ABC's newest family sitcom is co-created by its star, Lake Bell, and the creator of New Girl, Elizabeth Meriwether. But the Bless This Mess cast is full of industry veterans and the show's plum time slot opposite ABC's black-ish bodes well for the freshman series. In Bless This Mess, which, yes, lifts substantially from Green Acres in terms of plot, newlywed couple Rio and Mike, played by Bell and Dax Shepard respectively, relocate from their overwhelming New York City lives to run a farm in Nebraska left to Mike by a deceased relative.
Constance, the county sheriff, is played by the legendary Pam Grier, who herself owns a farm in Colorado. In an interview with The Daily Beast, she revealed her skepticism that Bell, an LA actress, and Meriwether, a writer/producer from Chicago, could realistically depict farm life. But she was coaxed to sign on, and once she saw the scripts, Grier was hooked.
Ed Begley, Jr., another actor with a decades-long career, plays the couple's eccentric and boundary-challenged neighbor Rudy, while fresh-faced JT Neal plays Jacob, an equally oddball teenager whose parents own the farm next door. Read on to find out more about where you may recognize these names and faces from.
Lake Bell appeared in both the prequel and sequel Wet Hot American Summer series produced by Netflix, playing Coop's love interest Donna Berman — the show's "liberated female libido," as one FlavorWire headline put it. But Bell is perhaps most recognizable for 2013's In A World, an indie film she wrote, directed, and starred in. She also directed and co-wrote the Bless This Mess pilot, so be on the lookout for the series' star to do more behind the scenes.
Dax Shepard is perhaps best known for being Kristen Bell's husband, but a glimpse at his iMDB page shows he apparently has his own things going on! I kid. He's super recognizable for his series regular role as Crosby Braverman on NBC's long-running family drama Parenthood, but he's also appeared in episodes of The Good Place and Parks and Recreation, so he's no stranger to sitcoms.
Bell and Meriwether made very clear that Pam Grier was by far the biggest "get" in the cast. With a career spanning five decades — first starting out in blaxploitation films in the '70s, then playing the iconic and titular Jackie Brown in Quentin Tarrantino's 1997 film, followed by spending 6 seasons as Kit Porter on The L Word — Grier was obviously a major boon to the Bless This Mess cast.
Ed Begley Jr.
Ed Begley, Jr. probably has the lengthiest sitcom resumé of any actor on Bless This Mess, but he's best known for playing Victor Ehrlich on NBC's long-running primetime medical drama St. Elsewhere. More recently, he's played Stan Sitwell on Arrested Development, Clifford Main on Better Call Saul, and a handful of roles on Portlandia. He also played Joel Bamford, Maria Bamford's father, on the comedian's semi-autobiographical Netflix series Lady Dynamite.
Bless This Mess is JT Neal's first series regular role but he has previously written and starred in a three-season web series called Roommates. He also played a guest role on Nickelodeon's The Haunted Hathaways and had a small part in the Netflix teen rom-com Sierra Burgess Is a Loser.
Bless This Mess has a six-episode order from ABC to start, and it airs Tuesday nights.