The eight episode miniseries was released on January 28th. courtesy Netflix

“The Woman In the House, etc” pokes fun at the “girl on the train” trope

Kristen Bell stars as an unreliable protagonist in “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.”

Kristen Bell stars in this ridiculous dramedy that follows a widowed artist, Anna, who spends her days mixing pills and alcohol whilst spying on her neighbors. In similar fashion to “Girl on the Train,” Anna becomes intrigued by her neighbor’s life and eventually witnesses a brutal murder all from the comfort of her living room.

Fair warning: anyone who invests their time in binging “Woman in the House” without familiarizing themselves with “Girl on the Train” will likely spend their time over-analyzing alleged “clues” and trying to make something of the series that it is not. I would know — I mean what is with those changing grave readings? I was, however, intrigued enough by the dark drama and ridiculousness of the miniseries to persevere.

It is a tough tightrope to walk; this series aims to include various genres such as crime thriller, dark humor, satire, mystery and romance. My job as an underqualified, self-proclaimed movie critic is to determine whether the balance was struck and whether the absurdity was intelligently conveyed. In short, I am glad I held on. I thought it was an easy watch and a solid binge — is that not the point of any parodic miniseries? The ever-quirky Kristen Bell was an excellent choice for Anna: the cute, unhinged protagonist.

Critics of the series may cite the spiraling ending — I won’t spoil — as thoughtless or distasteful. Or perhaps they feel the show’s plotline was too nonsensical and therefore lacked focus. To refute a bit, I think that the unevenness of the plot was necessary in order to commit to the show’s mission: poking fun at traditional crime mystery shows. I will say that I could not have completed the series without binging it in a single evening, meaning I created my own momentum for the show. In other words, the show’s plot and character dynamics did not generate enough interest for me to keep coming back.

However, I did not have such expectations for “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” because completing an entire television series is exactly how I seek to spend my Saturday nights. During my time with “The Woman in the House,” however short, I found myself feeling a plethora of emotions ranging from joy to confusion to anger. I rooted for Anna, then I questioned whether she was a real human, then I continued rooting for her; this cycle applies to almost every principal character, as well.

Maybe it is my Kristen Bell bias, but I suggest you give this series a try. It is a rather niche category of parody that I would be interested in seeing more of. Perhaps with more mainstream references, the show would be more recognizably humorous. If nothing else, it is an amusing dramedy that you can cross off your watch list in a single sit-down.

Post Author: Maddie Goodman