Can We Put a Pin in ‘SNL’ Stars Parodying True-Crime Podcasts?

First ‘Only Murders in the Building’ now ‘Bodkin’
Can We Put a Pin in ‘SNL’ Stars Parodying True-Crime Podcasts?

One of the best shows on TV right now (and by TV, I mean the internet) is the Netflix series Bodkin starring MacGruber himself, Will Forte. The former Saturday Night Live cast member plays a true-crime podcaster who travels to a remote town in Ireland to investigate a cold case involving three mysterious disappearances. And since it was produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, presumably a substantial subsection of viewers will pore over every detail of Bodkin looking for clues connecting it to the Deep State.

Hopefully we get more seasons of Bodkin, but after that — and Amy Poehler’s satirical true-crime podcast — can we please take a break from TV shows starring former SNL stars as true-crime podcasters?

Obviously a lot of reviewers have been comparing Bodkin to Only Murders in the Building, which similarly stars Steve Martin and Martin Short as podcasters investigating several grisly deaths. (Selena Gomez rounds out the trio, presumably because Martin and Short still kind of hate Chevy Chase.) But again, before we get a new Max show where Pete Davidson parades around a crime scene mumbling into a Blue Yeti mic, can this be the end of the trend?

At this point does Only Murders in the Building even need the podcasting angle? Couldn’t it just be about three friends who solve mysteries from here on out? The podcast was an interesting setup for the show in the beginning, but at this point, it kind of feels like an afterthought. Season Three was more about the production of a Broadway musical than a true-crime podcast.

And the podcast within the show never really made all that much sense; sometimes the characters are randomly yelling scraps of narration into an iPhone, other times they’re reciting carefully worded scripts into a microphone. And who’s editing these podcasts? How do they go online so quickly? Do the characters hire someone to compose music? Do they ever have to do ad reads?

Even apart from the SNL cast, this premise seems pretty played out. Last year we got Based on a True Story, starring Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina, about a married couple that starts a podcast while tracking a serial killer. And in 2022, there was B.J. Novak’s movie Vengeance, about a big city podcaster who gets dragged into a rural Texas murder mystery.  

While some of these shows examine the ethical issues surrounding true crime-based entertainment better than others, Saturday Night Live itself did a good job of tackling the ickiness of our homicide-obsessed culture months before Only Murders in the Building premiered. In February 2021, the song “Murder Show” found Chloe Fineman, Ego Nwodim, Kate McKinnon and Melissa Villaseñor crooning about the horrific shows and podcasts they ingest while doing their taxes and pooping.

But then again, Bodkin is very enjoyable — even if it is a government psyop.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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