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Only Murders in the Building: True Crime

"I mean, let's face it: nobody ever discovered nineteen bodies buried in the backyard of a 27-story apartment building."

The beautiful episode that started it all. Welcome to the Arconia building. Historic. Expensive. Filled with New York's goofiest residents... and at least one murderer.

Solving a murder sounds easy when someone else does it. How hard could it really be? When a man named Tim Kono is murdered in their building, the cast of Only Murders in the Building decides to find out.

The first episode is mostly about introducing us to the incredible cast.

Steve Martin (in the first regular TV gig of his career) plays Charles-Haden Savage, an actor whose glory days are way behind him, all the way back to the 70s when he starred in a detective show called Brazzos. His hysterically average catchphrase was, “This sends the investigation in an entirely new direction.”

Martin Short brings his A-game as Oliver Putnam, a Broadway producer with a string of expensive disasters in his wake. Even at his age, Short’s the undisputed master of physical comedy, and he turns in the performance of his lifetime. Don’t take your eyes off of him for a second.

Selena Gomez is the wildcard. She plays Mabel Mora, a woman with a past as mysterious as the murders they solve. This was my first time to see her in anything, and it's obvious right away that she's the puzzle piece Short and Martin have been looking for. Gomez is the third amigo we never saw coming, providing perfect comic timing and hilarious deadpan responses.

The show’s usual formula is to have one of the characters delve into their own past, often thanks to the episode’s guest star. As the personal stuff gets sorted out, it reveals something important about the murder case that, well, sends the investigation in an entirely new direction.

When a man named Tim Kono dies in this episode, our leads, bound by their love of true crime podcasts, take it upon themselves to start their own podcast. It's hard to think of a better hook for a first episode.

But what really hooks people is the design. The New Yorker style font, the groovy animation, the fast-moving streets of New York, and the amazing clothes Mabel is modeling. Every frame is a treat for the eyes.

DUN-DUN-DUNNN!!!! (The Spoiler Section)

-Mabel goes back to her place and we learn...that she totally knows Tim Kono! She's got some 'splaining to do.

Under the Microscope

-Near the beginning, before Tim Kono is killed, Savage leans out the window and hears a bassoon playing. Write that down.

-Be like Putnam. He falls down, but he gets back up. Resilience is a way of life for him. Be. Like. Putnam.

-Selena Gomez nails her part. Usually actors trying to be subtle and grim come across mopey and boring, but she's bringing a profound darkness to the show. It fits. And we'll learn there's a lot going on under the hood.

-Oliver just refuses to give up his expensive apartment in the Arconia. This is a running gag. Eventually you'll have a heart attack keeping with his ridiculous expenses.

-We begin in media res. Normally I hate it when shows do this, because it's usually a cheap trick to create fake drama. It works here. In fact, when this scene comes back, there's a good chance you're going to forget you saw Mabel stabbing someone wearing a tie-dyed hoodie. With a knitting needle.

Final Analysis: A perfect start. Five out of five yellow, faux-fur coats.

Adam D. Jones is a writer, musician, and medievalist. He's also a bit of detective himself, having recently solved the terrible case of the hidden cat poo.

8 comments:

  1. I keep meaning to try this show. And now I have to. :) Thanks, Adam.

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  2. This show might be a reason for me to subscribe to Hulu again. I've heard great things.

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    1. Oh, you can watch it on Disney Plus too. :)

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  3. Thank you, Gregzilla! I'm renewing that next month.

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  4. Adam, I’m so excited you’ve taken this on for us Doux readers! Great first post. I may have to rewatch as you post new recaps.

    Sooze

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sooze. I think you'll find it's even better the second time around!

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