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Film / Greener Grass

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Greener Grass is a surreal Black Comedy, directed by Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, released in 2019. DeBoer and Luebbe star as Jill Davies and Lisa Wetbottom, a pair of frenemy housewives in a deeply strange suburban town. All the adults wear braces on their teeth, everyone drives golf carts instead of cars, and the second grade teacher leads her class in a song about her mass murdering mother.

Greener Grass primarily concerns itself with frustrated, insecure Jill. Her son is an eccentric young boy who frequently wets himself, her husband is a Manchild obsessed with drinking chlorine-free pool water, and she feels threatened by Lisa and her (relatively) normal family. Throughout the film, various bizarre happenings disrupt Jill's life and stretch her past her breaking point.

Beck Bennett, Neil Casey, D'Arcy Carden and Mary Holland also star.


This film provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Among adults, normal names like Jill and Lisa exist side-by-side with names like Marriott and Miss Human. Kim-Ann's children are especially egregious: Dan, Rostaffano, and Citronella.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Julian is shy, refuses to follow instructions, frequently cries, and wets himself often enough that his mother has to bring spare underwear to school for his cubby. Of course, this changes when he turns into a dog.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: It's not entirely clear when this is taking place. There's a conspicuous lack of computers and smart phones, and many of the shows and commercials we see have a Retraux 80s aesthetic. However, it apparently takes place after the release of Twister on VCR.
  • Animorphism: Halfway through the movie, Julian falls into a pool and inexplicably resurfaces as a golden retriever. Everyone mostly takes it in stride, although Jill clearly misses her old son.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: Word gets around that Jill gave Lisa her baby daughter Madison to raise as her own. Kim-Ann is quite upset...that Jill didn't offer Madison to her first.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pretty much every woman aside from Jill is this, but especially Lisa, who essentially usurps Jill's entire life because Jill is too weak-willed to stop her.
  • City with No Name: The town is never named.
  • Companion Cube: Taken to an extreme. During her kid's soccer game, Lisa takes the soccer ball and shoves it up her dress to imitate a pregnant belly. Everyone then congratulates her on her pregnancy, with complete sincerity. Later on, she gives birth to the soccer ball, naming it Twilson and treating it as a child.
  • Cringe Comedy: And plenty of it! The most notable example is the scene with the family photographer, who, when Lisa asks him for a seat for a picture, offers her his assistant's wheelchair.
  • Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: The Davies family usually wear the color pink, whereas the Wetbottoms favor lavender and blue. Kim-Ann is usually seen in green or yellow, whereas Marriott is always wearing orange.
  • Gainax Ending: Mixed with an Ambiguous Ending, with notes of a Downer Ending as well. (Yeah, it's that kind of movie). A mentally unstable Jill is back in town, watching the child she just kidnapped play in the soccer game. Lisa is apparently unfazed by Jill's mental breakdown and casually mentions that her family has moved into Jill's house, with Nick serving as their pool boy. Jill abruptly realizes that the children are playing soccer on top of a graveyard, and jumps to her feet, saying that she has to get away. The referee blows his whistle at her and says "out of bounds!", and she immediately sits back down.
  • Giggling Villain: Jill's stalker, unseen for most of the movie, can be heard cackling and gibbering to themselves whenever they make an appearance.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: An early scene where Jill and Lisa kiss their husbands lingers on close-ups of their lips connected by spittle. And then it turns out each woman was kissing the other's husband.
    • Towards the end of the movie, Jill takes a pair of wire cutters and snips off her braces. Her teeth immediately go from straight and white to crooked and nasty.
  • Hula and Luaus: Nick's birthday party is Hawaiian-themed, which means there's a pig roast (that nobody bothered to turn, meaning one side is completely charred) and everyone wears tacky Hawaiian-patterned clothing.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lisa telling Jill that it's her own fault she lost her kids is undeniably cruel, but it's not inaccurate: she literally gave one away, after all, and she lost Julian because she treated him like a dog and not as her child.
  • Manchild: Nick cares more about playing sports and drinking pool water than about being a good father for Julian.
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: None of the main characters appear to have a job. Jill and Lisa appear to be housewives, and Nick and Dennis are never shown working or even talking about work.
  • Only Sane Man: The woman who lives in Jill's childhood home is the only character in the movie who behaves like a normal person. The effect is eerie after spending so much time in the neighborhood.
  • Parental Abandonment: At the beginning of the movie, Jill asks Lisa, apparently on a whim, if she wants to take her baby daughter and raise her as her own. Lisa says yes; Jill and Nick don't mind at first, but Jill soon comes to regret her decision.
  • Pubescent Braces: Every adult in the movie (except for the woman who lives out of town) wears these, for no discernible reason.
  • Retraux: The shows and commercials we see within the movie have an 80s aesthetic.
  • Sanity Slippage: The combination of grief, stress and regret that Jill feels results in her falling off the deep end, eventually going so far as to kidnap another child.
  • Show Within a Show: Bald Men With Bouquets (a show Julian loves) and Kids With Knives (a show Bob is forbidden to watch.)
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Throughout the movie, Jill is stalked by someone unseen who giggles uncontrollably. When we meet the stalker in Jill's house towards the end, she turns out to be a delusional middle-aged woman who screams at Jill to leave "her" house.
  • Stepford Smiler: Virtually every woman in the movie puts on a happy face, but insecurity and spite always find their way out.
  • Stepford Suburbia: A really weird one, but the obsession with conformity and social status is still there.
  • Surreal Horror: It comes to the forefront towards the end, but the movie frequently emphasizes the macabre and the grotesque throughout.
  • Surreal Humor: The general tone is if Tim & Eric directed an episode of Desperate Housewives.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Bob Wetbottom, previously a somewhat sullen but well-behaved young boy, turns into a foul-mouthed demon with a Hair-Trigger Temper halfway through the movie. Like so many other things, it's left unexplained, and his parents just roll with it.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Nick is obsessed with drinking pool water—apparently, it's been treated so that there's no chlorine, and he finds it delicious. Jill just tastes normal water.
  • Traumatic Haircut: While the haircut Jill gets doesn't scar her, it's literally traumatic: she winces in pain with each cut, before her hair begins to bleed. The camera zooms out to reveal that this is apparently a normal occurrence in this world.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The town is in America, but that's about all we know about it.

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