Adin Linden, Grade 10, Staff Writer
In a high-end, Upper West Side building, The Arconia, live three true-crime-obsessed people. In Hulu’s new show Only Murders in the Building, Mabel (Selena Gomez), Charles (Steve Martin), and Oliver (Martin Short) are brought together in an attempt to solve what appears to be a murder in their beloved apartment building.
As the show unfolds, new pieces of the mystery are revealed, along with new suspects—various residents in the Arconia—like the mysterious Dimas family and the victim himself, Tim Kono. The show does a great job of building suspense and intrigue. As Mabel, Charles, and Oliver piece the mystery together, so do we.
Oliver, Charles, and Mabel initially come together to make their own true-crime podcast about the death of Tim Kono, which is where we are taken into the core of the story. While poking fun at certain “true crime tropes,” the three characters narrate their newest discoveries to their fans as the audience watches everything unfold. Only Murders in the Building is hilariously aware of the pitfalls and characteristics that are essential to every true-crime podcast, which is key to this show’s stellar comedy.
Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez are an unexpectedly hilarious trio. Gomez, though not as acclaimed a comedian or an actor as the other two, adds playful quips to the mix—using her age difference to poke fun at the two older characters—and has great chemistry with Short and Martin.
Short’s performance stands out as the funniest on the show. His character, a failed Broadway producer who struggles financially but clings on to his expensive apartment, adds a dramatic flair to the show that keeps the viewer laughing.
Of course, the best part of the show is the setting: The Arconia. Inspired by a real building on the Upper West Side, each apartment gives the audience a look into the character’s life and personality. The building residents’ dynamic is the center of the show, with the three protagonists attempting to decipher which of their neighbors committed the crime. With hilarious characters like Howard Morris, whose life revolves around his cat, or the building manager Bunny, who’s known for her cold exterior, each episode opens a new window into the Arconia.
However, Only Murders in the Building does fall flat in several regards. Although not a central plot point, the romantic subplot involving Mabel and Oscar towards the end felt unnecessary and didn’t add much to either character involved. Also, the answer to the mystery, while foreshadowed, wasn’t foreshadowed enough and the killer felt random.
Overall, I would rate Only Murders in the Building a 9.5 out of 10. It is a perfect show for any true crime fan, New Yorker, or average viewer. It has compelling characters, an excellent storyline, and is absolutely hilarious. Who wouldn’t like it?