‘Only Murders in the Building’ is a killer new comedy crime show

By Angelina Halas
September 28, 2021

Only Murders in the Building” debuted the first three episodes of season one on Aug. 31, streaming exclusively on Hulu. It currently has 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The new comedy series follows Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short) and Mabel (Selena Gomez), three true crime podcast lovers, on their hunt in investigating a “suicide” of someone in their apartment building. After this happens, they are suspicious as to if it was actually a suicide, as they believe the dead man was murdered instead. They begin to conduct their own investigation and start to produce their own podcast about their findings.

This was the photo released in June for promotion of the show. Photo from @selenagomez Instagram.

“The show is actually on my wish list so I am looking forward to watching it,” sophomore international business management major Kiley Boyd said.

This is Selena Gomez’s first role back to television as a character since “Wizards of Waverly Place.” In between this time, Gomez was battling Lupus and had to receive a kidney transplant. Her return to television shocked fans but is also widely supported.

“I loved her on Disney, so it makes me excited to see her on TV again, breaking out of that Disney character,” freshman chemistry major Mariam Sazheniuki said.

Martin’s Charles and Short’s Oliver couldn’t be more different. Charles is old, uptight and sad, while Oliver is a bit more flamboyant and open. Gomez’s Mabel is cool and grounded, creating a nice balance of the trio.

Even though Gomez is on screen with two renown actors, according to a top critic from Rotten Tomatoes, “With Gomez being a seasoned actor and producer on top of being an honest-to-goodness pop star, she delivers an engaging, multi-faceted performance and comfortably holds her own on screen with Martin and Short.”

“I think she can hold her own with anyone, especially since she has played a main character before,” Sazheniuki said.

Not only is it Gomez’s return to television, it is also Steve Martin’s return to television as a character in 13 years.

“If an actor or actress hasn’t been on TV for a while, the answer 15 years ago would have been that they are struggling to find work,” video production professor John Doyle said. “But today, because of the amount of money in streaming services, it’s more about prestige and control over projects that are manageable.”

A helpful guide to recognizing the familiar faces within the show. Graphic created on Canva by Angelina Halas.

Martin co-created the show with John Hoffman. The story of “Only Murders in the Building” is based off of something Hoffman experienced in his own life.

According to The Wrap, one of Hoffman’s old friends was found dead in his apartment building, thought to be a suicide but was actually a murder. Gomez’s Mabel is based off of himself, since he knew the victim but didn’t tell anyone.

Despite this experience happening to Hoffman, it was Martin who came to him with the idea of a comedy-crime series and used Hoffman’s story as the basis of the show. Martin also used his connections to create an all-star cast with guest appearances by Tina Fey, Sting and more to come.

“Older actors are looking to do work and they are finding venues that they can work with their friends and they are able to find that with these streaming services,” Doyle said.

“In the end, the algorithm of survival is about how many views you get. It makes tons of sense to me that when you have older actors, especially like Martin and Short, that you’re going to want to cast people of the younger generation [Gomez] who double your capacity for viewership.”

The older and younger generation banter is a common source of humor throughout the show thus far, allowing the actors to make quick quips and fool around with each other.

“Because they are two different generations, the jokes and the ambience of the show need to find a way to appeal to both sides,” sophomore health science major Yeredith Cruz said. “Not everyone will understand a joke from a few decades ago and not everyone will understand the current slang.”

“Only Murders in the Building” is only available to watch on Hulu. Screenshot from Hulu app from Angelina Halas.

“When you make a show like this, with these actors, it crosses generational boundaries,” Doyle said. “The issue of age becomes a part of the comedy and the drama.”

“Only Murders in the Building” has six out of the 10 episodes for season one released, and has already been renewed for season two, after Hulu announced it was the most watched original comedy on premiere day. It is also confirmed that the truth of what happened to the victim will be revealed at the end of season one.

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Angelina Halas

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