Mapleworth Murders

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Mapleworth Murders TV Poster Image
Pleasant, funny murder mystery parody feels dated.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Typically the positive messages in a murder mystery show come through the ingenuity and perseverance of the detective, but Mapleworth Murders is a pretty straightforward parody without even someone to play the role of a foil to Mapleworth's buffoon.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each character in Mapleworth Murders has a certain level of incompetence that's played for comedy. There is a fairly diverse cast.

Violence

Features frequent cartoonish violence -- numerous threats are shouted, multiple people are murdered in increasingly absurd ways, a woman shoots a shotgun at what turns out to be a pumpkin, and someone disarms a man by kicking him in the groin.

 

Sex

About half of the jokes have sexual innuendo, and many of them feature some type of homophobia or misogyny.

Language

Profanity is used frequently and includes "s--t," "jackass," "prick," "a--hole," "goddammit, "twat," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink socially, mostly wine. No drinking or drug use is shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mapleworth Murders is a gentle parody of Murder, She Wrote and other similar murder mysteries which stars Paula Pell and an ensemble of familiar comedians. The show airs on Quibi, which means episodes are only 7 to 9 minutes long. The rapid-fire slapstick humor is along the lines of Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock (or Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker films like Airplane! and The Naked Gun), though the jokes that feature sexual innuendo are often homophobic or sexist. Murders occur every few episodes, but they're played for laughs, as is the other cartoonish violence that appears on the show. Profanity is frequent and includes "s--t," "jackass," "prick," "a--hole," "goddammit, and "twat." Characters drink alcohol, mostly wine.

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What's the story?

MAPLEWORTH MURDERS follows the adventures of Abigail Mapleworth (Paula Pell), an author of murder mysteries who also happens to help police solve murder mysteries in her small hometown, New Woodstream. Aided by her Australian niece, Heidi (Hayley Magnus), Mapleworth tracks down clues and interviews suspects before the actual police department (made up of J. B. Smoove and 30 Rock's John Lutz) can get to them. But every time one town murderer is caught, another takes their place.

Is it any good?

Most of Quibi's early offerings have relied more on star power than quality, and this is no exception. Though it provides a long overdue showcase for former SNL writer Paula Pell, the shows main draw is the cavalcade of comedy world guest stars who come through New Woodstream to get killed or interrogated. Many of these comedians (which include a lot of SNL and 30 Rock favorites) are naturally funny enough to make the dire material at least charming, but satirizing a TV show that peaked 30 years ago doesn't help. That, plus the fact that some of the cheaper punchlines are built around homophobia and sexism, makes Mapleworth Murders feel more antiquated than Jessica Fletcher's typewriter.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about murder mysteries. What are the murder mystery tropes that Mapleworth Murders makes fun of? Have you ever seen Murder, She Wrote? How does Mapleworth Murders parody Murder, She Wrote?

  • How many different detectives appear on Mapleworth Murders? How are they all different from one another? Who do you think is the most effective? How do you think Mapleworth has managed to solve so many murders in this small town?

  • What are some other parodies you're familiar with? What about satire? What's the difference between a parody and a satire?

TV details

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For kids who love parodies

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