Women behaving badly, dark comedy, multiple time periods and Lucy Liu. What more could someone ask for?
Marc Cherry (the creator of Desperate Housewives and Devious Maids) delivers an interesting commentary on feminism, friendship and other f-words not safe for kids in Why Women Kill. It is a series that tells the story of one house, three women, three decades, and a sprinkling of adultery and murder.
After all, what's one or two murders among friends? (ask South African men).
At first glance, the trailer leaves the impression that these women, crumbling under the weight of the 'Hetero Ghetto', are driven to murdering their husbands, with the flair and sass these shows are guaranteed to provide. However, dear reader, the reality will disappoint you.
There are three central plotlines on the show, all of which revolve around the ownership of the same mansion in California (I waited to see what the significance of the house was, but it never came). In the '60s, the '80s and the 2000s, we meet Beth Ann, the quintessential suburban housewife, doting over her manipulative, controlling, cheating husband; Simone, a fancy lady par excellence who has just found out her husband is gay; and Taylor, a well-paid lawyer in an open marriage with a screenwriter who decides to blur the lines on the openness of their marriage.
It seems pretty obvious that all of these women will kill their husbands at some point, and thus bring us the exciting chaos we were promised in the trailer. Again, dear reader, the reality will disappoint you.
Before this gets too sad and you decide to remove it from your watch list, I have to say that the show did really well to recreate the different time periods, bizarre stereotypes and all, and it added to the fantasy in a really riveting way.
Particularly in the time period with Liu, we are treated to a ridiculous opulence and sass only the '80s could provide.
The ways in which the editing and constant time lapses occur might not make sense to the overall narrative, but it certainly gives you breathing room and forces you to keep up just when your attention starts to drift – which it often will. It also gives you a chance to piece together the plot on your own, much like we see (more masterfully done) on How to Get Away with Murder.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of this show is the way in which it claims to be about women but makes the women the most hollow part of the story.
Beth Ann, for example, is a woman scorned, living in the trenches of the 'Hetero Ghetto', after having suffered the loss of her actual child but is fixated on, you guessed it: infidelity, which is the common thread that binds these women together, as if it is the most pressing problem married women face.
Not grief, abuse, inequality or neglect, but the idea that the man you married could leave you for another, younger, prettier, smarter woman.
In the end, it is an eccentric show that couldn't keep the promises it made and resulted in an average production with a well-crafted aesthetic, but an uneven storyline.
- Why Women Kill is available to stream on Showmax