Reasons Why The New Kristen Bell Netflix Show Is Anything But A Comedy

If you’re an avid Netflix user like me, you would have come across The Woman In The House Across the Street From the Girl In The Window which was released on January 28. Perhaps you were intrigued by the absurd title, and after seeing it categorised by Netflix as a “Mystery Programme”, you pressed play with the hope of being entertained by a serious psychological thriller.

However, as you follow Anna (Kristen Bell), a grieving mother who tries to uncover the truth behind a murder, you remain unaware that the over-the-top acting, cringe-worthy scenes and bizarre dialogue are actually supposed to be – dare I say it – funny…

The show was created by comedy writers Rachel Ramras, Hugh Davidson, and Larry Dorf. Davidson explains that after realising how “spoofable” psychological thrillers were, the three comedians decided to create “an absurd, satirical take on the genre”.

They then cast successful comedy actors, and incorporated a plethora of over-the-top clichés in each episode to poke as much fun at the genre as possible.

If all this is true, then why were so many viewers bewildered by the fact that the murder mystery they had just binged was actually supposed to make them laugh?

How could a show that was intended to be a spoof, with funny writers and comedy actors be so… serious?

Firstly, there simply weren’t enough jokes. Apart from the fourteen-word title, the show itself lacks any overt silliness. The only character who is given funny lines is Anna’s best friend Sloane (Mary Holland). At best, audiences probably viewed her character as the comedy relief in an otherwise serious murder mystery.

Secondly, Kristen Bell was given no jokes and instead played Anna in a very serious way. This was a huge mistake. When you think of successful parodies the majority of the characters are overtly funny – especially the lead! Think of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Hot Fuzz, for example.

Thirdly, the satire is way too subtle. Only in hindsight do you release that Anna’s phobia of the rain or the fact that her daughter was eaten by a serial killer were intended to be comedic.

In an interview with Screen Rant, Ramras explained that the three writers did initially plan for the show to be overtly comedic. However, after pitching the idea to Netflix, they were told to tone it down and make it more subtle.

But because of this, the majority of people who watch the eight-part miniseries are completely unaware of the humour, and are instead left feeling confused by the tone of the show.

That being said, the show is nevertheless a decent murder mystery, with gripping plot twists and a brilliant performance by Bell. It’s just a shame that Netflix weren’t brave enough to crank up the comedy, as this show could have been a huge success.

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