You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Listen: Lake Bell, Dax Shepard on Returning to Broadcast TV With ‘Bless This Mess’

Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s installment, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, chats with Lake Bell and Dax Shepard, stars of ABC’s “Bless This Mess,” which debuted on Monday.

The show centers around a newly married couple, played by Bell and Shepard, who decide to ditch their shoebox New York City apartment for the plains of Nebraska.

Bell, who co-created the show with Elizabeth Meriwether, says the concept for “Bless This Mess” came from being a newlywed herself.

“The idea was wholly from Liz Meriwether and I sitting on a couch and hashing through our own marital shenanigans and foibles,” Bell says. “We’re relatively newly married, and we had a lot of camaraderie with that and we wanted to talk about the relationship of a couple in their first year in marriage and the parts that you play.”

The two main characters have become “sick and tired of the concrete life,” and so decide to fulfill their fantasies of the “rural, pastoral experience” by moving to the alfalfa farm that was left to Bell’s character by her aunt.

However, perhaps not surprisingly, the environment they move into is not the backward, tranquil setting they were expecting.

“The core of it is that you’re coming into this story and you’re very much rooting for these guys, but it is really the community that looks at them like they are strange, because we are strange creatures and new age Ashwagandha drinkers,” Bell says.

The show originally had a pilot at 20th Century Fox TV, before Fox decided to pass on it. However, Bell insists the move over to ABC has been a “seamless transition.”

Shepard, who starred in the NBC drama “Parenthood” for five years, adds that returning to a broadcast show at this stage of his career does provide a slight risk because comedy shows have “left the cinema, but have not found a home on TV.”

He says that while many dramas have been critically acclaimed and successful on TV, comedies have yet to be recognized in the same way.

“It’s a joke when you look at the screeners that come to the house for awards season, versus the amount of television I saw that year that was outstanding, truly outstanding,” Shepard says. “I can list you over a 140 hours of some of the best content I’ve ever seen in my whole life, so that would equal 70 movies that would have been great last year. I’ve got bad news, there were not 70 great movies last year, I’m not sure there were seven, so any notion of there being some kind of prestige factor over movies and TV, I just think that’s a pretty shattered paradigm that’s about 10 years old.”

For Bell, the show will be a success if by the end, it’s still something that she is “truly proud of.”

Later in the show, critics Daniel D’Addario and Caroline Framke will discuss Hulu’s new comedy “Ramy,” and Netflix drama “Chambers.” Finally, TV reporter Joe Otterson will give an update on developments in this year’s pilot season.

More TV

  • Humans

    'Humans' Canceled After Three Seasons at AMC, Channel 4

    ‘Humans’ is no more. Writer and executive producer Sam Vincent announced the news on Twitter that the show, which aired on AMC and the U.K.’s Channel 4, would not be returning for a fourth season. “In this age of unprecedented choice and competition, we can have no complaints,” he wrote, adding that he and fellow [...]

  • Marta Fernandez Starz

    Starz Executive VP of Programming Marta Fernandez to Step Down

    Marta Fernandez is exiting her role as executive vice president of original programming at Starz, Variety has learned. Fernandez was elevated to her current role in December. She first joined Starz in 2007 and has shepherded shows such as “Spartacus,” “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” “Black Sails” and “Da Vinci’s Demons.” Her current roster of shows includes [...]

  • Academy of Country Music CEO Pete

    Academy of Country Music CEO Pete Fisher Exits; RAC Clark Named Interim Chief

    The CEO of the Academy of Country Music, Pete Fisher, has exited after two and a half years at the helm of the organization behind the annual ACM Awards. RAC Clark, the executive producer of the CBS broadcast, has been named interim executive director, effective immediately. No reason was given for the change at the [...]

  • Sony Interactive Launches Film, TV Studio

    Sony Interactive Launches Film, TV Studio to Adapt Video Game Projects

    Sony Interactive recently launched PlayStation Productions, a studio tasked with adapting the company’s video game properties into films and television shows, according to The Hollywood Reporter. PlayStation Productions is headed by Asad Qizilbash and overseen by SIE chairman of Worldwide Studios Shawn Layden. It’s reportedly already working on its first slate of projects on the [...]

  • Game of Thrones Finale

    'Game of Thrones' Cast Thanks Fans in Emotional Farewell Video

    And now their watch (and ours) has ended. After eight years and eight seasons, “Game of Thrones” came to a close on Sunday night. The series finale certainly split diehard fans who have been invested in the journeys of their favorite characters, but it will be hard to replace HBO’s beloved fantasy series. In honor [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Series Finale Sets

    'Game of Thrones' Finale Sets New Series High With Staggering 19.3 Million Viewers

    The “Game of Thrones” series finale ratings are here and they are — as you’d expect — staggering. Across HBO, HBO Go, and HBO NOW, the conclusion of the megahit fantasy series drew 19.3 million viewers, overtaking the previous series high of 18.4 million viewers that was set just last week. In addition, 13.6 million [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content