“Life is for the living…and so are casseroles”.
This line, delivered by main character Anna, perfectly encapsulates what audiences can expect from The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window (hereafter abbreviated as TWITHATSFTGITW). Something that seems like it could be serious or even deep, but quickly devolves into weird and wacky, bordering on completely ridiculous. But it’s the show’s ridiculousness that makes it so fun and the perfect miniseries to binge on a Sunday afternoon with some wine (just maybe not as much as Anna drinks).
Warning: There are spoilers ahead.
TWITHATSFTGITW follows Anna, a heartbroken woman, who believes she has witnessed a murder at her new neighbor’s house. Her drinking and pill problem combined with her grief makes those around her doubt what she saw but she is determined to prove what happened and catch the killer. Sound familiar? It should. It’s the basis for several (hundred?) mystery thriller books/movies. The Woman in the Window. The Girl on the Train. The Woman in Cabin 10. The unreliable female narrator who witnesses a murder has pretty much become a genre of its own. So much so that TWITHATSFTGITW decides to parody it, resulting in a zany merging of comedy, thriller, and mystery. If you’re a fan of the type of books/movies previously mentioned, you’ll recognize many of the overused tropes and clichés that are instead played for laughs in this show. However, if you’re not a fan, some jokes could end up going over your head. You can tell the writers tried to appeal to everyone whether it be mystery novices or hardcore fans. Unfortunately, this results in a dichotomy about what the show is supposed to be. At times, the show appears too serious to be a parody, like it’s forgotten to push the comedy because it’s too scared that its audience won’t get the joke. This is especially true of the middle section of episodes which seemed to be high on the mystery, low on the laughs. That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable because it definitely is, but it would’ve been great to see more playing on the parody side of things. However, this problem is definitely solved by the last few episodes which serve the perfect mix of thrill and farce. Episode 8 is a true masterclass in this and has the funniest fight sequence I’ve ever seen. Watching Kristen Bell and a 9-year-old child throw each other around and try to stab/shoot/bludgeon each other will definitely go down as one of the most entertaining scenes of 2022.
The aforementioned Kristen Bell and the 9-year-old (played by Samsara Yett) are highlighted throughout the series. We all know Bell can lead a show or movie with ease, and TWITHATSFTGITW is no exception to that. She very impressively switches between mania, determination, fear and grief, whilst also managing to be funny, likeable and endearing. Relative newcomer Samsara Yett really steals the show though, particularly in the last episode. Psycho children are always fun, and both her and the writers deserve praise for lines like “By the way, your casserole tastes like shit” whilst about to stab Anna, and “Those are just baby teeth, you stupid asshole” after having her teeth knocked out. The cast is rounded out by Tom Riley, Cameron Britton (an incredibly underrated actor who I would watch in anything), Christina Anthony, Mary Holland, and Michael Ealy. Ealy is criminally (see what I did there) underused, and the series would’ve benefited from showing more of the previous relationship between him and Anna before hastily putting them back together at the end, especially since she seemed to have more chemistry with hilariously named stripper Sexy Rexy (Note that their chemistry comes to a head in episode 5 with some pretty graphic sex scenes that you may wish to skip if you’re watching with your family – I was watching with my mother, learn from my mistake). The cameos by Glenn Close and Jim Rash at the end of the series were a fantastic surprise and definitely hinted that despite the show being billed as a miniseries, there could be a season 2.
With that cliffhanger, a season 2 could be even better than the first. They already have a fantastic cast and characters (well, those who survived), talented writers who are clearly experts at creating stupid yet funny lines (“the only thing he slayed is his dance routine”), and the ability to create a story that is both intriguing and absurd (in a good way). TWITHATSFTGITW is a fun and exciting journey from start to finish. Here’s hoping that journey continues with a season 2.
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