The fictional Arconia that sits at the center of all of Hulu’s chaos Only murders in the building, is home to some… very interesting characters. You’ve got your usual nosy neighbors, your power-hungry HOA board members, and of course, the talkative bouncer.
Alongside the lead trio of Charles Hayden-Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), these characters not only prove to be valuable entertainment, they also make the most perfect murder suspects any crime-satisfactory show could ask for . Seriously, can we get a Clue-style board game? only murders with all these lovely characters? I for one would play.
In the first two seasons – the season 2 finale is streaming now – a certain character transcended the nosy neighbor trope and became a true MVP of only murders. I’m talking, of course, about Howard, the ever-popular sweater-wearing, cat-loving yodel, perfectly played by Michael Cyril Creighton.
Audiences may have been initially surprised by Howard’s penchant for grooming his deceased cats, or the fact that he named them all Evelyn. (That is, all but his first cat Barbara — she was a slut — and his newest cat, who is named Sevelyn because she’s the seventh Evelyn. Yes, really.) But ultimately, it was those hysterical quirks that really set him apart Ensemble.
“I made some bold decisions from the start,” Creighton tells The Daily Beast’s Obsessed. “It’s not always written about him having these extreme emotional changes, but that just seems right for him for some reason. I just feel like he’s someone who really wants to connect with people.”
Bonding is at the heart of Howard’s story this season, which unfolds in a beautiful love story with his choirboy neighbor Jonathan (Jason Veasey). This delightful little break from the show’s murderous chaos may have surprised viewers, and it surprised Creighton, too. “I knew something was going to happen during the power outage that I would connect to someone, but I didn’t really know what that connection would be,” says Creighton.
A romance of this caliber for a character he plays is something Creighton has wanted for a long time. “During the first season, I mentioned that [co-creator] John Hoffman casually that I never really got a chance to have a romantic relationship on screen. Or, if so, was it either someone playing my husband I didn’t have scenes with or someone playing my husband I killed. Or someone I had an unrequited crush on,” he says, laughing.
When Creighton got the script for the eighth episode of the season and saw Howard needed to have that sweet candlelight moment with Jonathan during a citywide blackout, he was like clockwork. “It feels like a gift to have such a beautiful little love story written into a series about murder [laughs] and to have that story written for my character.”
Through this scene, the audience and Creighton learned more about Howard, particularly how he flirts. As it turns out, this is also a bit unconventional: they yodel! To be fair, Creighton knew his yodel would always debut this season, but he was unaware that it would be his “secret flirting weapon.”
“Before we started this season, John Hoffman called me and said, ‘Crazy question. Do you think you have a yodel in you?’” Creighton recalls. “And I would never say no to him. So I just said, “Yeah, absolutely” and immediately started Googling how to yodel. I learned a very, very simple yodel.”
While the yodeling scene was obviously amusing, it also turned out to be a really great moment that emphasized the camaraderie of the building as everyone across Arconia started singing along to Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence”. For Creighton, it also highlighted some of the best parts of life in New York. “It’s such a New York moment and it happens,” he says.
“When I met my husband, I was allergic to cats. I didn’t know but the first time I went to his apartment he made me dinner and I blew out like the worst hives ever.”
Unfortunately, Howard’s date night takes a bit of a turn at the end of the yodel when Jonathan suddenly starts sneezing and reveals he’s allergic to – you guessed it – cats. What a blow to our beloved Howard and Sevelyn! Ironically, this very story played out in Creighton’s real life. “I don’t think I ever mentioned that to John [Hoffman], but when I met my husband I was allergic to cats. I didn’t know but the first time I went to his apartment he made me dinner and I blew out like the worst hives ever. And that was because he had a cat,” he recalls.
Creighton took some Benadryl and eventually adjusted to the cat, but his cat-loving character was willing to take much more extreme measures for Jonathan, including offering to send Sevelyn to a friend’s house. Luckily Jonathan missed that. And for the record, Creighton would never give away a pet for a significant other. “No way. And I don’t think Howard would.”
The two lovebirds finally got their allergy issues sorted out because we got to see them together again in the finale at the killer reveal party. (Warning: Spoilers for the season 2 finale Only murders in the building ahead!).
Before I unpacked the details of that glorious scene with Creighton, I had to talk to him about the elevator fight between Teddy Dimas (Nathan Lane) and Oliver, which Howard was unfortunate to get sucked into in the penultimate episode. “Oh my god, that was one of the best days of my life,” says Creighton.
“[Lane and Short] are such great friends. It was just amazing listening to them talk and tell stories all day long. They also gave their all in this fight,” he says. “That was really fun. It fit the bill for the day I got to spend time with Shirley MacLaine.”
only murders is a show packed with comedy legends, but MacLaine’s guest appearance is a highlight that Creighton still raves about. “I was lucky enough to have dinner with her before we started filming. It got me a lot of nerves that way and I heard all these wonderful old Hollywood stories from her career,” he says. “[It was] the greatest gift in my life. I mean I couldn’t think of a better meal in my life.”
MacLaine’s character was actually the focus of the murder this season, as she was revealed to be the mysteriously missing painter Rose Cooper, whose expensive artwork is a major cause of Bunny Folger’s (Jayne Houdyshell) death. All of this comes to light during the killer reveal party, which is both a killer reveal party and just a killer party in general. This entire scene, which Creighton says was shot over four days, perfectly sums up just how impressive the humor and creativity are Murders Only–especially when Charles Hayden-Savage starts going into slow motion and cuts a tomato as a scare tactic to get podcaster Cinda Canning (Tina Fey) to confess to murdering Bunny.
“Steve and Marty, who did the slow motion thing and the tomato thing, they were hysterical every time,” says Creighton. “And then watching Tina’s reaction to the tomato thing, which was another day.”
By the end of the entire sequence, we learn that all of these intimidation tactics and the misdirection of blaming Alice (Cara Delevingne) for the murder were just a ploy to get Canning’s assistant, Poppy – aka Becky – to reveal that she the mastermind behind it was Bunny’s murder. The reveal is capped off with a wonderfully comedic swoon from Howard.
Creighton wants everyone to know that he caused all of his own faints, but he clarifies which faints were real for Howard and which his role was “acting.” “It’s such an extreme fall. There was no need to hit the lamp and fall at the same time,” Creighton says, laughing. “I would say that’s probably where he played. And I think whoever he sees the blood on for the first time is probably the real one.”
As with last season’s finale, the big mystery reveal for next season took place in the final moments of the episode. However, unlike last time, there was a time jump of a year and the murder doesn’t happen in the building. (Big gasp, I know!) On the opening night of Oliver’s brand new Broadway production, lead actor Ben (Paul Rudd) collapses dead on stage just moments after the curtain has gone up.
Howard is sitting right behind Oliver at this fateful moment, so we know this favorite Arconian of ours will be in next season, but Creighton doesn’t know anything about the plot just yet. At least that’s what he says! All I ask is that Howard is never the killer or the killed, he’s too much of a beloved comedic element of the show and far too valuable for that! But with a show like only murdersis anyone ever really sure?
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https://www.thedailybeast.com/obsessed/only-murders-in-the-building-star-michael-cyril-creighton-on-his-blackout-episode-romance?source=articles&via=rss ‘Only Murders in the Building’ star Michael Cyril Creighton on his romance in the Blackout episode