “Law & Order” Is Like."

There's a lot more in it that is more funny than those two, really, but I loved this sort of weird subtle nonsense.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:25 PM on February 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

We binged it over the weekend and loved it. It feels like a lot of online reviewers don't get that it's a parody of the genre. The casserole thing kept bothering me because that is such a Midwest thing and the show I think is set in CT. But maybe that was the joke with the casseroles.
posted by COD at 2:27 PM on February 2, 2022

I felt like it had a serious tone problem as well, such that it didn't work for me as either a comedy or a suspense film.
I wanted to like it much more than I did, but in the end I just wished I did needlework because I could have made some good progress on a scarf.

It did make me think that there should be a paid service for mystery writers, though, where for some mutually-agreed-upon sum they can have a pig carcass of some specified size delivered, with an assistant to keep time as they dismember/dissolve/woodchipper/whatever their carcass. Then, at the end, "oh, see, you had a fifteen minute window for this and it took three hours and fifty-two minutes." On further reflection, that was probably an intentional joke at the end, (too subtle for me!), where this person was meant to do this thing to this other person in some particular amount of time where just ... no.

I am glad that other people appreciate it more than I did, though.
posted by johnofjack at 2:27 PM on February 2, 2022

Ok I absolutely loved this and from what I can tell it's one where you either get the joke and it totally works for you, or you don't get the joke and none of it works. So to answer the big question: Yes, it's a comedy. But especially early on it's an extremely subtle satire of the domestic psychological thriller genre, so much so that it mostly just feels like a played-straight, pretty competent example of the genre. As it goes along, the absurdism ratchets up steadily but assuredly, with the jokes coming from wonderful unexpected directions, such as [SPOILERS, OBVIOUSLY]:

1. The dead daughter's changing headstone, with the epitaph being trite but sweet to start, then painfully cliché, then nonsensically cliché.

2. Everything about Massacre Mike. His name, his casting (I mostly know Brendan Jennings from A.P. Bio, where he plays an utterly harmless but doofy custodian, and crucially plays him exactly the same way as with his serial cannibal here.) The hushed tones with which he's always spoken of... just all of it is gold.

3. Neil's rapidly switching demeanor, especially his attitude towards Anna, as dictated by whatever the plot demands at any given moment.

4. Many different shades within the police investigation. Just everything about this was hilarious and never in the same way twice.

5. The unexpected marathon in-your-face sex scene.

6. The gradual revelations that Anna's ex makes horrifically bad decisions, which nobody ever considers holding him accountable for.

7. Sloane's popping over.

8. What Neil has in the bag.

9. Every scene with Scott.

10. The overnight red-eye flight from Connecticut to New York.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:10 PM on February 2, 2022 [8 favorites]

Mrs kandinski and I haven't watched the recent girls on trains and women in window movies, half for lack of time and 90% due to the terrible reviews. Will we be missing any topical in-jokes, or can we roll on the strength of decades of crime thrillers?
posted by kandinski at 6:21 PM on February 2, 2022

I'm only two episodes in and finding it subtly hilarious. The art books, "anyone can be an artist" "you too can be an artist", "you also can be an artist". The fact that the attic she hasn't been up to see leaf to believe in 3 years has windows just open and letting in the breeze. Her speech to get daughter comparing herself to two different bridges that collapsed. So far it's been great, I'm hoping it continues.
posted by Carillon at 9:55 PM on February 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

The casserole thing kept bothering me because that is such a Midwest thing and the show I think is set in CT. But maybe that was the joke with the casseroles.

Nah, I'd wager that Connecticut has no real identity of its own and is often treated as like a blank slate you can project anything on.

(I grew up in Connecticut. I know of which I speak. The southwestern corner is New York City's 6th Borough and the rest of the state exists to be a No-Man's Land separating Yankee Country and BoSox Nation.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:32 AM on February 3, 2022

Nah, I'd wager that Connecticut has no real identity of its own and is often treated as like a blank slate you can project anything on.

Don't they also project 'genericness' with a bunch of rattled off town names like Riverton and what not, in an early season? That backs up what you said.
posted by ftm at 12:06 PM on February 3, 2022

I was struggling a little with the show not knowing whether to be funny, scary, cringy, or pointed at times, but I decided to just roll with it and now we're enjoying the crap out if it.
posted by ftm at 12:07 PM on February 3, 2022

I just started it, partly because this thread made me curious, and already I like it. The dropped casserole, and then her sitting by the window with frozen peas on both hands; the glass of wine she pours so full she has to slurp it before she can lift it up to drink; "How do I keep forgetting that?" re: her dead daughter, and then, repeated when she burns herself on the second casserole dish, turning the poignancy of someone who is so haunted by the death of her daughter that she doesn't want to remember it into a farce: who can forget that grabbing a hot dish will burn you?

I am not a fan of these kinds of movies, and I may find the mystery elements of this as tedious as the real thing, but Kristen Bell is so charismatic, always a pleasure to see on the screen, and that may keep me watching.
posted by Well I never at 3:43 PM on February 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

A comedy?

"There's so many layers to casseroles, just like there's so many layers to a person."


You Too Can Be An Artist — Todd S. Palmer
You Also Can Be An Artist — Todd S. Palmer
Anyone Can Be An Artist — Todd S. Palmer


"It was Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Elizabeth was so excited to be going with her dad, a forensic psychiatrist for the FBI specializing in serial killers."


"Everyone makes mistakes, Miss Anna. I know I have... but that's a story for another day."


"Oh, baby girl. I just feel like I'm falling apart. Like a house of cards, or like a sandcastle when the tide has come in. I don't know... like a rickety chair or an old jalopy.

I don't know.

...Like that bridge that collapsed between Riverton and Cobbleport. Or the one that collapsed between Sagamore and Nipper Island.

I don't know.


Anyway, that's how I feel. Like I'm falling apart."

That's just from the first two episodes. I mean, yeah, I think it's a comedy.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:25 PM on February 4, 2022 [9 favorites]

This is RIDICULOUS and amazing as an exercise in trope-enactment but holy shit it needs a child violence tag/warning. I was fine for the whole thing until that part in the last episode.

The show is one long "you know that thing we did was funny, yeah? what if we did it.. five times in a row". (answer: pretty funny still)
posted by curious nu at 7:23 PM on February 5, 2022

A comedy?

posted by curious nu at 7:24 PM on February 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oh man the therapist reveal just had me laughing. Like the juxtaposition of suspense with the humor had just been great. I very much didn't see the reveal coming. I'm pretty shocked this even got made? What a send up.
posted by Carillon at 10:01 PM on February 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

If it's not a comedy I laughed a lot very inappropriately.

[To herself] "Jesus, Anna, when are you not hallucinating?"

When I'm reminded that the title sequence is a warped version of children singing "Rain, Rain, Go Away".

Also, the cork bowl.

[Naked except for apron] "Let me know if you want sugar. I know exactly where you keep it." *wink*

When Buell walks into Anna's house his hand is already impaled and bleeding from the nail gun shot he JUST fired. No one notices, least of all Buell, and the show trusts us to wait for a joke to happen.

[Police station. At moment when show does not have time for this.] "I am going to be placing your inked fingertips on this ten-print card. I'm gonna have you give me your right hand and I'm gonna start with your right thumb. Now we're not gonna be pushing your print straight down. We're gonna be rolling it! 'Cause if we pushed it, it would just smoosh it. So we're gonna roll it. Very gently. All right. Here we go. Okay. No. Just– ma'am. Let me gently roll it. There you go. I actually find it easier to fingerprint people [chuckles] autopsies. Because a lot of times living people try to help you out a little too much. Gonna go to number six. (long pause) That's your left thumb. (pause) How's your day going?"

Douglas: He killed his entire family with a claw hammer.
Anna: Why did you not tell me about this before?
Douglas: Well, I didn't think you'd want him to work for us.

[Bleeding out] You got... some... of their
posted by massless at 10:59 PM on February 5, 2022 [7 favorites]

Thinking of it more: a lot of the dialogue is what you snarkily think of while watching it. They took the audience riffs and made it the text and that's kind of sublime. There are a lot of good examples of this in the last ep: the "I don't drink wine anymore...I'll have a vodka!" bit, and also the final "bingo". Buell's "you got some of their mail". The supporting characters coming in to the hospital all saying the same lines, including culminating with Carol and "aren't I kind of an amazing person" and who's "well I've gotta get back to" is just her husband, because that's all her character has been so far. All of those are things you'd make little comments about while watching, but they got there first.

This show is brilliant. I feel like even the fact that it kind of overstays its welcome is, in fact, the thing it's doing.
posted by curious nu at 11:11 AM on February 6, 2022 [3 favorites]

The last episode totally didn't work for me (other than the jokes), but otherwise I loved this. There were a lot of true lol moments for me.

Occasionally, I may have wanted a bit more explicit satire, but I think that if it must err in one direction or the other, I prefer the subtlety.

Yeah, that fingerprint bit was gold.

The last episode didn't work for me because a) the child violence made me uncomfortable, and b) it was farce played straight and it's an example of why I think the low-key approach is better.

Not only that, but one thing that impressed me about the show was that it almost seemed like it was first written straight and then rewritten as satire — within the genre, it was credible. Except for the reveal of the murderer.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:12 PM on February 6, 2022

I fucking loved this. A beautiful deconstruction of the genre, pitch perfect performances, a good level of odd that kept me amused and some real belly-laugh moments. That fight between Anna and Emma was So. Very. Wrong. but it had me in hysterics. I guessed it was going to be Emma, so I was prepared for that. And I love a show that gives me something I've never seen before.

I am puzzled by people who aren't finding it funny but I guess sense of humour is very personal. I've seen a lot of commentary on Twitter with variations on "if it was supposed to be a comedy, where are the jokes" as if people have forgotten what satire is. Maybe in 2022, satire is dead.

The director is Michael Lehmann, who made HEATHERS back in the day, and I think they are definitely cut from the same cloth. It's not necessarily hilarious, but both that film and this show really do get to the heart of what they are satirising.

I don't know if it has been renewed for season two, but that set-up at the end was PRICELESS.
posted by crossoverman at 3:14 PM on February 6, 2022 [6 favorites]

I loved this, if only for the raccoon lamp scene in the last episode. But not only for that--the whole of it was so good! It's also nice to see subtlety done with some, well, subtlety.
posted by kittensyay at 5:25 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

The very idea that anyone would believe Anna and her ex in that situation is absurd. A little shorter and this could have been a cult classic.

But how did Chastity end up in the woods?
How much do dummies weigh? I really doubt they're that heavy.
How did the ex not lose his badge?
How did Emma get to the police station?
Why couldn't Anna just carry an umbrella?
If Emma was sending the text messages from Chastity's phone, how did she know about the stripper?
Is there anything with KBell in it that I won't watch?
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 1:06 AM on February 15, 2022

I loved this. I wonder how many of the "was this supposed to be a comedy?" people aren't familiar with the genre. There were so many bits where I was thinking "Oh, that's the on-line support group from The Woman in the Window," or "That's the possible hallucination from The Woman in Cabin 10" or "That's the blood from The Girl on The Train," or what have you. The nice house! The supportive best friend with the amazing job! The mixing prescription pills and wine!

I couldn't place the casseroles, though: anyone know what book that's from?
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:16 AM on February 18, 2022

Another bit: the support group meets in what is possibly the most luxurious community center ever built.
posted by Mogur at 7:43 AM on February 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

I haven't seen any of the movies or shows this is riffing on and I loved every minute of it. I think I must have missed a lot because people are saying it was s subtle parody of things and I didn't find any of the comedy subtle.

The counterparts of short scenes played long and vice versa were great. The dragged out fingerprint or weird overly long speeches were never tedious and things that resolved incredibly quickly like the end were perfectly done. She's still in the hospital recovering and the whole thing is wrapped up to the point where the cop has not only cleared her but is her pal. This is the cop who recently had her arrested for other murders, served her a restraining order, and found a wanted man in her pantry.

The polygraph scene was also great. Going from needles completely idle to waving wildly from question to question while everyone is pretty much straight-faced. We all know polygraphs go from zero to 100 with laser precision.

The one part they played straight that is almost never seen is the functioning alcoholic who drinks around the clock and isn't 'drunk' but also isn't ok. The fuzzy, somewhat accurate but always changing memories and the hallucinations had to have been written by someone with experience.

The whole thing felt like someone went to TV Tropes and tried to figure out how many entries they could fit in one show in the most obvious way possible. I think I'll be watching it a few more times to catch the stuff I missed.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:05 AM on March 1, 2022 [5 favorites]

I finally watched one of the movies that this series is satirizing - in this case, The Weekend Away - and had to keep reminding myself that the movie wasn't just an extended riff on TWITHATSFTGITW. It had it all: the hapless housewife as central figure (with alocohol and drugs), the nonsensical plot twists, the friendly woman cop who seamlessly switches from trusting to arresting to befriending, the hour of clue-following that gets the wrong guy arrested only for the main character to stumble across the real murderer completely by accident, and on and on. It was uncanny.
posted by Mogur at 5:22 AM on March 6, 2022 [3 favorites]

I avoided watching it because I'd heard the "where are the jokes" thing too and that made it sound bad, but it's pretty full of little jokes, to the point where just playing the genre straight is funny because that's also hilariously dumb.
posted by fleacircus at 9:49 PM on March 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

Oh another point of mild humor I really loved is when KB did a dramatic anti-pinch zoom in on her phone. Hard to describe why this is so funny to me.
posted by fleacircus at 6:36 AM on March 30, 2022

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