For most of my life I have heard how great both Steve Martin and Martin Short are, and especially that of the global phenomena that is Steve Martin. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know who Steve Martin was. The first three or four years of my life I watched the Three Amigos! —and Dumbo—so many times, consecutively even, that I likely owe my language to the movies. And to be completely honest, I never really understood why Steve Martin was so popular.
I like Steve Martin, but in the way that I like Santa Claus or Mr. Rogers, he just looks like an incredibly genuine human being. As an actor and as a comedian though, with the exception, of course, of Roxanne, the Father of the Bride films, and the Three Amigos! I never did appreciate his films. As a comedian he was too animated, and too goofy for me, Martin’s body language was telling me a different story than his mouth, and I thought that was awkward and weird. Martin Short, I was even less interested in, I only liked him in the Three Amigos! and the Father of the Bride films, and nothing else. Short has always been way too over the top for me. I don’t like humor for humors’ sake, and it seemed to me that Martin Short was always trying too hard to get a laugh.
So, when I first became aware of Only Murders in the Building when it was first released on Hulu, I had no interest in the show. I practically grew up with Steve Martin Short and even that didn’t inspire me to give it a try, so including Selena Gomez in the cast wasn’t enough for me to spare the half an hour. I don’t know anything about Gomez, except that she was a child Disney star, like Britany Spears and Justin Timberlake. Almost a year later, a good friend of mine mentioned that she had been watching Only Murders in the Building, and that she loved it. She talked it up a lot. I surrendered and told her that I would watch it. A few days passed before I finally got around to it but as soon as I did, I couldn’t stop, and I started it just in time, too, because the second season was just about to drop on Hulu.
Only Murders in the Building is really good. And ironic too, because the best part about it, other than the writing, is Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. Steve Martin’s comedic genius in this role is so subtle and yet perfect for someone who feels as though his comedy is outdated, he brilliantly acknowledges that critique and low-key shove that critique right back in your face; a great example of this is a brief dialogue between Martin and Gomez, he says something to the effect of “Yeah, who was the first person to look at a chicken and think that looks good!” While Gomez, in response, just stares at him blankly. It’s so subtle, and yet that dialogue, though brief, speaks volumes to the nuance and production brilliance of the show. I think Gomez provides the perfect degree of Millennial “know-it-all” stoicism and wit, in-between these two “has been’s/never was’s.” (<--- that's a movie reference). Their ensemble is fantastic!
And Martin Short is incredible! As far as I’m concerned, Only Murders in the Building is his show. What Short does from episode to episode and season to season is show a range of acting and comedy that I haven’t seen as consistently in a long time, if ever. It may not be the best show on television, but it’s definitely one of the few that you can binge watch and then immediately re-watch, and I genuinely believe, that aside from the incredible dynamic of Steven Martin Short and Selena Gomez, that it’s because Martin Short gives the best performance of his career, consistently from the first episode to the Season Two Finale.
I highly recommend Only Murders in the Building. It is among the funniest, smartest, and most unique shows that I’ve seen in a long while. I’m really excited for the third season, and the inclusion of Paul Rudd in the cast, because the four of them, Steve Martin Short, Selena Gomez, and Paul Rudd could very well be one of the best comedic ensembles in sit-com history.