It’s official: the Arconiacs are BACK! Our favorite trio (sorry, Chevy Chase) is cute as ever in the latest season, but we’re not here for that; let’s take a look at the reason we’ve been gaga about the second and upcoming third seasons: Season 1.
For anyone who’s not familiar, Only Murders in the Building (OMITB) is an original series from Hulu that debuted in late August of 2021, and its second season began on June 28th this year. If you think that was soon, you’re correct. No one could wait for this comedic mystery to come back, including the show’s stars/showrunners.
OMITB was created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman and stars Steve Martin, Martin (Marty) Short and Selena Gomez, all of whom serve as executive producers on the show. The boys had never previously worked with Selena which, essentially, meant that they nor I knew anything about her. The Martins and I now know that Selena is a remarkable artist and performer, but my knowledge of media essentially stops around the year 2000. I am the world’s oldest 21-year-old, with an undying admiration for Marty and a massive crush on Steve (which makes me a “Haden Maiden,” according to the superfans in S1E8). Have you seen him in the ’70s with the funky ties, doing stand-up for dogs? Swoon.
I started watching the show because of the two male stars I already knew and loved, but I ended up becoming a Selenator in a matter of weeks.
The Steve/Marty duo is the bread and butter of this show, and Selena is the sugar on top. (Ever had sugar on buttered bread? Good stuff.) We didn’t know we needed this combo until we got it, and now we’re all hooked. The Martins already have established their cuteness in plenty of media and Hollywood in general, but Selena has become their loving and lovable niece-type-person who has to navigate them through modern lingo. We love what we see of the real-life trio, but we shan’t forget the fictional trio that they brought to life.
Steve plays Charles-Haden Savage, a grumpy actor with no self-esteem, except for his pride in his 1990s series, Brazzos; Marty is Oliver Putnam, an impish Broadway director who, despite his many failures, thinks he’s God’s gift to humanity; and Selena portrays Mabel Mora, a stylish young artist filled with trauma and sass.
This motley crew came together after the death – the murder – of Tim Kono, a fellow resident of the Arconia and Mabel’s childhood friend. The three had a shared passion for true-crime podcasts – particularly those of their podcast hero, Cinda Canning – and this felt like a perfect opportunity to make their own with the schtick that they would investigate an ongoing case…which has gotten all of them into dangerous trouble.
But even amongst the ever-lurking shadow of death, OliMabel (with the silent “Charles”) is possibly the most adorable (friend)ship this century has seen. The three of them carry a bromance almost as cute as the original Three’s Company roommates, which means just about everything, coming from a retro nut like me.
Before I go any further, I should define “bromance” for the purposes of this conversation. Most importantly, it has nothing to do with gender; if two people are friends, then they’re “bros.” In this case, a bromance is simply an adorable friendship.
Now then, without further ado, I give you the seven most precious BFF moments from the first season:
“Aloha, Mabel!” – Episode 3
Charles had to relay an important message to Mabel, but he didn’t want to call her since, according to Oliver, “Calls bother them,” referring to us kids these days. It took him a little while to come up with the perfect greeting, which he proudly presented to Oliver offscreen, and we got to see Mabel chuckling at Charles’s terrible texting skills.
“…But the world needs Oliver Putnams.” – Episode 3
Sure, this inspirational speech from Charles might be rusty at best and insulting at worst, but he genuinely wanted Oliver to feel better about his Splash! failure that led to his falling out with his son. After all, Charles knows what it feels like to “lose a lot with one big mistake.”
“Did you ask out Sexy Bassoonist?” – Episode 4
By now we all know that “Sexy Bassoonist” is, of course, Jan. Before anyone knew that Jan was a murderer/dog-poisoner/Charles-poisoner, we all thought she was cute, including Mabel. She and Oliver went to Charles’s apartment to share some new intel when Charles had to cut them off to tell them he had a date. That was Mabel’s enthusiastic response, including a little joke about wanting to approve their date plans. Adorable.
“‘Saggy Bottom Balls’ is what she called me…” – Episode 5
As I stated before, Steve and Marty have been friends and performing partners for decades, and they clearly have a hard time resisting each other’s charms and hilarities on set, whatever set that may be. The “Saggy Bottom Balls” song performed by Oliver and Charles was clearly off the cuff, and it’s awesome. Not only does it have that Steve-and-Marty perfection, but it’s one of the first times their characters actually make each other laugh without any snide remarks. It’s really cute, and it shows that they can have fun together.
“Don’t do TikTok.” – Episode 6
Tim Kono died at the Arconia, the three misfits started a podcast about it…and Mabel’s mother was not happy. Although she quickly changed her mind when she saw how important this was to Mabel, she backed off, but Mabel had to bid farewell to her friends first. [Sheds a tear.] After giving the old guys a bit of advice regarding social media, Charles stated, “It’s been the most alive I’ve felt in a decade,” and Oliver agreed with a melancholy smile. Of course, they ended up spending very little time apart, but it was enough time for my heart to rip in half.
“This ends now, Jan.” – Episode 10
This was easily one of the best scenes of the first season regarding badassery, emotion and comedy. Charles finally stood up – literally, because he was filled with poison – to Jan and offered to give his life as long as she would let his friends live, because they had made his life full again. Now, if you remember, this speech turned out to be a blubbering mess of gibberish because he couldn’t talk, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.
“Are you asking me to be your bestie?” – Episode 10
This was Oliver’s response to Charles’s half-hearted, tipsy declaration that he didn’t totally hate hanging out with Oliver. Charles wasn’t thrilled or even remotely impressed…but he didn’t deny it, either.
I find it genuinely fascinating that these three are so cute together. After all, they met through a podcast, but they connected through loss. Their relationship is built on tragedy and loneliness. But I suppose that’s what makes them so special. They need each other. Charles, Mabel and Oliver needed families, and they were able to build a little one themselves. A family of two crazy, socially inept brothers and their eye-rolling niece. They’re a mess, but let’s not forget that the woman who brought them together advised them to, indeed, “embrace the mess.”
With Season 2 officially at a close, we now have the mess of Season 3 to look forward to in the future. But until then, feel free to rewatch and relive the bromance of the Arconia with the first two seasons of Only Murders in the Building on Hulu. Believe me…you won’t want to miss a single piece of the puzzle.