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True crime podcasts spotlighted in ‘Only Murders in the Building’

By Francine Brokaw - Special to the Daily Herald | Oct 6, 2021

Only Murders In The Building is streaming on Hulu. (Photo courtesy Hulu)

Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez are executive producers as well as stars in the new Hulu series “Only Murders in the Building.” Americans have become obsessed with podcasts, specifically true crime podcasts, and the characters played by the three actors are not immune to this phenomenon.

These podcasts are like the old serialized shows that originally played on radio in the pre-television days. Then they moved to video on the small screen. And now, with the internet, they have once again moved back to audio. It’s kind of like a step back in time, when people gathered around their radios to listen to a new adventure. Now they gather around their iPods, phones or other devices to get the latest episode of their favorite show.

Martin plays Charles-Haden Savage, a former TV star. Short is Oliver Putnam, a not-so-famous producer and Gomez is Mabel Mora, a twenty-something from the burbs that is currently living in her aunt’s fancy Manhattan apartment. The three all live on different floors of the swanky building.

Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Jimmy Fallon, Sting, Jane Lynch and others make appearances in the series, but the main focus is on the trio who band together to solve a murder. Yes, one man has just been murdered in the building and the three set out to find out who did it. Plus, they turn their journey into a podcast that quickly becomes the talk of the town.

In a recent press conference, Gomez was asked about her experience working with the two veteran comedians. She replied, “I was very nervous, to be honest, because I don’t — I mean, I didn’t know what to expect, because sometimes I find that comedy people can sometimes be a little bit distant and so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. And now I have like these two crazy uncles in my life that basically give me boy advice and I sing rap songs to them.”

“What I love about the end product of the show is the three different energies of the actors,” Short chimed in. “I kind of play it very real. Steve goes way over the top. And Selena grounds everything in this kind of dry, hilarious delivery. And the combination, I think, is perfect. And it was a dream to work with this brilliant, young lady.”

“What I’d say is the level of sophistication of the material is first the reason why I wanted to do this,” Gomez later admitted. She had grown up in front of the camera in Disney projects and has now finally been given the opportunity to play a mature young woman, something she relished. And her performance is nothing short of brilliant. She delivers funny lines in a flat tone, which makes her character endearing to viewers.

When asked about his long history of working with Short, Martin simply said, “I think we just get along at a humorous level, and always have. We don’t get too neurotic.” And the addition of Gomez to this show greatly added to the fun of the two veteran actors.

“I believe when Selena’s on screen, the show is suddenly elevated. It’s more mysterious. It’s more interesting. There’s an old cliché — the camera loves her. And I would say the camera likes me, and it’s fine with Marty,” Martin joked.

The chemistry between the three actors is the only way this show works as well as it does. They are a brilliant team and when the final credits roll on the last episode of the season, viewers will undoubtedly be anxious for the next installment in this very amusing and engrossing series.

“Only Murders in the Building” can be found on Hulu with new episodes on Tuesday. The last episode of the season will be released Oct. 19.


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