×
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

  • Chile TV: A Fast Emerging International

    ‘Chile TV: A Fast Emerging International Force

    PAMPLONA, Spain  —  In an early and memorable dramatic beat in “Invisible Heroes,” a Original Series of Finnish broadcaster YLE, in partnership with Chilean network Chilevision, the former head of international trade under Chile’s Salvador Allende clambers over the garden wall of the chalet of a Finnish diplomat to seek asylum after Augusto Pinochet’s bloody  [...]

  • El gol mas triste

    Chile TV: Drama Series in the Pipeline

    PAMPLONA, Spain   — Conecta Fiction will see  producers bring the strongest lineup of Chilean drama series in history. Following, just some of the highlights of projects which will be presented or are moving forward in Chile: ‘AZTEC GANGSTA WARRIOR’ More Reviews Off Broadway Review: 'A Strange Loop' TV Review: 2019 MTV Movie and TV [...]

  • El Acantilado 9 de abril

    Conecta Fiction: ‘The Cliff,’ ‘Spring,’ ‘Yellow Bird’ Feature at 2019 Pitch CoPro Series

    PAMPLONA. Spain  —  Chile’s “The Cliff,” Argentina’s “In Search of Spring” and Spain’s “The Yellow Bird” feature in a 10-title lineup of drama series projects at the 3rd Pitch CoPro Series, the industry centerpiece of Conecta Fiction, the world’s foremost Europe-Latin American TV co-production and networking forum. “Strong on genre and historical dramas,” observed Conecta [...]

  • Jorge-Franco-and-Adrian-Suar

    Pol-ka Expands Outside Argentina, Optioning ‘El Cielo a Tiros’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    PAMPLONA, Spain  —  Taking a new expansive step as an international content player, top Argentine production house Pol-ka, has optioned small-screen rights to “El cielo a tiros,” the latest novel from “Rosario Tijeras” author, Colombian novelist Jorge Franco. Pacted via Scenic Rights, the deal sees Pol-ka planning to shoot a drama series based on the [...]

  • Pamplona Los Japon.

    Navarre: Recent Film, TV Shoots

    Navarre’s 35% tax credit has mainly lured a large list of national feature productions since its launch in 2015. Further international film and TV projects partially shot there, accessing Spain’s 20% tax deductions; other benefited from R&D incentives for Navarre-based animation and post-production companies. Here are some recent highlights: TITLE – YEAR OF PRODUCTION – [...]

  • Gallipienzo-El-Hombre-que-mató-a-Don-Quijote

    3rd Conecta Fiction Raises Navarre's Industrial Profile

    Raising Navarre’s profile as a meeting point for the European and Latin American audiovisual industry, its capital, Pamplona, hosts over June 17-20 the third edition of Conecta Fiction, the Europe-America TV series co-production and networking event. After celebrating its first two editions in Galicia’s Santiago de Compostela, Conecta moves to Baluarte, the Congress Center and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content