Only Murders in the Building: How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors?
September 1, 2021 12:03 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Oliver employs his theater director skills to analyze the case. Charles and Mabel question an obsessive cat lover.

description via imdb
posted by everybody had matching towels (27 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm glad they released three episodes first because I might not have kept watching after the first one, but by the third I was hooked.
posted by cooker girl at 1:17 PM on September 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Is it good? I’m kind of interested, but two really old dudes hanging with Selena Gomez tips the needle a bit into “ew, creepy” territory for me.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:32 PM on September 1, 2021

I found it charming and refreshingly unambitious, but "unlikely podcast-obsessed trio gets up to locked-room mystery antics with bonus New York" is also exactly the sort of thing I'm predisposed to like.

The generation gap gets a lot of good natured, if not especially groundbreaking, lampooning. Gomez's character has the other two's names saved in her phone with the notation "(Old)" next to it.

The tone also works enough for me that I'm willing to overlook things like, there is no way Bunny isn't the type to notice and make a huge fuss over a package mysteriously disappearing off her table, is there?
posted by eponym at 4:39 PM on September 1, 2021 [11 favorites]

Also, warning that there's a somewhat surprising level of animal harm involved, if that's likely to be particularly unpleasant to anyone considering watching.
posted by eponym at 4:41 PM on September 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

I was surprised by this. I know this is not Selena Gomez's first "adult" role but I liked how grownup it is without going into the "I'm edgy now!!!!" territory (but maybe she got that out of her system with Spring Breakers?). I like her a lot in this. Also, her clothes are wonderful.

It's oddly sweet and affectionate overall, even with the darker elements. These three people are all such lost souls that it makes sense they came together. I like that they're all mostly sort of hapless and not particularly good at any of this, but not in a way that feels cruel or mocking toward them.

I absolutely would have binged this entire series had they released it all at once. After watching the first three episodes, I was sad I didn't get more until next week.
posted by edencosmic at 5:19 PM on September 1, 2021 [13 favorites]

So far I'm REALLY INTO this. I was wondering how one should put this on Fanfare since it's a mystery series that after this batch of three will be weekly. Thanks for figuring that out!

I do think it's very weird to pair Martin and Short (Three Amigos! Minus the pain-in-the-ass one!) with Selena Gomez and I seriously wonder how this was thought of, but thankfully there's no sexual vibe. She's very deadpan. "You don't adopt a 20-year-old dog." I guess it's more like she suddenly got two very weird new uncles.

I am intrigued with the whole "Hardy Boys" plot big time. The obsession with the podcast is a hoot. Everyone hating Tim Kono but feeling sad over the cat!

I like how episode 2 focuses on Mabel's childhood and episode 3 focuses on Oliver's "Splash"-y past.

"You push people out of their comfort zone. I mean, I don't like to get involved with people, but I just met a very strange man, and knocked a frozen cat out of his freezer. I still have its leg!.... You're insane, but that's usually what people want to follow."
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:59 PM on September 1, 2021 [6 favorites]

Also, warning that there's a somewhat surprising level of animal harm involved, if that's likely to be particularly unpleasant to anyone considering watching.

Oh no! I watched the first episode and enjoyed it enough to plan to keep watching, but this is worrying.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 8:48 AM on September 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also, warning that there's a somewhat surprising level of animal harm involved, if that's likely to be particularly unpleasant to anyone considering watching.

There's also two dead people, so far, and a hint of mermen suffering. So, be warned.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:25 PM on September 2, 2021 [5 favorites]

I am into this, but the situation with Winnie (the dog) made me panicky. I have read a few things in terms of future episodes that I won't spoil here, but if dogs in peril are an issue for you, Winnie is definitely in peril here.

The other animal issue is a cat (never seen on screen alive) which dies (also off-screen) and then is stored in the owner's freezer. Frozen cat is also not in great shape by the end of this episode.
posted by minsies at 8:40 AM on September 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

I was really annoyed that they pronounced Chickasha, OK wrong in the pilot. If you're going to pick a town at random, at least learn how to say it before you put it in a TV show. (For the record, it's chicka-shay, not chicka-shaw).
posted by Quonab at 8:07 PM on September 3, 2021 [5 favorites]

I would not have imagined that Steve Martin and Martin Short would write something where a dog dies. I would hate to be wrong about that. I mean, is the dog threatened, or actually killed?

My guess is that this was put together by Steve Martin and Martin Short who are long time best friends. I may have read they get their colonoscopies together with Tom Hanks. They have done a bunch of live shows together. Maybe one or the other knew Selena Gomez, or maybe they just thought she would help attract a more current audience.

I have only watched one so far. The Martin Short storyline made me very sad. Is he going to sell the apartment?! He doesn't really have a choice, it seems.
posted by Glinn at 4:25 PM on September 4, 2021

I think he just got an infusion of cash from Nathan Lane?
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:47 PM on September 4, 2021

I would not have imagined that Steve Martin and Martin Short would write something where a dog dies. I would hate to be wrong about that. I mean, is the dog threatened, or actually killed?

Martin has a long history of animal cruelty. He was advocating handcuffing cats back in the 70s, and Short starred in a movie where a dog is brutally decapitated.
posted by Omon Ra at 10:31 PM on September 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

Well, that's too bad. I think of him as the good-natured guy who saw his wife through cancer (from his book).
Not clicking on those links. : /
posted by Glinn at 9:29 AM on September 5, 2021

Most comedians are terrible with animals. Have you seen Monty Python? They have a sketch about a dead parrot! And don’t get me started with those Warner Brothers cartoons. That poor innocent coyote! Sickening.
posted by Omon Ra at 11:13 AM on September 5, 2021 [8 favorites]

"Not clicking on those links. : /"

You're not only missing the joke (well, several of them)— you're also ultimately missing out on a joke about an embezzling cat.
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:20 PM on September 5, 2021 [12 favorites]

Eh, some people, even those who watch shows with a body count, are particularly sensitive to seeing depictions of animals in distress, and a lot of your cozier mysteries tend to avoid it. I was a little surprised to see a cat's frozen corpse having its leg snapped off, followed closely by a cliffhanger revolving around a (perhaps not fatally) poisoned dog, so figured I'd note the content for anyone who might want a heads up. If that doesn't happen to be you, easy enough!
posted by eponym at 10:21 PM on September 5, 2021

Yes it took me a moment too long to see what you did there.
Still, I am likely much more sensitive than many.

YES agree it’s hard to see Steve Martin as a (non comedic) ex-TV cop.
posted by Glinn at 4:29 PM on September 7, 2021

The first episode didn't sell me on the show, but the next two did! They really earned my trust by revealing that the Steve Martin character's long-winded, entire voluntary speech about his abusive father was lifted verbatim from his old TV show. It felt like the characters were too new to each other to share that kind of raw backstory; this was a much funnier, indirect bit of characterization for Martin's character. (If I may: if it were the kind of movie that meant to have a frisson of romance between Gomez and Martin, that interaction would have been played 100% straight.)

The show also did a great job balancing the comedic need of the murder plot (Tim Kono was a dick and no one liked him) with the dramatic side (Mabel knew him, they were friends, he is at the core of some of her best and worst memories). I grew up with a generation of people very tediously insisting that Selena Gomez had tour-de-force comedic timing on the Disney channel show Wizards of Waverly Place (never watched it); honestly, I can see it. She's very good here.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:42 AM on September 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

We just started watching a couple days ago, so we're a bit behind, but we love this! It's a great "country house" mystery (in the Agatha Christie sense that all of the potential suspects are contained within the same building), with lots of great in-jokes about the ego-centrism of New Yorkers, boomers, and people in the arts (I am, or was, two out of those three things).

I like how they've interspersed their inept detective work with some moving character sequences, which demonstrates how alone each of these three characters is in a different way.

Looking forward to the rest - maybe it was Sting after all!
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:11 AM on September 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm surprised people are talking about Steve Martin and animal endangerment without bringing up cat juggling.
posted by RobotHero at 9:28 PM on September 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

Finally got to this last night and watched the first four episodes -- really loving it so far!
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:24 PM on September 19, 2021

It would be nice to add the HardyBoys tag
posted by Monochrome at 7:03 PM on September 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I like Selena Gomez in this and don't at all agree that she is a "talentless slab of talking meat". I'm also doubtful a male actor would be described that way.

She's supposed to be "affectless" as one review describes her- that's part of her personality informed by her background in the story. I think so far it's very affecting.
posted by bearette at 9:12 AM on September 25, 2021 [25 favorites]

YES agree it’s hard to see Steve Martin as a (non comedic) ex-TV cop.

Small thing on that: the wig they have on him in the flashback Brazzos epsiodes we've seen is pretty close to the wig Bob Odenkirk wears on Better Call Saul, and I'm choosing to interpret that as a hat-tip (or, er, wig-tip).
posted by COBRA! at 9:56 AM on September 25, 2021

It's obviously a wig, which I assumed was the result of some Brazzos TV exec deciding they couldn't have a lead with prematurely grey hair. And maybe that supports the idea that his speech about his father really is genuine? Or does that they let him make a reference to grey hair make it Brazzos canon that it's a wig?
posted by RobotHero at 10:55 PM on September 25, 2021

I just started watching this today and I am completely hooked.
posted by bunderful at 10:42 AM on October 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

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