Only Murders in the Building: Why Everyone Should Watch the Sublimely Average Steve Martin Series

A clearly called average TV show Only murders in the building is back and I couldn’t be happier. The Disney+ drama, which premiered June 28, stars Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez as three amateur detectives investigating — you guessed it — a murder at their New York City apartment building. It’s fine, to be honest – and that’s all it needs to be.

Do you see, only murders falls into a subgenre of television that could be described as “chicken soup watching.” Chicken soup shows aren’t thought-provoking or controversial, they don’t need trigger warnings, and they don’t keep you up at night — quite the opposite. Chicken soup shows, as the term suggests, are programs we watch when we need a break from the horrors of modern society, politics, and the sexist old white men telling women what to do with their bodies. Other chicken soup shows include Gilmore Girls, Ted Lasso and Schott’s Creek. These programs aren’t necessarily revered for their compelling storylines, but rather for their lightness and character relationships that keep us coming back for more. Nothing happens in a lot of episodes of these shows, and that’s okay too.

With the abundance of drama that big-budget streaming platforms have brought us, it’s easy to forget one of television’s core functions: to relax. only murders has no claim to its ambitions as a series. It exists more in his Pinterest board aesthetic than in his crime fiction behind the death of Tim Kono. The show is also about Charles’ (Martin) adorable hat, the beautiful, quirky apartments on the Upper West Side and Oliver’s (Short) love of spices.

(Left to right) Oliver (Martin Short), Mabel (Selena Gomez) and Charles (Steve Martin) in Only Murders in the Building

(Barbara Nitke/Hulu)

Central to this show is the chemistry between Short and Martin; a friendship forged over three decades since working together on the 1986 comedy Three amigos! The two comedy greats take family vacations together, and their closeness is unmistakable on screen. Martin, also a writer on the series, gives the best lines to his pal, who delivers jokes like, “As I told Paula Abdul during our production of Hedda Gabler, this is where we have to start thinking outside the box. ”

Gomez fits surprisingly well into this trio as the scathing millennial navigating two gentlemen in their seventies. “I’m a stranger who’s lied to you guys a few times, and you’re two randos who dragged me into a podcast,” Gomez’s Mabel sneers. “Rando is slang for a person of no importance,” explains Oliver Charles, who replies, “I used contextual cues, but thanks.” When Short, 72, Gomez, 29, asked how she reacted when she learned that If she were to work with him, the former Disney star reportedly replied, “I googled you” — that complete lack of awe is exactly what made their relationship work.

Besties: Martin (left) and Short

(Barbara Nitke/Hulu)

This show isn’t perfect. In fact, it really isn’t great from a narrative perspective and has some hilarious plot holes. Funny thing is, it doesn’t matter. We, the viewers, don’t care because the point of the show isn’t who killed poor old Tim Kono. We’re here to settle into a deep armchair in Oliver’s apartment and watch the repartee between two veteran comedians and the former star of The Wizards from Waverly Place.

Carefully crafted chemistry like this leaves the audience feeling not that we’re watching a story, but rather returning to a group of old friends. It’s a delicious recipe that has won favor over and over again Seinfeld, Sex and the City and, uh, friends. As Oliver says in the first series, “That’s really all we want, isn’t it? More time with the people we love.” Only Murders in the Building: Why Everyone Should Watch the Sublimely Average Steve Martin Series


JOE HERNANDEZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JOE HERNANDEZ joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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