×
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

  • "We Turn Up This Music Louder

    TV Review: 'The Red Line'

    For all that broadcast TV’s power has attenuated in recent years, what they choose to put on still means something — and, from a certain point of view, something more than the choices made by prestige outlets. After all, the reach of broadcasters is without parallel. They’re simply in that many more homes than prestige [...]

  • Grey's Anatomy Season 15

    Broadcast Bubble Shows 2019: What's Coming Back, What’s Not

    While many broadcast shows have already been picked up for next season, plenty of favorites are still waiting to learn their fates. Given that the broadcasters are currently evaluating this year’s crop of comedy and drama pilots, some current shows will unfortunately have to shuffle off to that great network in the sky, where they [...]

  • Elizabeth Olsen Wanda Vision

    Elizabeth Olsen Says Disney+ Series 'WandaVision' Is Set in 1950s

    “Avengers: Endgame” star Elizabeth Olsen tells Variety that “WandaVision,” the forthcoming Disney+ series about her superhero character, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, will be set in the 1950s. “There’s quite a few other comic books that we’re pulling from and it’s going to be Wanda and the Vision, and I think at the Disney+ launch chat, they [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS Chiefs: Former Exec's Claim Network 'Has a White Problem' Is 'Disheartening,' 'Painful'

    Susan Zirinsky, president of CBS News, and Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, sent emails to staff Tuesday expressing concern over claims made in an essay published in Variety in which CBS veteran Whitney Davis detailed racist discrimination and sexual harassment she witnessed and was subjected to at the network. In response, Zirinsky said Davis’ [...]

  • BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series

    BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series for ITV

    ITV has greenlit a BBC Studios-produced series about Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. “Inside the Duchy” (working title) will follow the Prince of Wales over two one-hour episodes to mark his 50th year as the holder of the title of Duke of Cornwall. The producers said the series will give an unprecedented [...]

  • Catch-22 Episode 101

    TV News Roundup: Hulu Releases Trailer for George Clooney's 'Catch-22' (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, Hulu releases the official trailer for George Clooney’s “Catch-22,” and Disney Channel announces its “Andi Mack” series will end after season 3. DATES More Reviews London Theater Review: 'All My Sons' With Sally Field, Bill Pullman TV Review: 'The Red Line' Gabriel Iglesias will star as a high school history teacher in the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Scandal: 'Empire' Cast Inks Letter Supporting Actor

    “Empire” stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard are appealing to Fox for their embattled co-star Jussie Smollett to return for the show’s sixth season. Henson, Howard, and the rest of the drama series’ top cast, penned an April 19 letter to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chair Dana [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content