Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How Only Murders In The Building Season 3 Nods To A Huge Steve Martin Flop

"Only Murders in the Building" Episode 6 takes the podcasting crew's — mostly Mabel's (Selena Gomez) — investigation back to where it started: the theater. While the "ghost of Gideon" is enough to haunt any theater kid, it's far from the scariest part of the episode, which has to be the return of Steve Martin's iconic French accent. 

After dodging a couple of sandbags, Charles (Martin) and Mabel sit down for a heart-to-heart, primarily discussing why he brought his fish to the theater with him. However, the conversation quickly switches to Mabel's growing relationship with Tobert (Jesse Williams), which clears up Charles' confusion about pronouncing the cameraman's name. "Oh, so you do pronounce the final T. It's not like a French cheese, 'Tobert,'" he says, immediately diving into a fictitious French-accented conversation before Mabel stops him. 

While the exchange may be playful banter between friends, fans of Martin's work will immediately recognize the French accent from the actor's performance as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in "The Pink Panther." Martin portrayed the bumbling inspector with an over-the-top French accent, with critics and audiences not seeing its charm, giving the movie 21% and 51%, respectively, on Rotten Tomatoes. However, without it, we wouldn't have gotten the iconic buying-a-hamburger scene, and if "Only Murders" somehow manages to recreate that, it'll bring Martin's accent full circle. 

Steve Martin made Jacques Clouseau his own

Although Steve Martin's French accent could be distracting — and clearly it was for most critics and audiences — it brings a funny charm to his "Pink Panther" movies, differentiating his version of Inspector Jacques Clouseau from the legendary performance of Peter Sellers.

"It would've been harder to imitate Peter Sellers," Martin said in an interview with Female before the release of "The Pink Panther." "I realized that Peter Sellers knew the character inside and out, and I figured, hmm, he could probably ad-lib all day as that character, and I thought that is the sign to me when I have it is when you can ad-lib all day as the character, and eventually that came. I first worked on the accent, and then I worked on the outfit – the physical I didn't have any problem with at all – and, finally, when I realized, 'Oh, I'm thinking like him now,' I felt very comfortable, and I felt different from the great Peter Sellers."

Martin knew his accent would be a distinct way to separate his performance from Sellers' interpretation of the character, so nailing it was his top priority. In the same interview, he mentioned working with an accent coach who helped him dial in on his over-the-top impression, which now draws more comparisons to Elmer Fudd, who also has difficulties pronouncing R's. While Martin has long since turned in his inspector's badge, "Only Murders in the Building" allowed him to flex his vocal cords, bringing back the iconic French accent he worked so hard to perfect.