×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Bless This Mess’ With Lake Bell and Dax Shepard

With:
Lake Bell, Dax Shepard, Ed Begley Jr., Pam Grier, JT Neal.

“Like a fish out of water” is as tried and true a premise as a sitcom gets, which means two opposing things. One the one hand, the setup has a proven track record of success. On the other, it gets harder to innovate with every new iteration. “Bless This Mess,” to both its credit and detriment, doesn’t especially try to reinvent this particular wheel.

ABC’s new comedy, co-created by Lake Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether, takes a yuppie New York City couple (Bell and Dax Shepard) and throws them headlong into an ill-advised adventure taking over a farm. Neither has any experience growing their own food, fixing their own house, or generally operating in the world without some serious shortcuts. But one year into their curiously conflict-free marriage, Rio and Mike are determined to make the most of their lives by upending them completely. Rio quits her therapy practice, Mike leaves his writing career behind, and just like that, they’re off to Nebraska to live in marital bliss off the grid. (Or at least, that’s what they hope.)

This being a network comedy pilot, Bell and Meriwether’s script has precious little time to set up what the series is going to look like, and therefore gets to quick work making it all happen as soon as possible. Rio and Mike get to their new crumbling home and meet their off-putting neighbor Rudy (Ed Begley Jr.), the scheming couple (Lennon Parham and David Koechner) trying to buy the farm out from under them, and the local jack of all trades (Pam Grier) within minutes. Mike confronts his fear of conflict; Rio confronts her fear of cows. Bell and Shepard are fun together, but their enthusiasm can’t quite distract from the fact that, for a show about a couple uprooting their livelihoods to move halfway across the country, the stakes here are remarkably low.

As with any comedy, this show may live and die by how quickly the writers and cast can gel into dynamics all their own, and there’s no doubt that they’re game and up for the task. Meriwether moving from the wild single friends antics of “New Girl” to produce a slightly more adult version of the same with “Single Parents” and now “Bless This Mess” is a logical move; as seen in her movie “In a World,” Bell is a sharp writer and director. And in their one brief scene together, Begley and Grier instantly click into an oddball rhythm that almost steals the entire show. If “Bless This Mess” is going to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack, it’d be smart to follow their lead.

“Bless This Mess” premieres Tuesday, April 16 at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

TV Review: 'Bless This Mess' With Lake Bell and Dax Shepard

Production: Executive producers: Lake Bell, Elizabeth Meriwether, Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar, Erin O’Malley, Katherine Pope and Dax Shepard.

Cast: Lake Bell, Dax Shepard, Ed Begley Jr., Pam Grier, JT Neal.

More TV

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Rejects ATA Offer, Seeks Individual Talks With 9 Top Agencies

    The Writers Guild of America has called off negotiations with the Association of Talent Agents in favor of pursuing individual talks with nine top agencies as it enforces a total ban on packaging fees and affiliated production for agents representing guild members. WGA West president David Goodman announced the guild’s decision to reject the ATA’s [...]

  • cap 08 cena 31 - Bastidor

    Globoplay’s ‘Aruanas’ Amazon Rainforest Series Bows in 150 Countries

    Globoplay, the streaming platform of Brazilian media giant Globo, is set to bow one of its most ambitious fictional series to date, “Aruanas” (“Sentinels of Nature”). The new series premieres worldwide July 2 on Vimeo-powered platform araunas.tv in more than 150 countries with subtitles in 11 languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Turkish [...]

  • Spain Mediapro Studio Lola Flores Bioseries

    Spain's The Mediapro Studio Develops Bioseries on Flamenco Matriarch Lola Flores

    Spain’s The Mediapro Studio, the recently-launched content production-distribution giant, has teamed with Argentine-based company Non Stop TV to develop a bioseries on Lola Flores, the Spanish flamenco matriarch. The project is backed by The Flores Family, with Lolita and Rosario Flores, Lola Flores daughters, attached as executive producers, alongside Mariola Orellana. More Reviews Concert Review: [...]

  • Mark-Paul GosselaarFOX 'The Passage' TV show

    'Mixed-ish' at ABC Adds Mark-Paul Gosselaar in Recasting

    Mark-Paul Gosselaar has boarded the upcoming ABC comedy “Mixed-ish.” “Mixed-ish,” a spinoff of “Black-ish,” focuses on the experience of Tracee Ellis Ross’s character, Rainbow Johnson, growing up in a mixed-race family in the ‘80s. Gosselaar will play the role of Bow’s father, taking over from Anders Holm, who played the role in the original pilot. [...]

  • Greg Berlanti

    Greg Berlanti on Why Movies Are Lagging Behind TV in LGBTQ Representation

    Greg Berlanti is television’s most prolific producer. With a record-breaking 18 series from his production company greenlit for the 2019-2020 season, the openly gay Berlanti is using his power to ensure the LGBTQ community is reflected on the small screen — both in front of and behind the camera. More Reviews Concert Review: Billie Eilish [...]

  • Legion

    How Production Designer Marco Niro Created a Visual Climax for FX's ‘Legion’

    FX’s “Legion” has always drawn inspiration not only from the Marvel “X-Men” comics on which it is based, but also from the weirder corners of pop culture. When creator Noah Hawley cast “Downton Abbey” star Dan Stevens as the lead — David Haller, a mutant whose telepathic powers have been misdiagnosed as mental illness — [...]

  • DEAR WHITE PEOPLE

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Sets 'Dear White People' Season 3 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV roundup, “Dear White People” sets an August 2 premiere and Showtime acquires the six-episode comedy series “Back to Life.” DATES More Reviews Concert Review: Billie Eilish Mesmerizes New York Audience on a Suitably Spooky Night Shanghai Film Review: 'Shyrakshy: Guardian of the Light' “Dear White People” will return for its third season [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content