“I mean, a murderer probably lives in the building, but I guess old white guys are only afraid of colon cancer and societal change.” —Mabel
This quote alone should have you tuning in to Only Murders in the Building on Disney+ and on Hulu in the USA.
Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez are not just gimmick casting in a trendy premise of murder podcast lovers solving a murder… while recording their own murder podcast.
Read that again if you have to.
I don’t listen to podcasts, let alone murdery ones, but I loved OMitB and here’s 5 reasons why this show is a worthy binge for you as well:
Charles: Isn’t it insulting to flirt now?
Oliver: Who the hell knows? Suddenly it’s rude to tell a secretary she looks nice in a pair of slacks.
Mabel: No. To that whole sentence.
Do you remember all those dopey movies that came out in the 80s? They were stuffed with goofy comedians in a ridiculous plot and… action!
Funny? Not so much.
Yet, while OMitB has two of The Three Amigos, they are tempered by a very chill Selena. She doesn’t eye roll at them so much as do the dead Gen Z stare… even though she’s “Gen Y.1”… which is an actual thing. I know. What?
The age difference is noted in many small and enjoyable moments such as:
Oliver: Calls bother them for some reason.
Charles: Yeah, I think I’ll text.
But the vibe and the humor is, “I’m OK, you’re OK” not #okboomer – or at least, “I’m OK, you’re an idiot but whatever. I’ll keep hanging out with you.” As Charles, Oliver and Mabel, these are three unlikely but nonetheless actual friends.
Full disclosure: my girlfriend HATED Selena in this role. I thought she was great!
Mabel: 70 is the new 40.
Charles: I want you to be less mean.
Mabel: I know you do.
Mabel is mocking Charles’ dating protocol while Oliver does text with an old school twist:
The killer came for my family! Love, Oliver.
Insert heart emoji here.
It’s a timely topic, filled with meta meaning and name stars, and you’re invested in each character. They may be unlikeable (hello, Bunny) or slippery (Nathan Lane, the deli king), but they have dimension because great writing makes a show pop. I may be biased but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Vast kudos to the OMitB writers’ room are definitely due.
Oliver: Oh, my God, the twists and turns of this are unbelievable. It’s like a rainbow crafted by a drunken leprechaun!
True crime podcasts – those who make them and those who obsess over them – aren’t going away any time soon. Millions of listeners want to be the one to solve the mystery, the bloodier the better. Personally, that’s an ugh for me but the OMitB gives me the serpentine lite version so I can sleep at night. #thankyouvmuch
Every episode has a cliffhanger. Bassoon jokes, tye-dye hoodies and turkeys for a famous suspect all keep the viewer engaged and going in the wrong direction… or is it?
The pleasure of a whodunnit is feeling you’re definitely up to the task of outwitting the writers, even if you’re like me and never really bother. I prefer to go with the murdery flow, be lightly flummoxed and enjoy the clever clues when I go back and dissect it.
This is the perfect show for this technique! You’re welcome.
Oliver: You are scoring a murder mystery, not DJing a hobbit’s wedding.
I’ve grown up with Steve and Marty; I have a great many memories and much fondness for both of them. That being said, when I watched their Netflix special An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, it felt like a mushy soft sofa of a comedy. Comfy and old school with no edges.
While I did enjoy hearing about their long-time friendship – they met on The Three Amigos! – it also veered too close to those hokier days for me. I know they were going for the vaudeville vibe and yes, they hit it.
I wanted more.
However, you pop these veterans into a great script with sharp, witty dialogue and you have two crisply defined characters you can’t stop watching. Oliver, as a stage director, is perky yet snippy and lives on dips. Charles, a long-ago TV star, is emotionally stagnant and dour. Together, they are the bickering, crime solving Odd Couple of OMitB.
I wanted more.
Detective Williams: We’re born alone, spend most of our time alone, then we all go out alone.
Finally, OMitB addresses not just easy breezy issues in a sound bite or nutty podcast fans but darker concerns as well. Loneliness, dysfunctional family relationships and all kinds of not just bloody secrets are a part of the plot.
Particularly among older adults, social isolation is a growing health concern. Charles has withdrawn after a particularly distressing breakup, Oliver is a human manic episode, barely connected to his only son, and even Mabel rattles around alone in her aunt’s huge apartment. All of them know what it is to live as a lonely.
That they connect over a common passion from the same emotional space isn’t just happenstance, it’s how real life works, or should work. To see them find each other and form a new team feels so lovely. Even if it’s murdery, it’s getting in mortal danger all together. Yay!
Charles: Sometimes it’s easier to figure out someone else’s secret than it is to deal with your own.
What makes this show 100% on the Rotten Tomatoes meter?
OMitB isn’t an ironic riff on “look at how cute the helpless Boomers are,” it’s a murder mystery that keenly observes the generation gap while also rendering it irrelevant.
The fact that most media ignore anyone over the age of 50 means it’s just a huge pleasure to see a beautifully crafted, fun yet meaningful piece of entertainment that includes iconic actors who are 76 and 71 years old… and still crushing it. Why wouldn’t they be?
And a shout out to 53-year-old Amy Ryan, who plays a complex “do you like or loathe her” character with bravura.
OMitB shines in spite of and BECAUSE of this new set of three amigos.
Did you watch OMitB? Who was your fave character? Did you think Selena was great or awful? Did you guess whodunnit? And are you excited for season 2?