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Hilarious ‘Bless This Mess’ far from being a mess for ABC

April 11, 2019

If ABC’s new comedy, “Bless This Mess,” was bad, this column would pretty much write itself, topped with a scathing headline about how no one could bless this mess.

Thankfully for ABC, “Mess” is not bad. In fact, it’s downright hilarious as the show takes the classic fish-out-of-water story to a whole new level.

“Mess” stars Lake Bell and Dax Shepard as Rio and Mike, a couple from New York who have never fought in the year they’ve been married. After Mike inherits a farm house in Nebraska, the two decide to leave New York behind and become farmers. But, of course, farming is not as easy as they think it will be. And, as the show’s title suggests, the house may not be in the best of shape. There’s also the issue of the strange man (Ed Begley Jr.) living in their barn. And the town general store owner/sheriff (Pam Grier) has her eye on them as well.

In the premiere, Rio and Mike get acquainted with their neighbors and try to figure out how to be farmers, how to fix their house and how to live without the conveniences of the city. Soon, they start wondering if they made a big mistake, and then it’s only a matter of time before that first big fight becomes a reality.

If you’ve ever seen or heard Dax Shepard do an interview, you know he is one of the funniest guys on the planet, and he definitely shows that here. Bell also shows off some comedy chops both with her acting and her writing, as she co-wrote the episode, in addition to directing it (She’s also the show’s co-creator and executive producer). Grier is a welcome addition as her usual sassy self and you can never go wrong with Begley Jr.

What I like best about the show is that it could be your typical out-of-towner comedy with the neighbors coming over to mock the big city folks with the help of an over-the-top laugh track. But that’s not what you get from “Mess.” Instead, you get rapid-fire banter between Shepard and Bell that keeps you on your toes just as much as it keeps you laughing with no laugh track to ruin things. And the neighbors do come over to mock (including one neighbor played by the always hilarious David Koechner), but the jokes are a little more clever than what you’d get from a more traditional sitcom. One of the premiere’s funniest scenes involves Mike trying to use a hammer. But the episode saves its best moment for the end, which I don’t dare spoil here.

In other words, “Mess” is not a mess at all, but instead is a hilarious sitcom I wish we had seen a little sooner. Bless ABC for finally getting it on the air.

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

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.

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