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    How "The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window" Perfectly Made Fun Of Modern Psychological Thrillers

    It may not have been to your taste, but IMO, this "parody" walked a very strategic and hilarious tightrope.

    To kick things off, I have something to admit: I absolutely did NOT realize this show was meant to be a parody when I first watched it. No joke, I chose it because I'm 1,000% in that group of people who voraciously watch (somewhat overdramatic) Girl/Woman thrillers unironically.

    Kristen Bell as Anna in "The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window" pulling a casserole out of her oven without oven mitts

    So when I clicked on The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window, I genuinely thought I was in for an evening of suspenseful entertainment — which, to be fair, I was; it just wasn't going to be the typical journey I'm used to in that realm.

    The title "The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window" on a raindrop-covered background

    So the creators — Rachel Ramras, Hugh Davidson, and Larry Dorf — hit the nail on the head with the title of this satire, but would you believe that I still didn't get it was a full-on parody, even when I saw that comedic actor Kristen Bell was the lead?

    Kristen Bell with bangs and her hair pulled answering her front door

    For the first few opening minutes of the show, there's very little to clue you into that fact. The premise sets itself up to be very similar to The Woman in the Window, a 2021 thriller movie starring Amy Adams.

    Kristen Bell with bags of frozen peas in her hands as she sits in her chair by the window in "The Woman In The House"

    Adams' character, Dr. Anna Fox, spends her days at home, chasing her mood stabilizers with red wine and obsessively watching the goings-on of her street — especially those of her newly arrived neighbors, the Russell family.

    Amy Adams in "The Woman In The Window" drinking a glass of red wine

    Well, in Bell's show, the same storyline begins to unfold as we watch her dysfunctionally do things around the house, start (and end) her days with comically large glasses of red wine, mix said wine with mood stabilizers, and occasionally talk to (and lie to) her therapist about how she's doing. The kicker is that both leads even share the same name — Anna!

    Kristen Bell in a bathrobe leaning down to slurp red wine from a glass filled to the brim

    That being said, the comedic aspects of Bell's show certainly weren't lost on me altogether; rather, I just sort of accepted them as...dark humor?

    Watching a woman pour nearly overflowing glasses of red wine at 9 in the morning and slurp the top before picking it up is, well, the perfect balance of tragic and funny. Anyone slurping any kind of drink that like is funny — it just is — but the reality of what she's doing to herself is truly depressing and worrisome. 

    And there it is: worrisome, yet you can't help but find humor every few moments or so. That theme permeates the plot of The Woman in the House throughout, dragging you along on a journey where you aren't quite sure if you should be laughing, sad, scared, or a mixture of all three.

    The real sucker punch of tragedy comes fairly early on in Episode 1 of Bell's show, though, where we painfully learn that she's having delusions about speaking with her daughter — delusions because her daughter is dead.

    A young girl with curly hair staring up at her mom saying, "Because I'm dead"

    Who would giggle at the idea of a mother losing her child, you ask? Well, anyone who then gets to the explanation of how the daughter, Elizabeth, actually passed away.

    An eerie looking male prisoner named Massacre Mike smiles with his head tilted

    The whole thing just feels unrealistic; no parent, no person, would ever leave their child in a room with a cannibalistic serial killer. Plus, the way her therapist (over the phone) cuts her off while she's talking about it truly makes it feel as if Bell's character was making up a story to avoid the pain of the real one.

    A prisoner (left) across from a psychiatrist (right) and the psychiatrist's daughter in the background of an interrogation room

    As it turns out in the end, though, Anna's story about the cannibal eating her daughter was completely true, which is just... I don't even know.

    An aerial shot of Kristen Bell's character in "The Woman In The House" collapsed on the street next to the broken casserole dish that broke upon her fall

    This only enforced the idea in my mind that I was watching an adaptation of Adams' film. In the movie, it's revealed that Adams' Anna developed the agoraphobia after the death of her daughter and husband. In the miniseries, Bell's Anna develops a phobia of the rain (ombrophobia, apparently) as a result of losing her daughter on a rainy day. But to be honest with myself, I should have realized that they were satirizing the whole thing because of how dramatically Bell collapses in the middle of the road.

    A drenched Kristen Bell laying on a couch complaining about her ombrophobia (fear of the rain)

    The watching of the neighbors is the main central storyline of both The Woman in the Window and The Woman in the House, though they do play out differently. In Bell's miniseries, it's a very handsome widowed father, Neil, and his adorable little girl, Emma.

    screenshot of a dad talking to his child outside their new home while she holds her bear

    Just as in The Woman in the Window, Bell's Anna is enjoying an evening of mixing booze and pills while she surveils her neighbors from her living room.

    Kristen Bell pouring a glass of wine by her living room window, through which she is peaking on her neighbors across the street

    Through the neighbor's window, Anna watches as the girlfriend writhes in pain with a slit throat before collapsing to the ground.

    A woman clutches her slit throat and looks at her blood-covered hand while whimpering in pain

    Next thing you know, detectives are in her house accusing her of making a false report (which is a callback to The Woman in the Window). They can see the pills and booze sprawled across the living room and assume that she must have hallucinated the entire thing because, when they went to investigate, nothing appears to be wrong at the neighbor's house.

    A drenched Kristen Bell asking a detective to please believe her report of witnessing a murder

    As Bell's Anna continues to insist that she was not hallucinating throughout the show, she basically goes on an investigative mission to prove that it must have been the handsome dad, Neil, who killed his girlfriend, Lisa. She is emphatic about being right about this, and you start to feel really bad for her as she's continually dismissed.

    A female detective with short hair says "But because there's no dead body, it's just an earring"

    The scene in the police station here is what really began to clue me in to the fact that this was a parody, though. In addition to blaming Anna's "delusions" on her drug and alcohol use, the detective brings up the loss of her daughter — in a horrifically inappropriate way. I mean, just look at what she says to her:

    The female detective saying to Bell's character "until the day he killed and ate your daughter"

    To my chagrin, I still didn't fully get it though! I was trying SO HARD to understand why this show was the way it was. In reality, I needed to stop thinking so hard and just start going with the flow.

    Kristen Bell in front of the ocean looking at someone with a sad expression on her face

    As it turns out, the truth was right in front of me the entire time. As I mentioned, I thought/knew this was some sort of adaptation of The Woman in the Window. Following that train of thought, I should have known who the real killer was from the start. But unfortunately, I got duped by Anna's assumptions, just as I'm sure much of the audience did.

    The backstory about the neighbors includes how Neil's wife passed away in a drowning accident and Emma, the daughter, "saw the whole thing." Once Bell's Anna starts suspecting him of killing his girlfriend, she's convinced he killed his wife as well. Throughout her little investigation, she also learns that one of Emma's teachers tragically fell from a lighthouse and died while on a field trip chaperoned by Neil, which only furthers her suspicion that he not only killed his wife and girlfriend but the teacher, too. 

    In an insane scene thought up in Anna's mind, you see Neil fighting with the teacher at the top of the lighthouse before eventually pushing her over the edge. It's...quite graphic.

    A lighthouse keeper showing off equipment to a group of school children while their teacher falls from a lighthouse to her death in the background

    What's frustrating looking back is that it was all supposed to be funny in a way, which I definitely should have picked up on sooner given the slew of comedic actors in the cast, including Marc Evan Jackson, who plays the super-odd lighthouse keeper.

    Marc Evan Jackson as the lighthouse keeper in "The Woman In The House"

    As it turns out, though, Neil, the handsome and potentially murderous father, may not be the killer after all. It turns out his girlfriend Lisa was bad news — she and her real (and secret) boyfriend were scamming the widower to get his money. The real boyfriend, Rex, is arrested for the crime...before being almost immediately released.

    Rex raising his eyebrows looking intensely at Anna

    After cleaning up the spit-take mess that this line made me make, I watched the police turn their suspicions onto Anna, who, by the way, is a painter.

    The female detective says to Anna "the only thing he slayed was his dance routine"

    So why wasn't I understanding that this was a satire? Why couldn't I get it? Because the juxtaposition of drama, darkness, comedy, and ridiculousness was (IMO) immaculately done. I was sort of catching on, but at the same time, I really wasn't.

    Kristen Bell making a confused face as she sits in a salon chair

    Davidson addressed some of the general backlash about said ambiguity later in the interview, saying, "I think the people that enjoy knowing what something is far outnumber the ones that enjoy ambiguity. So some of these, they could be like, 'Pick a lane — be funny or be serious.' And the truth is, we did pick a lane — it just might be one that’s uncomfortable because it gradually gets more absurd. I bet that could make some people feel like a joke is being played on them."

    Bell as Anna looking through her window with a terrified expression on her face as thunder cracks and she pants

    There is so much absurdity in this show. From the oddball handyman, Buell, who's working on Anna's mailbox for the entire series (which takes place over a couple of weeks, I believe) to the way the female detective delivers her lines, you're left unsure of how to feel throughout the entire thing. As we near the ending, though, everything seems to come into sharp focus in a way that made me go, "Of COURSE, oh my god, how did I lose sight of that?"

    Buell the handyman working on Anna's mailbox

    In the entryway, she finds Buell on the floor bleeding from a slit throat. Clearly, he's not the killer, and Neil has been ruled out by police, sooooooo who could it be?

    Buell laying on the floor bleeding from his throat after clearly being attacked

    Running into the living room where she hears a sound, Anna sees Emma and Neil and runs to protect the child. But upon looking at Neil on the couch, she sees that his throat has also been slit, and he is already dead.

    Neil slumped on a leather couch bleeding from his cut throat, clearly deceased

    SURPRISE! It's Emma, who is creepily holding the bloody knife she clearly just used to kill her father and assault Buell.

    Emma, Neil's daughter, holding a bloody knife and creepily looking up at Anna with malice in her eyes

    Just as in The Woman in the Window, the female lead is face to face with a child-aged killer (though in the film, the killer is a teenager, not a literal child, which is where I think even more parody comes into play in the show version). Now Anna has to wrestle this murderous child for her dear life, just as Adams' character had to physically fight the teenager for her life in the film.

    Emma trying to strangle Anna using a fireplace stoker in a feverish struggle

    But remember: The creators admitted that's exactly what they wanted. They love inappropriate, dark, ambiguous humor — and that's exactly what this show and this scene, in particular, display.

    Emma holding a knife above her head as she sits atop a fallen Anna, preparing to stab her in the chest

    Throughout the show, I kept turning to my BF and asking, "What the heck are we watching right now??" I would laugh, and then I would be horrified, and I hope the creators take satisfaction from those of us that felt that way throughout. Below you'll see footage of my brain throughout this whole series, which took me on a truly wild ride:

    From the star-studded cast (which includes a brief cameo from Glenn Close in the ending of the finale) to the brilliantly confusing plot, The Woman in the House was well worth the watch, if for nothing else than spending four hours being enthralled and confused at the same time.

    Kristen Bell and Glenn Close seated next to each other on an airplane in the final scene of "The Woman in the House"

    What did you think of The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window? Let us know in the comments below!