Only Murders in the Building
Martin Short, Steve Martin & Selena Gomez are addicted to true crime podcasts and turn sleuths in this joyous new comedy.
In any large apartment building (and even some smaller ones) it’s easy not to know who your neighbours are, let alone have any insight into the lives behind closed doors.
I still laugh when I think about Kramer trying to befriend the residents in Seinfeld‘s building and how opposed Jerry was to the idea.
In New York’s Arconia, home to Only Murders in the Building, the residents include three disparate singles: veteran actor Charles (Steve Martin) who once starred in ’90s police show Brazzos; flamboyant, short-tempered theatre director Oliver (Martin Short); and Mabel (Selena Gomez), a shy young woman who is renovating.
What they have in common is a love of true crime podcasts -but they aren’t aware of their joint obsession until one night when an evacuation disrupts the latest live episode and forces them to a nearby cafe. When they realise their mutual fascination, all three instantly bond despite generational gaps.
But the stakes are raised when they learn a murder has taken place in their very own building. Say no more… these three will turn instant podcasters. After all there is nothing more addictive than 1) crime 2) characters 3) secrets.
But as they DYI podcast there are lies, danger and dollops of comedy schtick from seasoned performers. Particularly fun is Short directing Martin recording the podcast narration: “It’s so PBS-y, like a Ken Burns documentary on the history of boredom.” Ouch.
Steve Martin, Dan Fogelman and John Hoffman have cleverly created this joyful mystery, surrounded by eccentric Upper West Side characters (guest stars include Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Sting).
There are also touches of magic realism that are never overdone, nor feel out of place.
Watching Martin & Short crackle is most of the fun of this series, although Gomez completely holds her own, if only to avoid the show being a connoisseur’s treat.
At just 30 minutes each this is an easy watch. I have no idea if it will hold up across its full 8 episodes, but don’t stop me from finding out.
Only Murders in the Building screens Tuesday on Star (Disney+).