Only Murders in the Building | Three strangers, a crime scene, and a podcast
When you’re lucky enough to have lunch with Steve Martin, and in the middle of the meal he says ‘Hey, I have an idea for a TV show’, it’s a beautiful day.Dan Fogelman (This Is Us) from Deadline.
Add Steve Martin to Martin Short and the young and popular Selena Gomez, and you get Only Murders in the Building.
A murder shakes a New York building. We are at the Arconia, a luxurious apartment building on the Upper West Side in Manhattan (the name is very similar to The Arcadian, Ted Mosby’s favorite in How I met your mother). Once the tenants have been evacuated, they gather in a nearby restaurant. There, the three meet. They all share the same true-crime podcast, waiting fervently for the new episode. This common passion leads them to investigate the case.
They begin to discover the mysteries and secrets involved in the lives of the building’s residents – although the lies the protagonists tell each other could be even more explosive. Just when everything seems solved, not being afraid of the truth will hit them right in the face. But during the unraveling of events, they also manage to create a podcast about it and witness the growth of a dedicated community.
Masters of comedy
Only Murders in the Building offers an exceptional cast. The presence of two experts in the comic field, Martin and Short, entertains with an incredible old-style comedy. Indeed one of the masters in this type of comedy is Martin, who co-created the series.
He had quite a career, starting joining the Saturday Night Live show, as all comedians did, and then moving into comedy routines and theaters. He acquired great popularity as a funny and somewhat demented comedian, and in 1979 came The Jerk, which was a huge success and opened up acting to him. Even before some big titles like LA Story and Cheaper by the Dozen, he met Short.
Short started out as a comedian alongside his still-close friend Eugene Levy (creator of Schitt’s Creek). Martin was launched in many television series and plays. After only one season on the Saturday Night Live show, he was already famous for his performances and characters’ imitations such as Jackie Rogers Jr. On account of the brilliant reputation, he accomplished, continued on to follow his dream on the big screen. In 1986 he made his film debut with The Three Amigos with Martin and Chevy Chase (Community). Therefore, they couldn’t help but work again together in this new show, right after the interview on Netflix in which they rethink all of these years of collaboration, through jokes songs and captivating stories.
A genre for all generations
One of the joys of Martin and Short, now more than ever, is that they are purely funny. This might sound obvious, but comedy so often comes with an edge or a political message, designed to provoke rather than to laugh.wrote The Guardian in this interview.
With their love for gags, songs, and punchlines, Short and Martin seem to belong to an earlier age, in the best way. A well-balanced mix of irony and slapstick; a comedy style that makes the audience smile, think, and laugh alltogether.
The elegance of these comedy masters fits perfectly with the young Selena Gomez. The contrast between Boomer and Millennials is amalgamated by very clear-headed writing. The show plays with the differences and stylistic elements of a whodunit structure, joining them with comedy. The result is a story that manages to be convincing on all levels. At the same time, Only Murders in the Building can be innovative enough to widely subvert them.
Light and true
The building is home to three strangers. Charles-Hadan Savage (Steve Martin), former star of a television series of the 90s in which he played the detective Brazzos; Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), a theatre director in disgrace after a series of flops, and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), a restorer who stays in her aunt’s apartment.
That of introspection on characters is a deeper level; each one for different reasons, is marginalized and tormented. They’re all still prisoners of a past and unable to fully live the present. The podcast will be their opportunity to come out of their shell and rekindle passions they thought were dormant.
Steve Martin and John Hoffman (Looking, Grace and Frankie), under Fogelman’s supervision, have created a show that is a pleasure for both young and adult serial lovers. Fresh, fast, full of as much historic as current references. For this reason, Only Murders in the Building was nominated for Best Musical or Comedy Series and Best Actor (for Martin Short and Steve Martin) at the 2022 Golden Globes Awards. A final cliffhanger – less inspired than the flamboyant set that preceded it – seemed to announce a second season. And fans are ready.