How ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 2 bests Season 1

When we last saw our heroes – Mabel (Selena Gomez), Oliver (Martin Short) and Charles (Steve Martin) – they were being taken away by police from the Arconia, their apartment building on the Upper West Side in New York. after Mabel was found covered in blood with the body of CEO Bunny (Jayne Houdyshell). This followed shortly after the trio had solved two murders, an adventure they detailed in Season 1 on the ramshackle podcast the series is named after. In no time at all, they go from tabloid fame to tabloid notoriety — which is good enough for Oliver, who lives for any kind of recognition.

“You were wrong – Oliver Putnam can be arrested in this town,” crows Oliver, a theater director with a mostly negative reputation, from the steps of the police station as the three are conveniently released without charge as persons of interest. “And oh, baby, does that feel wonderful.”

Launching Tuesday on Hulu, it’s in many ways an exemplary second season, giving you more of the same but different, and using all the resources established in the excellent first to create something even more characterful and emotional. With the bond already firmly established between Mabel, Charles and Oliver, they are free to embark on their own subplots. (Brazzos, the police detective Charles played in his relative youth, may have come back from the dead.) The mystery itself feels muddled and somewhat unclear – was it the point of murdering Bunny or framing our heroes? (Evidence keeps turning up in their apartments.) Though the suspects are properly produced, the case also feels less crucial, as does the podcast itself, which the three revive to counter the narrative being that of superstar podcaster Cinda Canning (Tina Fey) is spread. to their “Only Murderers in the Building”, which targets and develops them, such as “Only Murders in the Building”, in “real time”.

Oliver: “She’s stealing our format – we invented this format, right?”

Mabel: “The format where we release a true crime podcast before we even have a story, an ending, or even a crime? Yes, we all are.”

With the exception of Aaron Dominguez’ Oscar, whose notable absence is dismissed in a line of dialogue, all the main characters and many supporting characters find their way back into the new season, some surprisingly. And with the exception of Canning, a pure and simple villainy, they’re made more dimensional. In a flashback episode set on the day of her death, we get a new, more complicated view of Bunny. The slightly annoying Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton), whose cat was poisoned in season 1, is credited with a potential love interest and the ability to yodel; and Theo (James Caverly), the deaf son of Nathan Lane’s tomb-robbing deli king Teddy Dimas, is allowed to do something positive, almost as if to apologize for the terribly sad story that season one has plagued him with.

A wealthy elderly woman in a black and white outfit, sitting with a black and white handbag on her lap

Shirley MacLaine delivers a brilliant, slightly funny cameo in Season 2 of Only Murders in the Building.

(Craig Blankenhorn / Hulu)

In fact, parents and children form an ongoing, comparatively serious issue. (The show is funny enough that it can afford not to be funny all the time.) Lucy (Zoe Colletti), Charles’ virtual stepdaughter from a previous relationship, previously invisible but significant in her absence – he makes daily Omelettes in her honor, but doesn’t make contact until the end of season one – shows up in person; We also get glimpses of his father in flashback scenes, as well as Mabel’s father. In addition to helping out with an elementary school production of The Wizard of Oz, Oliver will have potentially life-changing deals with his son, Will (Ryan Broussard). (We also witness Oliver’s considerable baby-handling skills.) Even the late bunny gets a mother — Shirley MacLaine in a brilliant, quietly funny twist — who knows a thing or two about not just the building’s past, but the by Charles knows . As before, the ancient story plays a role in today’s story, although this time the story is a bit older and includes that of the Arconia itself – not exactly a character but an influence on all the characters in it and whose architectural mysteries contribute to this season’s action.

Also new to the series are Cara Delevingne as the artist who Mabel becomes involved with; Christine Ko as Bunny’s dedicated, pregnant, possibly scheming successor as CEO; Michael Rapaport as the absurdly aggressive detective (the great Da’vine Joy Randolph is back as the likable but perpetually annoyed Det. Williams); and a lazy bird.

And there’s Amy Schumer, as Amy Schumer, who takes on the role of Sting’s self-parodying celebrity and also takes over his apartment. (There’s a neat visual joke you’ll miss, a package being unloaded labeled “Sting’s rain sticks.”) Schumer meets Oliver in the elevator and after she declares herself a fan of his podcast (“So raw, y’all, and don’t worry about bombing, really wastes people’s time”), asks, “Would you ever consider selling me the rights to the podcast so I could make it into an 8-10 episode streaming series with exclusivity could transform internet content that leads to gamification?”

In particular, Only Murders, co-created by Martin and John Hoffman, remains a great, sharply written, perfectly executed comedy. One is grateful for this example of seventy-year-old comic actors working energetically at the top of their game on a successful show that plays to their strengths – Martin’s crisp cutie, Short’s hyperkinetic self-esteem – not just for what it means to show business, but the world at large. Once again, Gomez, dry and deadpan and funny in his own way, is the perfect foil and provides the balance that helps make the show — regardless of the old men’s jokes, including Charles and Oliver, who figured that out the same doctor worked on her knees – Feel Ageless, a series for everyone. Youthfulness knows no demographics. How ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 2 bests Season 1

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