Because this show is brand new, I’m going to try to keep this post short. It will be just a weeny woony one, to borrow a phrase from Steve Martin’s character in Mixed Nuts. I found out about this show because my mother wanted to watch it, and so I signed up for Hulu. I use her as a barometer for more conventional media, because she has very little patience with anything, so if she likes it, it might be tightly written. My dad will make everyone drive to the city for a midnight showing of Exit Through the Gift Shop, but my mom is watching whatever she’s watching while doing something else and it’s really hard to get her attention. So when she said there’s a new show starring that guy we used to like in the movies, I took note.
Yeah, I love some of Steve Martin’s movies, but I rarely tolerate Martin Short (I thank him for being part of SCTV), and as for Selena Gomez, let’s be fair and admit that I am not her target audience though I did like that show about the magicians on Disney when my son was little. She can act as much as she wants as long as I don’t have to hear the weird way she pronounces the word “good” when she sings. These three are fans of the same podcast who live in a quirky building when a murder occurs, but since the police think it’s a suicide, the trio teams up to prove it’s a murder.
I will probably keep watching to find out what happened. My problem is that I’m not sure what tone they’re going for here, because there could be a lot to unpack or it could just be badly written. If it’s a comedy, I’m sorry about their damn luck because it’s not funny. If it’s a parody, it doesn’t matter what happens in the story anyway. If it’s a satire, I’m not smart enough to figure out what is being satirized. That’s not to say I’m not enjoying it, because my brain loves a mystery, I take the plot of whatever I’m watching very seriously, and it’s very easy for me to suspend my disbelief and get into almost anything unless it makes me cringe so hard I need therapy.
That brings me to my first point of confusion, and I’m only going to highlight two: what was the purpose of having a fan stop Steve Martin’s character, who is an out of work actor, on the street to have an excruciating conversation? File that under acute and critical massive ~all the medical terms for not doing very well~ cringe, but I kept watching because I was enjoying the experience with my mom.
And secondly, what’s with all the fucking swearing in the dialogue? I cuss like a sailor at home or talking to close friends, but not among strangers or AT A FUCKING MEMORIAL SERVICE.
Are the writers trying to use the trope that New Yorkers are crass? We already know that fictional New Yorkers in the movies are crass. Is the swearing a shortcut to make everyone in the building look like a suspect? That’s lazy writing, and we already know everyone in the building is a suspect, but especially whoever was SPOILER
going up the stairs wearing a hoodie when everyone else was evacuating because of the false fire alarm during which the murder took place END SPOILER
Or, is everyone swearing because people in New York think those of us in the boondocks are terrified of them? “You know how we do it it (city) so overlook my behavior because I am from (city).” Honestly I’m much more afraid of Parisians, y’all, because my French is so bad.
Whatever the reason, I want to believe the swearing is thematic and not just cringe inducing writing. Because this show has been made into a Really Big Deal and I want to be part of the experience as it rolls out for the next seven episodes, but I can’t do that if I’m constantly being taken out of the action because I’m wondering about all the clunky F bombs. And I won’t stick with a big budget TV show that I can’t get a handle on, because it just makes me feel left out when I don’t get what everyone’s on about.*
Ok, that wasn’t weeny or woony. Check out Only Murders in the Building and tell me why they chose to make a show about a podcast that may or may not happen.What’s the real fucking story here? Bonus points if you don’t compare anything about this to the work of either Woody Allen or Wes Fucking Anderson.
I just realized in editing that I overlooked the building itself as a character, so check out this article that breaks down the sets and what they convey.
Did you know I once saw The Jerk at a midnight movie and they served Pizza in a Cup?
*See also The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story and anything that happened after the first season of Stranger Things.