Monday, April 15, 2019

ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Bless This Mess - Premieres Tuesday (April 16); Hallmark Picks Up 7th Season of When Calls the Heart

Bless This Mess

Bless This Mess - Tuesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Bless This Mess follows newlyweds Rio and Mike as they make the decision to move from big city New York to rural Nebraska. After dropping everything (including their jobs and overbearing mother-in-law) to make the move from skyscrapers to farmhouses, they soon realize that the simpler life isn't as easy as they planned. Rio and Mike must now learn how to weather the storm as they are faced with unexpected challenges in their new life as farmers.

Cast Details:

Dax Shepard as Mike
Lake Bell as Rio
Ed Begley, Jr. as Rudy
Pam Grier as Constance Terry

Dax Shephard (Mike) is an actor known for his work in the feature films such as Without a Paddle, Let's Go to Prison, Employee of the Month and CHiPS. He is also known for playing Crosby Braverman in the hit NBC drama series Parenthood.

Lake Bell (Rio) is an actress known for her roles in TV series such as Boston Legal, How to Make it in America and Children's Hospital, and in films such as Million Dollar Arm and No Strings Attached.

Ed Begley, Jr. (Rudy) is an actor recognized for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere, as well as in films such as Pineapple Express, Batman Forever and For Your Consideration.

Pam Grier (Constance) is an actress known for her roles in films such as The Big Bird Cage, Coffy and Jackie Brown, and for TV series such as This Is Us, The L Word and Law & Order: SVU.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs Tuesday, April 16 at 9:30PM ET)

In the pilot episode of Bless This Mess, newlyweds Rio and Mike decide to finally make the transition to small town living to escape the rat race of NYC. However, they quickly find that things are a bit more complicated than planned when they meet an interesting cast of characters, and find adjusting to Nebraska life may be different and more difficult than they thought.

Analysis:

Frankly, Bless This Mess is a series I have fairly low expectations about going in. Considering it was thrown onto the ABC schedule in late spring with only a 6 episode order, and given the show's hokey-seeming presence (seems an awful lot like Green Acres), I was expecting a show that would get a hard pass from me, personally. And yet, I found myself surprisingly charmed by Bless This Mess' aura. The show isn't hilarious yet, but it has a solid cast of characters and a lovable central couple, along with snappy writing and a true sense of heart that could make this a comedy to keep an eye on.

In a year that has been frankly low on worthwhile network sitcoms, Bless This Mess is the first show in a while I can say I think has a real, out-of-the-gate shot to be something worthwhile. This show, along with Abby's on NBC, has a scrappy charm that's been missing in new network comedies over the past year or so. For a while, network comedies were beginning to feel too focused on premise - I love The Good Place, but not every show needs to have as heavy-handed of a concept. Bless This Mess, though, is a show that could succeed based on its characters, not its (admittedly not very interesting) premise. This isn't too surprising. The show is partially produced by Liz Meriwether - aka, the mind behind New Girl. New Girl was another series with a not-so-great premise that wound up succeeding because of its focus on its excellent cast of characters. If Bless This Mess has a similar laser focus on its characters and focuses less on its somewhat silly premise, I wouldn't be surprised to see it taking a similar turn of events. The cast is giving it their all, and while the writing isn't quite there yet in these six episodes, I certainly see potential of what could be to come.

Conclusion:

Bless This Mess has a tired premise that threatens to sink it, but the show’s lovable cast of characters and snappy (if not yet great) writing makes it a show to keep an eye on. If ABC can give it a chance beyond its initial 6 episode order, this show has the potential to become a sweet and charming sitcom that could fit very nicely into ABC's sitcom landscape, and could make a worthwhile addition to the network comedy vault. Let's hope it's given the chance it needs to succeed, because it's been quite a while since a new network comedy took off and had a high level of quality.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Bless This Mess Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • When Calls the Heart

    Hallmark Channel has ordered a seventh season of the network's original, primetime drama series When Calls the Heart, it was announced by series star Erin Krakow during the premiere of the network's Spring Fever movie, Bottled with Love. The series of course features Lori Loughlin, but with her recent legal trouble, she will not be on the series anymore. Hallmark made no mention of the actress in their release to the press for this seventh season.

    Currently in its sixth season, the frontier drama When Calls the Heart's ratings momentum continues, with this season's debut episode ranking as the highest-rated premiere in the series' history. The program ranked as the #2 original scripted series of the week, only behind AMC's The Walking Dead, and marks the #3 original scripted series on cable in 2019-to-date. On a Live +3 basis, the program delivered a 2.9 Household rating, 3.1 million Total Viewers, and 449,000 Women 25-54. The episode reached over 3.6 million unduplicated total viewers.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Thursday, April 18

    The Big Bang Theory - "The Inspiration Deprivation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    The concept of what it would mean for women everywhere if Amy were to win a Nobel Prize causes Amy to have a meltdown. Also, Koothrappali and Wolowitz try to relive the good old days after Wolowitz buys a scooter that looks like the one he had years ago. Oscar-winning actress Regina King returns as Janine.

    Life in Pieces - "Jungle Push Resort Anniversary" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When the Short family arrives at their vacation resort in the Yucatan, their accommodations aren’t quite what they expected. Also, Heather is ridiculously overprotective of Sophia during the family activities; Jen and Greg discover that Matt and Colleen have been duping everyone; and John and Joan get separated from their tour group in the jungle. Nat Faxon guest stars as Hayes, an expat proprietor at a Yucatan eco-resort.

    Mom - "Lumbar Support and Old Pork" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Bonnie has an unexpected reaction when she learns that Adam’s bar is doing well. Also, Christy and Tammy go on a double date.

    Life in Pieces - "Demo Nosebreath Surgery Match" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    When Colleen and Matt try to impress a potential birth mother, they have a hard time competing against another rich, swanky couple. Also, Jen’s pregnancy takes a toll on Greg; Heather lets John take credit for her housekeeping while Joan recovers from knee surgery; and Tim arranges for Tyler to record a demo at a friend’s studio. Joey King guest stars as Morgan, a 17-year-old pregnant teen who is considering placing her baby for adoption with Matt and Colleen.

    Superstore - "Easter" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Suspicious that people are making fun of her, Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) spy on Cloud 9 employees through the security system, while Dina (Lauren Ash) tries to track down an unsanctioned Easter Bunny in the store. Glenn (Mark McKinney) preps for his church’s Passion play.

    A.P. Bio - "Personal Everest" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Jack is outraged when his old high school bully is hired as a motivational speaker at Whitlock. Meanwhile, Mary, Stef, and Michelle set their own personal goals of female empowerment, unintentionally causing a rift between Helen and Durbin.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Bimbo" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Holt and Jake investigate a case at Kevin’s university. Back at the precinct, Terry and Amy take the squad out for lunch.

    Abby's - "Book Club" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    When it’s revealed that Fred has a crush on a bar patron, Abby and Beth encourage a reluctant Fred to start dating.

    Better Things - "Easter" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Sam helps Max and bakes for Phil.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 15)

    Thursday, April 18

    • Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney (Catastrophe) - Catch Sharon and Rob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. They will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Lake Bell (Bless This Mess/Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp/How to Make It in America) - Lake appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Tichina guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Beth Behrs (The Neighborhood/2 Broke Girls) - Beth is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James chats about Life in Pieces on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country/Murphy Brown) - Lily drops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP/Scream Queens) - Keke guest co-hosts ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
    • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) and Rick Fox (The Game/Mr. Box Office) - Holly and Rick talk about Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Morning Show Mysteries on Access Live, so check your local listings. Holly will also be on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
    • Fiona Gubelmann (Wilfred) - Fiona appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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