Why Women Kill

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Why Women Kill TV Poster Image
Soapy delight has sex, language, terrific roles for women.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Supportive female friendships are about the most positive thing to be found here, although women also betray each other when their desires (and the plot) call for it. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rife with feminist messages, both explicit (a 1960s-era character has been reading The Feminine Mystique, calls out a husband for treating his wife like a maid) and implicit (female characters have power and agency, whether they use it for good or not). Some regressive messages about women too, like when a character rejects idea of ordering pizza for dinner by saying "My mom used to love pizza -- what did you think of her body?" Another calls a woman a "tramp." Otherwise, few role models here, as characters make many mistakes and questionable choices. 

Violence

The word "kill" is right in the title, so expect death and violence, although mayhem is played for laughs, given a light touch. Self-harm is a plot point: A man takes a bottle of pills after his wife threatens to throw him out; another character jokes that she's so jealous of another woman's house she could kill herself. Characters engage in a slapping, pinching brawl; after, one blames her behavior on being drunk. Show opens with animated credit sequence with women dispatching men: throwing them down stairs, burning them with gasoline, hitting with a car while (cartoon) blood spurts and pools. 

Sex

Sexual references and imagery are frequent, particularly for one couple that has a polyamorous relationship. We see two women and a man kissing, presumably having group sex in a shower with lots of bare skin (but no private parts) visible. In other scenes, characters refer to getting "laid." Extramarital affairs (both same- and opposite-sex) are major plot points. 

Language

Language and cursing includes "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," "d--k" (the body part), "bitch," "bulls--t," "t-ts." 

Consumerism

Most of this show's action takes place in a huge, expensive house. Characters make references to decorating it and to living in a "nice" place. Trappings of wealth are highly visible: fancy cars, a pool, expensive possessions. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink at dinners and parties, sometimes to excess, and then make iffy choices. When one character physically attacks another, the victim asks, "Are you out of your mind?" and the other says, "No, I'm drunk." A woman is told she will find courage "at the bottom of that glass" (of wine). In the 1960s, a character eats marijuana brownies and has a trippy experience. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Why Women Kill is a soapy drama about wives in three eras who suffer through betrayals and react strongly to them. With the word "kill" in the title, viewers should expect murder and death, though violence is often played for laughs and depicted with a light tone. The show's animated opening series shows women murdering men bloodily, and self-harm plays a part in the narrative, with at least one character attempting suicide and others making jokes about suicide (she's so jealous of someone's house she could just kill herself!). In another scene, two characters brawl on a lawn and one blames her behavior on being drunk. Sexual content is also mature: One couple has a polyamorous relationship and engages in group sex (we see them kissing in a shower but no private parts), and extramarital affairs (same- and opposite-sex) are the catalyst for many events. Language is mature: "F--k," "s--t," "bitch," and other expletives are generally used for comic effect and emphasis, as are words about body parts ("d--k," "t-ts"). In the 1960s, a character eats marijuana brownies and has a psychedelic experience. Strong women anchor this drama, and women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s have central roles.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLaradalik94 December 21, 2020

Amazing

This was an awesome series that I watched with my partner and children aged 9,11,14,15 none of my children whom are usually quite sensitive and often get nightm... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byEair May 4, 2021

What's the story?

In one elegant house in three different eras, three very different wronged women learn exactly WHY WOMEN KILL. First, in the mid-'60s, Beth Ann Stanton (Ginnifer Goodwin) tries hard to be the perfect housewife -- but her efforts are unraveled by the extramarital adventures of her thoughtless husband, Robert (Sam Jaeger). Then, in the 1980s, much-married socialite Simone Grove (Lucy Liu) is undone when she discovers that her husband, Karl (Jack Davenport), has a big secret, and then embarks on a scandalous affair. Finally, modern couple Taylor Harding (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Eli Cohen (Reid Scott) have an unconventional arrangement that goes awry when the balance of power shifts in their relationship. 

Is it any good?

Peppy, arch, and inordinately charming, Marc Cherry's new series reads as if his Desperate Housewives were given the freedom to curse -- and to kill. Once again, Cherry's winning formula of mixing great actors with devious doings in elegant suburban surroundings is, well, quite winning. Viewers' first reactions to seeing Goodwin and Liu might be something like nostalgic delight: It's been a while since Big Love and Ally McBeal were hits, and fans of either or both of those well-loved shows may want to send up a silent prayer of thanks that creators like Cherry and Ryan Murphy are fond of casting female actors of a certain age, who may have been passed over by Hollywood but can still give material that bam-pow-zing.

As a sad wife turned sneaky conspirator, Goodwin is easily as effective as she was as a newbie sister-wife on Big Love. And Liu still has a way with nasty lines: "You think you're going to get out of this by dying?" she demands of another character who's swallowed a bottle of pills after an upset. "I want to see you suffer in a one-bedroom apartment by the airport, and you are no going to deny me that pleasure!" But for those who haven't caught her turns on Killing Eve, The Good Place, or Barry, Kirby Howell-Baptiste is a surprise, bringing intelligence and warmth to her could-be-off-putting character, a bisexual hard-as-nails lawyer in an open marriage who moves her latest lover into her marital home -- and soon regrets it. Her American accent (she's English) is impeccable, and so is her performance. Buckle up, fans of female-centered cockeyed drama: Why Women Kill is for you. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the main characters. Are they positive or negative role models? How are they stereotypical -- and how do they defy those stereotypes? How do they get power in their lives? What do they get from each other?

  • What kinds of consequences would the behavior on this show have in real life? Is it enjoyable to watch likable characters getting away with behaviors both frowned upon (extramarital affairs, lying) and downright criminal (violence)? 

  • What is a soap opera? Where does the name come from? How does that concept change if the show is meant to be viewed in prime time, by a mass audience? Shows in this genre are frequently aimed at female viewers. What elements of Why Women Kill seem targeted to appeal to women? 

TV details

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