The Jessica Fletchers and Miss Marples of the world are finally getting a randy lesbian equivalent in Paula Pell and John Lutz’s Mapleworth Murders, which premiered on Quibi on Monday.
Pell, the lesbian writer behind some of Saturday Night Live’s most iconic sketches including the cheerleaders, Debbie Downer, Gilly, and the singing married teachers The Culps, stars as mystery writer and small-town mystery solver Mrs. Mapleworth, who trains her perfectly sardonic, social media-addicted niece Heidi (Hayley Magnus) in the art of sussing out a clue. Meanwhile, Lutz (30 Rock) plays the good-hearted but slow-on-the-uptake local cop who’s in love with Mrs. Mapleworth. And she could care less about what he has to offer.
The bite-sized, hilariously silly mysteries are broken up into three episodes each with four mysteries total for the first season, which costars J.B. Smoove and features plenty of familiar names including Patton Oswalt, Nicole Byer, D’arcy Carden, Wanda Sykes, Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell, Jack McBrayer, Andy Samberg, and more.
Regarding playing Mrs. Mapleworth in her bucket hat, bold patterns, and sensible shoes as a desirous lesbian, Pell tells The Advocate, “It just kind of came naturally that our version of this spinster would be gay since I am, so it worked out perfectly.”
“All of us grew up with that one aunt that shared expenses with another friend. They baked together, and you’re like, ‘How long have they shared an apartment, you know, just for safety reasons?’” Pell says. “Forty-eight years. I love those old-timey ladies that are also just queer as hell."
“My hilarious and wonderful fiancée played by handywomanman,” Pell says. “When we do more Mapleworth, I think the handywomanman maybe always needs to be at the house fixing something. And I’m always like, Junie, ‘Come here and unclog my pipe!’”
On the subject of releasing a truly escapist comedy at a time when people could really use it, Lutz says, “It’s silly, it’s fun, and I think if it’s just a break for a short time, it can help [viewers] just laugh a little bit.”
Watch The Advocate's interview with Pell and Lutz below.