Only Murders in the Building director Cherien Dabis discusses her Emmy-nominated episode, The Boy from 6B.
Only Murders in the Building season 1 has received 17 Emmy nominations, a significant win for the Hulu original series. Among the nominations, two of the directors are even contending in the category of Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, with Jamie Babbit nominated for her work on an episode titled True Crime and Cherien Dabis nominated for The Boy from 6B.
The Boy from 6B is unquestionably the shows’ finest episode, since it represents a significant artistic shift from the remainder of the first season. The episode is almost dead silent and follows the narrative of the deaf Theo Dimas. Much of the plot is delivered in American sign language with subtitles, providing an interesting shift of pace near the finale of the season.
Dabis spoke with Screen Rant about the episode’s different challenges and mentioned that she spent a significant amount of time and effort working with the writers and showrunner to ensure that the narrative doesn’t seem tacky.
“More went into preparing it, more went into working with the writers and showrunner to make sure that the story never felt gimmicky and that it was always grounded and earned. That the silence, especially on the part of the hearing characters, was always earned. Yeah, there was kind of a lot more thought and research and preparation that went into it. One of the first things I wanted to do was kind of educate myself on ways in which the deaf community had been portrayed and represented in a way that they were happy with, and then ways in which they were misrepresented, and representations that they were unhappy with.”
Dabis collaborated closely with James Caverly from the beginning of the project. They discussed how the community wanted to be portrayed, as well as the flaws of lip-reading, which is a difficult skill to master.
Only Murders in the Building season 2 finale will air on Hulu on August 23.