The second season of this series of suspense, intrigue and humor starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez continues to do very well in its pure New York retro comedy tone.
The series starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gómez returns in its second season with almost complete control of the tone sought from the beginning, very comfortable in that style of classic comedy and something retro that Peter Bogdanovich could well have signed at some point. of his career. It’s just a matter of getting carried away by the proposal, away from most of the conventions of current series, and enjoy a comedy of entanglements and “thriller” in the style of Agatha Christie led with knowledge of the facts by two masters of comedy and a young aspirant who is feeling more and more comfortable next to these monsters.
ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING try to put in the middle some condiments that work with a somewhat younger audience in age –some activities of the character of Selena, some other young character and the technology of the podcast itself– but they really only work when they are contrasted by the ignorance of the duo septuagenarian with respect to the new codes. Seeing Martin not understand anything when his stepdaughter speaks to him with current adolescent codes is central to the humor of the proposal, since it is clear that in the world in which these characters live – a world whose references are classic Broadway musicals and which has Shirley MacLaine as a guest star – there are very few in the real world today who really understand.
These bumbling investigators go on another adventure in the imposing, beautiful and classic Arconia Building as soon as the events of the previous season are finished. On this occasion, they become suspects in the death of the administrator Bunny (Jane Houdyshell, one of those faces and characters so woodyallenescos that the series has and that this season appears only in flashbacks) to then, as in the previous season, go on to investigate the case for his podcast, which this time – at least in the first four episodes – has a less central presence than in the first.
ONLY MURDERS…it wins over last season because it doesn’t need to introduce either the characters or the world or the concept. It does not even deal with the obvious differences of its protagonists, who already function as a fairly well-assembled and, in their own way, efficient trio. Short will continue to be the most outgoing character, Martin will return with his usual neurosis and Gómez will find his place among these comedy specialists as a kind of “ground wire” of this universe so codified with old industry references.
Returning to the case itself, there is not much that can be said after four episodes for two main reasons. First, because everything is constantly changing. And second, because it really doesn’t matter. Discovering the murderer is just an excuse for comic situations between the protagonists, the secondary cast (many return from the first season, others do not) and some guests who work very well (such as the aforementioned MacLaine, who fits like a glove in the proposal ) and others not so much, like Amy Schumer who tries more than necessary to live up to the proposal. There is a naturalness in these professional veterans when it comes to managing that somewhat retro comic tone that their younger colleagues do not always manage to imitate without being noticed.
Some of the most interesting notes of the series go through how little by little they are revealed building secrets that connect with the history of New York (some secret passageways and things like that) and also how that past is linked to the lives of the characters. ONLY MURDERS… cannot avoid falling into the temptation – typical of the series of this last decade or so – of giving the protagonists complicated family traumas to resolve, fundamentally between parents and children. And while they are subplots as unnecessary as they are far from the retro tone of much of the series, they are generally quite well handled.
It shows, at the heart of the series, as a struggle between those who try to follow exactly in the footsteps of the classic intrigue comedy as it could have been filmed in the ’50s or ’60s (with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and with Billy Wilder directing) and others that try to give it a somewhat more politically correct character, with current characters and references (Cara Delevigne, the use of pronouns, a greater racial breadth of the characters based on current New York) and that they have an interest in capturing younger viewers and not just those closer to retirement than anything else. Y ONLY MURDERS… it works best when these oppositions are part of the plot itself. Watching Martin and Short adapt, understand and “respond” to these cultural changes is one of the great achievements of this likable farcical old-fashioned comedy thriller.
We want to say thanks to the writer of this short article for this outstanding material
Series: review of “Only Murders in the Building: Season 2 – Episodes 1/4”, by Steve Martin and John Hoffman (Star+) – Micropsia