By Kalila Smith, Film & Tv Investigations Editor
Season 2 of Only Murders in the Building is bolder and more boisterous than before as we ask the all-important question: Who killed Bunny Folger? John Hoffman and Steve Martin remain faithful to their farcical, larger-than-life plot lines whilst casually inviting half of Hollywood to join this season.
Hollywood legend Shirley MacLaine is Bunny’s brazen mother, Jane Lynch literally scoots onto the scene as Steve Martin’s quick-witted stunt double, Cara Delevingne becomes Selena Gomez’s love interest, and Amy Schumer features as, well, Amy Schumer. The series, once again, successfully manifests the glitz and glam that comes with showbiz.
An overwhelming element in season two is how increasingly meta it has become, allowing the series to criticise the realities of being in the entertainment industry whilst still holding true to the flamboyant yet ostentatious façade of the industry.
Martin Short spearheads the latter with his character, Oliver Putnam: a rambling, quixotic but lovable director who is a borderline compulsive liar. This season, Short perfects his comical sound effects after moments of revelation or sheer carnage, as well as his brief rendition of a slightly overdone Irish accent.
Both Short and Martin, who plays Charles-Haden Savage, provide a refreshing take on the struggles of fatherhood, normalising men having emotional conflict and a paternalistic instinct. Meanwhile, Mabel (Selena Gomez) remains the voice of reason in the trio.
Mabel’s arch this season presents an interesting message for trauma and recovery as we discover she has selective amnesia. When times are at their lowest, Mabel must reface her trauma to heal and remember.
Concurrently, Short and Martin remain two squabbling and intensely unhinged men who exhaustingly reminisce over the good ol’ days.
The reminiscing, however, serves a bigger purpose as the inter-generational conflict is thematically brought to the forefront this season. The amalgamation of Hollywood and social media has left elder generations feeling out of touch with the industry as it becomes almost unrecognisable for them.
The podcast’s fans abruptly show up in scenes, a rumination of the intrusive nature of social media, and Charles struggles to understand his daughter’s Gen Z language - “It’s like I’m [Charles] watching Squid Game with no subtitles!” Even the gentrification of New York left elder characters like Bunny feeling misplaced and unwanted in the city.
However, this exploration of cultural differences through age allows the series to provide a range of humour types, from Dad jokes to self-deprecation, making it truly a series for everyone.
Personally, the accolade for best comedic character goes to Howard Morris (Michael Cyril Creighton) – the cat-loving, yodelling busybody of the Arconia apartments.
The finale entails Oliver hosting a murder mystery game in hopes of revealing Bunny’s murderer, involving residents of the building as actors in the game. This frame story unexpectedly becomes an outlet for Howard to demonstrate his very unrefined potential for Hollywood. Although, he went a little too method and certainly stole the show.
Whenever Howard features, with his cut-throat comments and mousy but melodramatic nature, however, he deserves every ounce of the limelight he gets.
Only Murders in the Building’s second season increases the momentum and stays true to its meta commitment from the first season. Though it is becoming an increasingly unpredictable series with a glitter bomb helping solve Bunny’s murder – it could not get more Hollywood than that.
The series also paves the way for a more progressive Hollywood with a cast of different sizes, races, sexuality, age, and ability. With Paul Rudd joining Season 3, I recommend all to watch one of the most self-aware shows kicking around on Disney+.
Featured Image: IMDB
What did you think of season two of Only Murders in the Building?