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What is ‘The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window’?

The satirical dark comedy hit Netflix on Friday, Jan. 28.

And the award for longest TV show title goes to …

Kristen Bell is returning to television screens in Netflix’s newest miniseries “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window." The series debuted on Friday, Jan. 28, and has been getting buzz across social media from first-time binge-watchers leaving many people — us included — very confused.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new series that is already topping the most watched list on Netflix.

What is 'The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window'?

“Mixing wine, pills, casseroles and an overactive imagination, Anna obsesses over a hunky neighbor across the street and witnesses a murder,” a Netflix description of the show reads, drawing parallels to the psychological thrillers it’s inspired by (more on that later). 

The series follows Anna (Bell) who lives a fairly monotonous life. Heartbroken and alone, she indulges in wine and stares out her window day in and day out until a new, handsome neighbor moves in across the street. For a moment, things seems hopeful, until she (maybe?) witnesses a murder across the street and begins to question herself and her memory.

Why the long name? 

Bell is to thank for the lengthy show title. In a recent interview with TODAY, the actor revealed that she was the one who insisted the the name remain as is for the series to rather than the original shortened title “The Woman In the House" to pay homage to the series' inspiration.

“I said, ‘No way’ because, here’s a little tip of the hat,” she said. “This show is definitely, it’s a satirical psychological drama.”

Kristen Bell as Anna and Nitya Vidyasagar as Hillary.
Kristen Bell as Anna and Nitya Vidyasagar as Hillary.COLLEEN E. HAYES/NETFLIX / COLLEEN E. HAYES/NETFLIX

What is it based on? 

Upon first glance, the title appears to pay homage to multiple psychological thrillers in recent years, including “The Woman in the Window” by A. J. Finn (which also received the Netflix treatment in a 2021 movie starring Amy Adams) and “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins (a movie adaptation starring Emily Blunt was released in 2016). 

“It’s based on all of these psychological novels that were written for women, by women,” Bell told TODAY. “The formula’s always the same. She drinks too much. She might be mixing it with pills. She thinks she sees a murder. No one believes her. There’s so much formula to it that we thought it was about time that somebody poked fun at it.”

She added, “So, we’re hoping that the title will tip you to the fact that we are making fun of the genre the entire time.”

But critics don't seem to be impressed.

"Compared to the loopy 'Woman in the Window' or 'Girl on the Train,' both films that in many ways can be taken as their own parodies, this show is just kind of dull," Daniel D'Addario writes for Variety. "The greatest trick 'The Woman in the House…' pulls may be revealing how inventive the movies it’s mocking really are."

"You don’t need to be a 2010s thriller fan to guess the softly lampooned cliches that lie within," says Chitra Ramaswamy at The Guardian. "The woman on the edge who looks like she has never been within 10ft of any actual edge, the sexy suspenseful vibes, and the hot guy who may or may not be a murderer. What’s really creepy about this 'darkly comedic,' 'built to be binged' limited series is that its title is the only spoofy thing about it."

Not everyone has panned "The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window."

"When you’re parodying a particular movie or series genre, especially if you’re doing it over a series-length span, you need to not only have your actors play things as straight as possible, but you also have to not burn yourself out on the funny aspects too early," writes Joel Keller for Decider. "With 'The Girl In The Window…,' the show’s creators and their writers have managed to hit the right notes in parodying the psychological thriller genre while ensuring that the thriller itself isn’t stupid."

Bell as Anna, Tom Riley as Neil and Samsara Leela Yett as Emma
Bell as Anna, Tom Riley as Neil and Samsara Leela Yett as Emma COLLEEN E. HAYES/NETFLIX / COLLEEN E. HAYES/NETFLIX

Who else stars in the show?

Michael Ealy, known for his roles in “Fatale” and “The Perfect Guy,” stars as Douglas, Anna’s ex-husband who is a forensic psychiatrist. Former “Da Vinci’s Demons” star Tom Riley portrays the role of Neil, Anna’s new handsome, widowed neighbor.

The show also stars Mary Holland as Sloane, an art gallery owner and Anna’s friend, Cameron Britton as Buell, a handyman, and Samsara Yett as Emma, the 9-year-old daughter of Neil.

Where can I watch it?

The show released exclusively on Netflix, with all eight episodes available on the streaming service now.

What about season two? 

"The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window" was marketed as a miniseries, which tend to stick to one limited season. However, it’s too early to know whether or not Bell’s newest comedic venture will receive a second season. Only time will tell.