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That murder show with the long title

Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for “The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window.”

“The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window.” Wow, that was a mouthful. 

The show has been a point of tension between my friend group. Half of us swear by it, while the other half would rather see it melt into Netflix oblivion (or at least off their recommended lists).

It stars Kristen Bell as Anna, a traumatized, wine enthusiast with an affinity for pills. She lives alone after separating from her husband, in part due to her daughter's dramatic death. She seems content with drinking and sitting by the window watching her neighbors, while occasionally hallucinating her dead daughter among other things. 

But that changes when an attractive, single dad moves across the street. Taken by him and his daughter immediately, Anna is incredibly disappointed to find that he’s already dating another woman. 

One night while looking out her window, she sees the girlfriend has been stabbed and is reaching out for Anna, terrified. 

This is the start to Anna’s detective “career,” as she investigates to find who did it. 

The show is meant to parody the psychological thriller genre, as evidenced by the abhorrent amount of wine Bell’s character consumes, the ever changing language on her daughter's tombstone and the cliche book titles always within reach.

The parody really only works though, if you catch on to it being a parody. If the absurdly long title doesn’t give it away, the rambling monologues and ever-broken mailbox certainly would.

Some saw the film as a dark humor, which the series supports through its telling of the death of Bell’s daughter and the twist ending.

However, anyone who walks into this series thinking it will be a murder mystery show like we’ve all come to know and love will walk away disappointed.

But I think that says more about our Netflix diet than anything else.

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Over the past two years, we’ve seen Netflix feed us miniseries after miniseries, covering every kind of crime it can get its hands on. Most of us have probably burned through the entire true crime category. 

We’ve all named ourselves true crime detectives as we try to put together the puzzle and answer the classic question, “Whodunnit?” 

This series challenges that approach. It finds humor in small details many probably missed on first watch. Instead of looking for the killer, I found myself looking for small clues to link the show to a parody, like the book titles. 

The show builds on its absurdity rather than building the drama and suspense. 

But that doesn’t always work for everyone.

In the true crime Netflix pushes out, we usually get a story that points to one person being the killer. When they finally discover who it is, all of the pieces come together, and we get that feeling of being whole. 

But that really isn’t the case with this show. Its humor comes from things not really making sense in reality. Bell’s daughter’s death was one of the most debated scenes in my circle. 

The girl is killed when her father, an FBI criminal psychologist, leaves her alone in a room with a known cannibal. 

The reason she’s there in the first place? Oh, it just happens to be take-your-daughter-to-work day.

But half my friends can’t wrap their heads around it. They complain that it doesn’t make sense, why would someone take their only child into a room with a murderer, etc, etc. Sometimes there just isn’t a comfortable or neat answer in parodies. 

If you can live in absurdity, it is a fun, silly journey. At least, it’s not a bad way to spend your time. If you’re looking for something more serious and based in reality, I’d avoid this one.

But if you’re interested in a little more dark humor and some light murder, ‘The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window’ is great way to spend a binge weekend. 

Rating: 7/10

@abby_bammerlin

bammeraj@miamioh.edu

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