In case you hadn’t noticed, Jennifer Coolidge is finally getting her due, decades after bending-and-snapping in Legally Blonde and receiving a lot of “benefits” for her American Pie turn. Her boozy socialite will soon return as the connecting thread in The White Lotus, she’ll wield an actual shotgun in Shotgun Wedding, and she currently appears in Ryan Murphy and Netflix’s The Watcher. This is an atypical turn for her, too, and Coolidge acknowledged as much while speaking to IMDb about how she chased a Ryan Murphy role and finally has one.
The show takes inspiration from The Cut’s investigative report on the family who was terrorized with threatening letters after purchasing a mammoth house in Westfield, New Jersey. Coolidge portrays a realtor who sold the ill-fated home as the dramatized story begins, and no one ever found out who wrote the real life The Watcher letters, so the show takes a lot of liberties in imagining who’s responsible. Coolidge’s realtor may not as sincere as she seems (and she already knew the Brannock family in the show), and it’s a very different role than the messy, more forthrightly comedic roles played by the Emmy winner. As it turns out, Coolidge held out for a decade to score this part (even after renting him her home for a production), and she’s into it. Via IMDb:
“It was sort of a riveting thing that Ryan was asking me to do this. I never get offered these sort of scary parts. He rented my house and used it for American Horror Story down in New Orleans, but even if I was in the yard… he somehow made sure he wasn’t around to give me a little part. So here I am 10 years later, thrilled!”
Say what you want about the controversial tone that Ryan Murphy sometimes strikes in his career, but he’s got the golden touch. Between Dahmer and The Watcher, he managed to be responsible for Netflix’s top two shows at the same time. And Coolidge, as always, is a hoot and a delight, even though this series is a little bit scary.