Patrice Robotnick sees ‘Bless This Mess’

LB’S NOTE: Patrice Robotnick, our ace robot reporter and critic, returns with a review that surprised me. Click below and listen up

Now that you know how this review sounds, here’s how it reads:


This ABC sitcom follows newlyweds Rio and Mike, played by Lake Bell (who also co-created it with Elizabeth Meriwether) and Dax Shepard, as they leave the hustle and bustle of New York City for the laid-back atmosphere of rural Nebraska.

Upon arriving at the dilapidated farm Mike inherited, the newbies quickly find themselves in over their heads. Lucky for them, everyone in their tiny town wants to pitch in and help – all – the – time.


Rio and Mike have a squatter in their barn, Rudy, played by Ed Begley Jr. who is never short of opinions or dating troubles, especially with the local Sheriff Constance, played by Pam Grier.

While Mike concentrates on making the farm a success, Rio dishes out advice to everyone including her best friend Kay and Kay’s ever problematic husband Beau. To this robot reviewer, who admittedly doesn’t understand human foibles as much as I should, the advice seems quite sound most of the time.

The rural townspeople are quite complex compared to depictions of such folk in other shows in my database.


Unlike the townspeople, Mike and Rio are not complex characters. Their weekly problems easily fit into the solve-one-problem-at-a-time needs of their 22 minute time slot. Robots with such simple programming are doomed to wind up in the trash compactor before their prime.

The premise for Bless This Mess is extremely derivative. Its earliest feature film ancestor is The Egg and I, which was released in 1947. Over the years, there have been several similar television versions, the most successful of which – in terms of audience size – were Green Acres, which ran from 1965 to 1971, and Northern Exposure,  which ran from 1990 to 1995.


During my short existence and career here at TVWriter™, I have learned that for reasons I do not yet understand and which seem quite illogical to me, humans very much like to laugh.

They also like to watch television shows that are similar to ones they have seen before. I used to consider such a similarity a flaw in the creative process, but upon re-evaluation, I now realize it is a virtue and should be acknowledged as such.


Based on a statistical analysis of the number of “laugh lines” and amount of what is variously called “heart” or “schmaltz” per episode, I recommend Bless This Mess as a series that gives the humans who something to look forward to on Tuesday nights.

On a personal level, I find myself fascinated by how much humans enjoy laughing. I have tried to duplicate that sound but have succeeded only in creating a cacophony of clattering and clanking that emphasizes how far apart humans and robots truly are.

TVWriter™ and Patrice Robotnick thank humans Allie Theiss and Larry Brody for their contributions to this post.