Bless This Mess (TV series)

Bless This Mess is an American sitcom television series created by Lake Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether for ABC. Originally intended to be produced as a potential series prospect for Fox after it had ordered a pilot, the half-hour program was picked up by ABC, which added it to its 2018–19 television schedule lineup where it debuted on April 16, 2019 as a Tuesday night entry. It stars Dax Shepard, Bell, JT Neal, Pam Grier, and Ed Begley Jr. In May 2019, ABC renewed the series for a second season which premiered on September 24, 2019.[1][2]

Bless This Mess
GenreSitcom
Created by
Starring
Composer(s)Ben Decter
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes15 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Dax Shepard
  • Erin O'Malley
  • Jake Kasdan
  • Melvin Mar
  • Katherine Pope
  • Elizabeth Meriwether
  • Lake Bell
Cinematography
  • Blake McClure
  • Jason Oldak
  • Kevin Atkinson
Editor(s)
  • Ruthie Aslan
  • Tony Orcena
  • Al LeVine
  • Jamie Kennedy
  • Arge O'Neal
  • Elizabeth Praino
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor20th Television
Release
Original networkABC
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseApril 16, 2019 (2019-04-16) 
present (present)
External links
Official website

Premise

Young couple Mike and Rio leave their home in New York to move to a farm in Bucksnort, Nebraska that Mike inherited from his great-aunt, only to find it badly neglected and occupied by a senile old man named Rudy Longfellow. They decide to try and restore it, while trying to adapt to a strange new place full of new people, some of whom are more welcoming than others.

Cast

Main

  • Dax Shepard[3] as Mike Levine-Young,[4] a former music journalist from New York and Rio's husband who moves to Nebraska with Rio when his great-aunt Maggie leaves him a farmhouse.
  • Lake Bell[3] as Rio Levine-Young,[4] a former therapist from New York and Mike's wife who moves to Nebraska with him.
  • JT Neal as Jacob Bowman,[4] Mike and Rio's neighbors' son.
  • Pam Grier as Constance Terry,[4] the owner of her own store, called "Connie's", and the local sheriff.
  • Ed Begley Jr. as Rudolph "Rudy" Longfellow,[4] Maggie's former neighbor who now lives in her barn.
  • David Koechner as Beau Bowman (season 2, recurring season 1), Jacob's father and a local rancher who pressures Mike to sell him the farmhouse.
  • Lennon Parham as Kay Bowman (season 2, recurring season 1), Jacob's mother and Beau's wife.
  • Langston Kerman as Brandon Terry (season 2), Constance's son.

Recurring

  • Susie Essman as Donna, Rio's mother.
  • Jim O'Heir as Kent, the town veterinarian.
  • Nancy Lenehan as Deb, Kent's wife and a postal carrier.
  • Lisa Linke as Clara, a friend of Rio's.

Episodes

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
16April 16, 2019 (2019-04-16)May 21, 2019 (2019-05-21)
29[5]September 24, 2019 (2019-09-24)TBA

Season 1 (2019)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title[5]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date[5]Prod.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot"Lake BellLake Bell & Elizabeth MeriwetherApril 16, 2019 (2019-04-16)1LBB014.72[6]
Mike and Rio leave New York when he inherits his great-aunt's farm, but it is not what they expected. Their neighbors, the Bowmans, offer to buy the farm, claiming it is no longer productive, but Mike refuses. Rio tries to help Rudy, a widower, cope with his feelings for Constance, the local hardware store owner. With a storm approaching, Rio becomes discouraged by Mike's lack of progress on renovating the ruined farmhouse, tries to convince him to accept the Bowmans' offer, and they have their first fight. Constance, who is also the town sheriff, confronts Mike and tells him to be honest with Rio. Caught in the storm, Mike admits that he left New York not by choice, but because he was laid off, and that he feels guilty for lying to Rio. She forgives him, and Constance rescues them the next morning, while also bringing neighbors to fix up their house. Mistaking a weed for an alfalfa plant, the couple's faith in their farm is restored.
22"The Chicken and the Goat"Kevin BrayJustin NowellApril 23, 2019 (2019-04-23)1LBB023.58[7]
Mike's single-minded focus on restoring the farm's soil puts a crimp in his relationship with Rio, so they decide to have a date night. A supportive Constance makes Kay invite the couple to her potluck and helps Rio make an icebox cake so she'll have something to bring. Beau smugly informs Mike that it won't rain for weeks, ruining his plan to seed the fields with clover. Upset, he refuses to go to the potluck, and when Rio goes, Kay throws out her cake and lets her embarrass herself in front of the other guests. Rudy shames Mike for failing to support his wife, he goes to see her, and they stand up to the Bowmans' bullying. They then go to have sex in the barn, only to upset the cattle inside and trigger them to start mating. Constance makes both sides apologize and the Bowmans demand compensation for losing their bull's valuable sperm. Mike is forced to give them his tractor, so to keep the farm running, Rio obtains a flock of chickens so they can fertilize their crops naturally.
33"The Return of Short Shorts"Robert CohenAlyssa Lane & Alex ShermanApril 30, 2019 (2019-04-30)1LBB033.15[8]
Rio learns that Rudy has been buying a single piece of licorice every day in Constance's store for a year. Beau taunts Mike with his childhood nickname of "Short Shorts"; to prove his worth as a farmer to Beau and his friends, Mike agrees to slaughter all of his chickens personally. Rio tries to teach Constance how to flirt, but she ends up scaring Rudy off. Kay becomes upset when Jacob asks for someone other than her to cut his hair. Mike lies about killing the chickens and Beau calls him out, demanding that Mike sell him some chicken meat that afternoon. The couple hide their chickens, but the lie is exposed when the birds escape and Beau realizes that the meat is store-bought. Rio steals Rudy's licorice to force him to go back, so Constance arrests her and explains that she needs to let people befriend her in their own time rather than try to force them. Jacob agrees to let Kay keep cutting his hair. Mike decides not to let Beau take his chickens for slaughtering and instead buys his entire stock so he and Rio can raise them for eggs.
44"Predators"Anya AdamsCraig RowinMay 7, 2019 (2019-05-07)1LBB043.16[9]
A predator kills one of the chickens; when Mike decides to exact revenge, Rio is dismayed that he refuses to let her help, insisting that she needs him to "protect" her. Constance asks Rudy out on a date, but he refuses due to his discomfort with a woman asking him out. The Bowmans offer to help find the culprit by reviewing their security camera footage, which reveals video of Beau crying. Rio gets Rudy to help her hunt for the predator, only to be abandoned when he leaves to apologize to Constance for his stupidity. The predator, a weasel, gets into the house, causing Rio to succumb to her fear; she begs Mike to rescue her, but he can't as he has to drive Jacob to the hospital after he cuts off his own thumb by accident. Beau has an emotional breakdown and Mike tells him that shouldn't be ashamed of crying in front of his son. When Mike comes home, he discovers that Rio managed to capture the weasel herself, and the two reaffirm their commitment to each other.
55"In Hot Water"Molly McGlynnChelsea DevantezMay 14, 2019 (2019-05-14)1LBB052.66[10]
Rio's overprotective mother Donna continues to intrude on her and Mike's life, first by trying to pay for a new water heater when theirs breaks, and then by sending a straw buyer to purchase all of Mike's eggs at the farmer's market. Rio decides that she wants to restart her career as a therapist, and accepts Constance's invitation to join the neighborhood scrapbooking circle in order to find potential clients. Kay, jealous of Rio's ability to make friends easily, sends her on a fake errand that ends with her biking straight into a manure pond. A fed-up Rio drags herself home while forcing Mike and Donna to make peace with each other. After reminiscing about her late husband Morris with Beau, Constance takes Rudy up on his offer to escort her to the county fair in two weeks. Kay agrees to have private "scrapbooking" sessions with Rio, and pays for the first one by fixing the water heater.
66"The Estonian Method"Josh GreenbaumDominic DierkesMay 21, 2019 (2019-05-21)1LBB062.81[11]
Tensions between the Bowmans and the Levine-Youngs erupt at the county fair when Beau, angered by Rio urging his wife to share her feelings, uses his position as a judge to disqualify their prize hen, Priyanka, from competing. Fueled by rage, Mike and Rio go head to head with Beau and Kay at the wife-carry race, but end up running into them and getting everyone ejected from the contest. Rudy runs into his ex-wife Theresa, who clearly wants to win him back, but he refuses her advances until she talks him into square-dancing with her, which drives a wedge between him and Constance; they mutually agree to take their relationship more slowly from now on. The Bowmans' barn catches fire, and Mike and Rio manage to put it out themselves while saving Jacob's cows. Kay forces Beau to give them back their tractor in return. Sometime later, Beau arrives at Mike's farm after she kicks him out, and announces that he'll be staying with them until they help him fix his marriage.

Season 2 (2019)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title[5]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date[5]Prod.
code
U.S viewers
(millions)
71"459"Lake BellDominic DierkesSeptember 24, 2019 (2019-09-24)2LBB013.99[12]
With Cornhuskers football season starting, Mike and Rio are chosen by raffle to host the town's annual kick-off party, which includes a greased-pig chase. Eager to prove that they can respect local traditions, Mike and Rio take Constance up on her offer to help them plan the event. However, Rio decides that she's not comfortable with the pig chase, and declares to everyone that, like it or not, they won't be doing that this year or any future years. The locals are upset, but eventually come around, and Mike volunteers to be the "pig" instead for next season. Beau and Kay try to hide the truth of their failing marriage, but when the secret comes out, they confess and decide to work harder at fixing their relationship. Rudy asks for relationship advice from Jacob, who is dating a girl named Janine, and finally asks Constance for permission to kiss her, which she grants.
82"Phase Two"Ken WhittinghamRob RosellOctober 1, 2019 (2019-10-01)2LBB023.80[13]
Beau tells Mike and Rio that, by not having had sex in more than three weeks, they have officially entered the "second phase" of their marriage, which he fears will eventually drive them apart like it did with his wife. In response, Mike and Rio attempt to spice up their sex life only be repeatedly interrupted by various problems with the house as well as their own sexual dissatisfaction with each other. Constance's son Brandon returns from overseas deployment, and discovers his mother's relationship with Rudy; he accepts it, but Constance realizes that she's not ready to involve Rudy in her son's life and asks that they remain simply boyfriend and girlfriend. Mike accidentally stumbles across a snake nest, and Beau removes it while also bringing in Kay to fix several leaky pipes, which gives them the opportunity to discuss their feelings. Based on this, Beau creates three new rules for sustaining a good marriage, which he passes on to Mike and Rio.
93"Omaha"Claire ScanlonChelsea DevantezOctober 8, 2019 (2019-10-08)2LBB033.85[14]
Kay and Constance lead the women of the town, including Rio, to Omaha for their annual gynecological checkups. Left to his own devices, Mike gets tired of hearing Rudy and Beau squabble and agrees to help them cut down a dead branch, only for all three to wind up stuck in the tree itself. Kay becomes despondent upon realizing that everyone but her has had multiple sexual partners, and asks Rio to be her wing-woman while she tries to pick up men at a cocktail mixer. Brandon, serving as acting sheriff, arrives to help Mike and the others, but chickens out and admits he's scared of heights; the other men encourage him by admitting their own fears and inspire him to use his engineering expertise to fashion a makeshift elevator to get them out. Kay's confidence is shaken when she hooks up with the wrong man, and Rio offers to help her improve her flirting skills in return for driving lessons, which she has neglected to take.
104"Bang for Your Buck"Molly McGlynnAlyssa Lane & Alex ShermanOctober 15, 2019 (2019-10-15)2LBB043.42[15]
Rio is selected to play the wife of the town's founder for the Founder's Day reenactment. Mike is appointed as editor of the local paper, The Bucksnort Bugle, and immediately inserts himself into a historic feud between Rudy and the Wyatt family, who both claim that their ancestors founded Bucksnort. Against Rio's advice, Mike decides to publish an article supporting Rudy's claim, resulting in her role being recast while she is given a lesser part. Jacob asks his parents to give him "the sex talk", which turns into a disaster when neither proves willing to actually discuss such an uncomfortable topic. An attempt by Mike to meditate between the two sides fails, and he contemplates quitting the paper before Rio persuades him to keep digging. The Bowmans finally tell their son that he can talk to them whenever he's ready. Mike finds evidence that Bucksnort's founders were in a polygamous marriage, meaning both Rudy and the Wyatts are related.
115"Scare Night"Dean HollandJustin NowellOctober 29, 2019 (2019-10-29)2LBB053.85[16]
Mike's annual Halloween tradition, "Scare Night", has always made Rio uncomfortable, but she fears breaking Mike's heart too much to tell him to stop. In an attempt to win over Kay, Beau dresses up as Jamie from Outlander only to find that she is unwilling to admit her feelings for him. Rio comes up with a plan to strike back at her husband by turning his greatest fears into a home movie and forcing him to watch it, but the prank goes horribly wrong when a bat flies into the house and bites Mike, giving him rabies. Jacob joins Janine and her friends to throw toilet paper at Rudy's barn, which he refuses to take part in until Rudy tells him it's fine, as he reuses the paper all year round. At Constance's Halloween party, Kay acknowledges how attractive Beau is in his costume. While receiving emergency rabies shots from Kent, Mike finally hears the truth from Rio, and decides that Scare Night isn't more important to him than his marriage.
126"The Visit"Ken WhittinghamCraig RowinNovember 12, 2019 (2019-11-12)2LBB063.51[17]
Donna shows up out of the blue, insisting on helping Mike and Rio by "persuading" Beau to let them harvest a portion of his crops in order to prove to the county that they are serious farmers. However, it quickly becomes clear to Rio that her mother is actually trying to convince her that farm life is too hard so she'll move back to the city. After an argument, Donna storms off and winds up assisting Mike with birthing a litter of piglets. Constance asks Rudy to work with Brandon for the day, but their personalities clash. Rudy admits that as a veteran himself, he knows that Constance needs to let her son relax and not work so much as he adjusts to civilian life. Rio overhears Donna and Mike talking about her, and Donna reveals that while she may not necessarily approve of her daughter's lifestyle choices, she is willing to let her make them so she can be happy. The two part on amicable terms and Donna returns home.
137"Six Out of Six"Molly McGlynnNathan ChettyNovember 19, 2019 (2019-11-19)2LBB073.43[18]
With their pig Portia unable to nurse her piglets, Mike and Rio are forced to take care of them themselves. The locals hold a Euchre tournament, and both Beau and Kay bring their own "dates" as partners. While visiting Constance's store to buy formula, Mike and Rio are asked why they don't have kids of their own, and Mike decides that they should try to conceive despite Rio's concerns that having a baby would ruin their relationship. When Mike accidentally locks the piglets in his car, however, and Rio has to fetch Beau and Kay to help, she learns from them that even though having Jacob destroyed everything good in their marriage, in time he became the reason for them to keep trying. Rio tells Mike that she is ready to start a family. After the other players in the tournament are eliminated, Beau and Kay ditch their dates and team up against Constance and Rudy. Through teamwork, they are able to win.
148"The Grisham Gals"Ken WhittinghamAshley Nicole BlackNovember 26, 2019 (2019-11-26)2LBB083.58[19]
Kay's sister Stacy, a professional rodeo rider, visits; Rio tries to befriend her until she discovers that Mike and Stacy had a relationship and nearly got married before he met and married her. Egged on by Kay, who has always been jealous of her sister's accomplishments and seemingly perfect life, Rio gets a cowgirl makeover and upstages a party that the two are attending before Stacy reveals that she has no intention of stealing Mike. Rudy spends the night at Constance's house, but fails to pick up on any of her sexual advances. Taking advice from Theresa, he decides to start being more direct. Constance, however, admits that she enjoys doing foreplay with him. Stacy tells Kay that while she may be more successful, she has yet to achieve what Kay has: a loving husband and a son. At Rio's urging, the sisters make amends.
159"Goose Glazing Time"Molly McGlynnChelsea DevantezDecember 10, 2019 (2019-12-10)2LBB093.62[20]
Despite Rio and Mike's plans to have a quiet dinner by themselves for Christmas, they find themselves forced to play host when Constance's unpleasant mother Belle shows up unexpectedly and Rudy has to lie about being a wealthy self-made man to keep her from breaking up their relationship. Beau joins Kay and Jacob for Christmas and does everything he can to help his wife, claiming that he wants to make up for all the irresponsible things he did while they were together. When Jacob comes in from riding his new ATV, he catches his parents having sex and runs off to hide in Rio and Mike's barn. Unable to escape the drama, Mike and Rio divide and conquer: Mike goes to see Constance and convinces her to stand up to Belle for Rudy while Rio gets Kay and Beau to make amends with their son. Afterwards, they finally sit down to dinner but realize they don't want to be alone. So instead, they invite everyone over for a family dinner.

Production

Development

On October 10, 2017, it was announced that Fox had given Bless This Mess for the put pilot commitment.[21] Fox officially ordered the series to pilot in February 2018.[22] The pilot was written by Lake Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether, who executive produced alongside Erin O'Malley, Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar and Katherine Pope. Production companies involved with the pilot included Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures, Lake Bell Prod. and 20th Century Fox Television. After the pilot was completed, Fox declined to pick up the project; however, ABC ordered it to series on December 11, 2018.[23] A day after that, it was announced that the series would premiere in the mid-season of 2019 and air on Tuesdays at 9:30 P.M. The series debuted on April 16, 2019.[24]

On May 10, 2019, ABC renewed the series for a second season[1] and premiered on September 27, 2019.[2] On November 7, 2019, the series for a second season received a back order of six episodes.[25]

Casting

In March 2018, it was announced that Dax Shepard and Ed Begley Jr. had been cast in the pilot's lead roles.[3][26] Alongside the pilot's order announcement, in June 2019 it was reported that Pam Grier, JT Neal, and Christina Offley had joined the cast.[27] On September 16, 2019, it was announced that David Koechner, Lennon Parham and Langston Kerman are promoted to series regular, starting with the second season.[28]

Reception

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 82% based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Well-written and endearingly down-home, Bless This Mess' greatest gift is the joy of seeing its hilarious and like-able ensemble all in one place."[29] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[30]

Ratings

SeasonTimeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last airedTV seasonAvg. viewers
(millions)
18–49 rating
(average)
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Tuesday 9:30 p.m.6 April 16, 2019 (2019-04-16) 4.72[6] May 21, 2019 (2019-05-21) 2.81[11]2018–195.71[31]1.1[31]
2 Tuesday 8:30 p.m.[5]19[5] September 24, 2019 (2019-09-24) 3.99[12] TBA TBD2019–20TBDTBD

Season 1

No. Title Air dateRating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Pilot" April 16, 20190.9/44.72[6]0.52.551.47.27[32]
2 "The Chicken and the Goat" April 23, 20190.7/33.58[7]0.42.171.15.75[33]
3 "The Return of Short Shorts" April 30, 20190.6/33.15[8]0.52.071.15.22[34]
4 "Predators" May 7, 20190.6/33.16[9]0.31.620.94.61[35]
5 "In Hot Water" May 14, 20190.6/32.66[10]0.31.730.94.39[36]
6 "The Estonian Method" May 21, 20190.6/32.81[11]0.41.681.04.52[37]

Season 2

No. Title Air dateRating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "459" September 24, 20190.8/43.99[12]0.41.501.25.48[38]
2 "Phase Two" October 1, 20190.7/43.80[13]0.31.201.05.00[39]
3 "Omaha" October 8, 20190.8/43.85[14]0.21.121.04.97[40]
4 "Bang for Your Buck" October 15, 20190.7/43.42[15]0.31.081.04.50[41]
5 "Scare Night" October 29, 20190.8/43.85[16]0.31.041.14.89[42]
6 "The Visit" November 12, 20190.6/33.51[17]0.31.210.94.73[43]
7 "Six Out of Six" November 19, 20190.6/43.43[18]0.31.150.94.58[44]
8 "The Grisham Gals" November 26, 20190.7/43.58[19]0.31.121.04.71[45]
9 "Goose Glazing Time" December 10, 20190.6/33.62[20]TBDTBDTBDTBD

See also

References

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  2. Pedersen, Erik (July 2, 2019). "ABC Fall Premiere Dates: 'The Conners', 'Black-ish' & Spinoff, Cobie Smulders' 'Stumptown', Final 'Modern Family' Season & More". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  3. Andreeva, Nellie (March 7, 2018). "Dax Shepard To Star In Lake Bell/Liz Meriwether Fox Pilot 'Bless This Mess'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  4. Dove, Steve. "Bless This Mess Premieres TUESDAY APRIL 16 9:30/8:30c on ABC". ABC. Archived from the original on 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  5. "Bless This Mess (ABC) Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  6. Welch, Alex (April 17, 2019). "'The Flash,' 'Roswell, New Mexico,' 'The Kids Are Alright' adjust down: Tuesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  7. Welch, Alex (April 24, 2019). "'MasterChef Junior,' 'The Flash' adjust up: Tuesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
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  22. Andreeva, Nellie (February 6, 2018). "'Bless This Mess' Comedy Starring Lake Bell From Liz Meriwether Gets Fox Off-Cycle Pilot Order". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
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