In the bustling world of entertainment, where crime and mystery intertwine with laughter and camaraderie, there’s a show that has found its groove and embraced its unique blend of comfort and intrigue. “Only Murders in the Building,” now in its eagerly anticipated third season on Hulu, has evolved from its satirical origins as a playful nod to true-crime podcasts into a warm embrace of the genre’s delightfully eerie allure.
Conceived by the dynamic duo of Steve Martin and John Hoffman, and graced by the talents of Martin himself alongside Martin Short and Selena Gomez, the show has evolved into an embodiment of coziness. The characters, an ensemble of endearingly amateur detectives, have not only forged genuine connections through their quirky, impromptu investigations that they document for the world, but the series also boasts a treasure trove of charming references and surprise guest appearances.
Visually, the show beckons you to snuggle up by a fire. The opulent interiors of the Arconia, the iconic setting of the show, mirror the luxurious wardrobes of the protagonists. Within its walls, it always feels like autumn – a timeless haven where the pulse of the city slows, and a nostalgic New York, reminiscent of rom-coms from the 90s, remains intact.
At its core, the series astutely recognizes the comforting allure of amateur sleuthing tales. They transform a world fraught with uncertainty into a playground for the curious, while gossip morphs into a noble pursuit of truth. This delightful blend of comedy and commentary thrives as the characters humorously navigate their motives. Yet, as satire, it gently tickles rather than bites. In the realm of drama, its performance can be uneven, a testament to the complexity of juggling different genres.
As the series delves into the realm of whodunits, it occasionally falters, particularly evident in its second season. The mystery at the heart of the narrative lost its footing, as did the overall cohesion of the season. Drowning in extraneous subplots, the show drowned us in red herrings and twists that led nowhere. Yet, amid this tumultuous second act, there were moments of brilliance. The physical comedy of Martin and Short juxtaposed against Tina Fey’s pretend slow-motion was a scene etched in comedic gold. And while the suspects danced before us like a nod to the classic film “Clue,” the ultimate solution felt strangely reminiscent of a Scooby-Doo escapade.
Approaching the third season, expectations had been cautiously lowered, a consequence of the preceding season’s missteps. Yet, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the latest installment arrives as a pleasant revelation. It exudes a newfound sense of confidence and focus, allowing its characters to flourish in a less frenetic atmosphere. Charles, played by Martin, adapts to life with his live-in girlfriend Joy, portrayed by Andrea Martin, as Mabel (Gomez) contemplates her next steps beyond the Arconia. Oliver, captivatingly portrayed by Short, becomes infatuated with his play, giving way to an amusingly experimental subplot.
Intriguingly, the spotlight shifts from lampooning podcasts to satirizing Broadway. Charles’s amusing struggle to master a challenging patter song transforms into a captivating subplot that pushes boundaries. Oliver’s ludicrous play, “Death Rattle,” serves as a humorous nod to murder mysteries while spiraling into a realm of absurdity. With the main suspect being an infant and the concept evolving into a musical, the series humorously confronts its own limitations in crafting intricate murder plots.
The third season also introduces captivating new dynamics. Meryl Streep’s portrayal of a conflicted actor adds depth to the narrative, while Paul Rudd’s character enjoys a generous share of screen time despite his demise. Gomez’s Mabel, now layered with sincerity, explores a connection with Tobert (Jesse Williams), a charismatic documentarian. The show, while more focused, continues to embrace its supporting cast, breathing life into characters like Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton) and Uma Heller (Jackie Hoffman), along with welcoming back familiar faces like Detective Donna Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), Sazz (Jane Lynch), and Theo (James Caverly).
From the outset, the pairing of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez seemed audacious. With seemingly divergent backgrounds, their synergy has proven to be a stroke of brilliance. The unconventional premise, revolving around two former stars and a youthful outlier coming together as unlikely sleuths in an upscale New York residence, was daring. It began with our protagonists at their lowest points, setting the stage for a potential dark comedy. However, the show managed to avoid wallowing in melancholy, infusing humor, heart, and a surprising lack of pretentiousness.
This show’s strength lies in its delightful blend of ambition and approachability. Despite its nods to sophistication, it maintains an air of accessible charm. Like an American everyman, the show is a delightful concoction of inner craziness and outward normalcy, forming a harmonious blend of emotions and tones. The third season encapsulates this sentiment even more overtly – its primary aim is not to achieve perfection, but rather to offer an enjoyable, entertaining experience.
In a landscape overflowing with crime, mystery, and comedy, “Only Murders in the Building” holds its own unique place. It stands as a testament to the beauty of evolution, from satirical origins to cozy confidences, from genre experiments to character-driven narratives. As we journey alongside our amateur detectives in their pursuit of truth and mirth, we’re reminded that sometimes, the joy of the journey is just as rewarding as the destination.’