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‘Only Murders In The Building’ is Wittier in Newest Season

The comedy-drama, mystery-thriller continues to prove in it’s third season that it’s one of the funniest and most captivating shows out there.
Only+Murders+in+the+Building+%28Courtesy+of+Hulu%29
“Only Murders in the Building” (Courtesy of Hulu)

 

In late August of 2021, Hulu released the first season of “Only Murders in the Building”, a comedic mystery show following an unexpected trio of residents attempting to solve a murder in their apartment building. The pairing of actors Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez intrigued me so I decided to throw it on and was instantly sold. The three leads proved to have fantastic chemistry while solving a twisty and layered whodunnit spliced with sharp commentary on changing generations and true crime media. The second season was also a win despite being not quite as enthralling as the previous season. With its third season, I was worried it would finally hit its dead end but so far it’s been the best season yet.

They Still Got It

Unsurprisingly, our trinity of protagonists is still exceptionally likable, with Short taking the spotlight this season. Short’s character, Oliver Putnam, has always been the loudest and most flamboyant of the leads. Here he takes command as we follow the veteran theater director’s attempt to create his first play in decades when his star actor is murdered. Short’s frenetic style of comedy is often laugh-out-loud funny and balances well with the show’s sadder elements, some of which Short gets the chance to dip into.

Martin and Gomez take back seats for the most part except for on episode four where they’re given time to shine. Martin’s classic awkward sense of humor is still chuckle-worthy but a bit repetitive at this point in the show. Gomez’s cynical but thoughtful quips are still refreshing against Short and Martin’s more timeless comedy bits. Although, it would be great to see Gomez given something a bit more different to do. Once again, Gomez has to play depressed and mature, not being given the chance to be nearly as goofy as her costars. If season four is greenlit, it would be refreshing to see her as a bit more silly and carefree.

New Blood

Season three levels up its cast with two of the biggest names in Hollywood, Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep. Rudd is particularly fun in his role as superhero actor Ben Glenroy. Getting the chance to be something he’s never been before, a complete jerk. Though his character is shown to have some layers. Most of the time, Rudd hams it up as an over-the-top narcissist who cares more for his fame in the fictional action series “CoBro” and “Girl Cop” than the feelings of his cast members. Streep initially appears to also be playing something completely new as a shy, failed and aging actress who is finally given the chance to shine in Oliver’s play. What first seems like just a small, amusing role slowly transforms into something deeper, as Streep’s well-known acting chops sneak through to show a person who is desperate to redeem years of heartbreak and wasted time. Streep also uses her singing skills for a show stopping musical performance many will be awed by. I look forward to seeing how each new character evolves throughout the rest of the season.

The aspect of season three that caught me the most off-guard was its non-linear storytelling which adds a rejuvenating uniqueness to the mystery. Part of the reason season two never reached the highs of season one was because of how similarly the mystery played out. All the beats and twists matched from season to season making some of the big reveals predictable. Season three throws a wrench in this choosing to implement flashbacks and creatively visualized mindsets that slowly feed the audience new information about character relationships and past actions. Because of this, the viewer’s perspective is constantly changing making it difficult to choose just one person to be suspicious of. This new approach to the mystery really spices up the show and makes season three feel smarter than previous seasons.

“Only Murders in the Building” continues to prove it’s one of the funniest and most captivating shows out with its third season harboring some real heart, laughs and unexpected twists even the most keen whodunnit fans won’t see coming.

 

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@grahamcool8

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About the Contributor
Graham Jones
Graham Jones, Assistant Arts Editor
Graham Jones was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and moved to Utah to study film. Despite his passion for cinema, Graham joined the Chronicle to engage with the University of Utah community and pursue his love for journalism. Outside of the student media office, Graham can be found buried deep into the pages of a graphic novel or lip-syncing to the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

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