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An Appreciation for Only Murders in the Building

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

Every Tuesday night, I am able to put all my worries away for about half an hour, and believe me: as midterms come up, the worries are many. What allows me to do this? It is none other than the new show created by Steve Martin, Dan Fogelman and John Hoffman, titled Only Murders in the Building. The title is a nod to the two geriatric main characters who only commit to solving murders that happen in their building. It stars a trio with incredible chemistry: Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. Their chemistry was one of the highlights in this truly amazing show, as well as the strong supporting cast, setting, and a catchy premise that is hilarious in itself. The show is about three strangers linked by a shared obsession with crime who suddenly find themselves wrapped up in a death that occurs in the building where they live (called the Arconia). The three strangers eventually start a podcast titled “Only Murders in the Building”  in an effort to solve the death of Tim Kono. Additionally, as another engaging sub-plot, the trio find out how Evelyn IV (a cat who resides in the building) suffered a similar fate as Tim Kono. 

A good mystery never fails to captivate me. I love feeling engrossed in the “why” of the crime. However, while I did want to know why Tim Kono died, that was not the main reason for my adoration of OMITB. Firstly, I love Selena Gomez and I was incredibly excited to see her (and her charming outfits) in a show with two comedy legends: Steve Martin and Martin Short. Selena truly held her own. Her comedic timing was impeccable with just a hint of Alex Russo in her character of Mabel Mora. It was completely unsurprising that the trio had such incredible chemistry, and while the addition of Selena with Steven Martin and Martin Short may seem unusual, the formula worked so well in the most wholesome way possible. This show’s strengths also lie in the brilliant writing, its use of the Arconia building, and the music composed for the series by Siddhartha Khosla. 

The writing was spectacular. Each episode of the show (also a new episode in the podcast) was about a different character in the show. The first three were obviously about the main characters: Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putman (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), offering their unique perspectives and connection to Tim Kono. This show’s formula succeeds as it intermingles other important perspectives to the main premise: the investigation. It gives the audience information important to solving the crime without giving everything away. Some characters highlighted in the show include the detective on the Tim Kono case, a deaf character who is resident in the building, and an obsessed fan of the podcast. Each character brought something new to the show and the investigation, with the episode staying true to the character. The episode on the deaf character was executed without a single line of dialogue, besides one sentence at the very end. The building the show is set in could actually count as another character in the show, with its beautiful exteriors and eccentric residents like Sting himself. The setting of the show was important as it is literally in the title, and the show utilizes it favorably. Lastly, from The White Lotus we have learned how important the theme song and music can be for a show. Siddhartha Kholsa, the music composer for the show, created an apt theme song, and the music used in the show (including the bassoon pieces) no doubt added another Emmy nomination for this show. 

There are so many other things that make this a wonderful show that should be watched by many. So, while watching this I also tried to think about the things that might put audiences off it, enough for it to not have the audience acclaim that Ted Lasso, Mare of Easttown, or The Undoing received this past year. The only thing I could think of was the potential danger of the characters’ obsession with true crime that is definitely harmful to the investigation. Coincidentally, this show came out around the time when people on the internet became obsessed with the Gabby Petito case. Honestly though, the show also covered the pitfalls of an obsession with true crime in an episode about the detective, highlighting the frustration of normal people with an un-ironic fascination for true crime. So, there is definitely nothing to lose if you watch this…so watch the show! I cannot promise you will like everything about this show, or everything that I liked, but there will definitely be something that you will like about it. Enough to hope and pray for a season 2. 

Speaking of season 2, as of late, mini-series have been in fashion. Gone are the days of 15-season shows. You can expect most shows on streaming channels to be one season, besides a few exceptions. Exceptions include Big Little Lies, which was supposed to have only one season, but then its fans basically bullied David E. Kelly into creating a new season. As I watched Only Murders in the Building, I felt sad because I was under the impression that it was a mini-series. It felt like a one-season show due to the cast of A-list stars with busy schedules, one of the biggest reasons (it seems) that those have become so popular recently. Mini-series allows for more popular movie stars with busy schedules to commit to TV shows without making a long commitment. So it was a surprise during my OMITB interview marathon when I heard Steve Martin say: “we want to keep doing this as long as we can.” Needless to say, I watched the finale with a much happier state of mind. Thank goodness I did, because that finale was simply the greatest. It ended on a cliffhanger that served as a perfect setup for season 2, and aptly utilizes the plurality and easy misspelling of the “murder” in its title. R.I.P to Evelyn the cat, and of course to Tim Kono. Your mysterious deaths kept me entertained for 8 wonderful weeks. And I cannot help but look forward to 8 more wonderful weeks of entertainment because of a tragedy at the Arconia, and season 2 of Only Murders in the Building.

Kavya Thaker

Kenyon '25

Kavya is a Sophomore at Kenyon College from Southern Indiana. She is a Molecular Biology major with a concentration in Public Policy.