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Bless This Mess Follows Dax Shepard and Lake Bell to Nebraska

ALSO: The Rookie, 30 for 30, Finding Your Roots, All That, and more
  • Dax Shepard and Lake Bell in Bless This Mess (ABC)
    Dax Shepard and Lake Bell in Bless This Mess (ABC)

    Have you ever been tempted to just drop everything, quit your job, sell your car, ditch your apartment, and pack a bag for a radically stripped-down life? You certainly wouldn’t be alone if you did. It’s no coincidence that the beginnings of so many TV shows involve the protagonists packing up their lives and starting over. Think about it:

    • Who’s the Boss?: Tony moves with his daughter Samantha from rough-and-tumble NYC to suburban Connecticut so he can start over as a housekeeper.
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy moves to Sunnydale after burning down the gym at her old school
    • Friends begins with Rachel Green running out on her wedding and starting a new, un-pampered life as a waitress in New York’s West Village.
    • Felicity’s title character eschews Stanford to move cross-country to attend college in New York all because she likes a boy.
    • Schitt’s Creek sees the financially ruined Rose family retreat to the only property they have left: the crummy little town of Schitt’s Creek.
    • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend begins with Rebecca Bunch working hard at her New York job, making dough, though it makes her blue. One day, whilst crying a lot, she decides to move to West Covina, California, where she gets brand new pals and a new career. (It also happens to be where Josh, the teenage love of her life, lives, but … well, you get the idea.)

    The list goes on and on — I didn’t even mention Beverly Hills, 90210 or Just the Ten of Us. There’s also Green Acres, the 1965 TV series where restless big-city attorney Eddie Albert decides to move out to the sticks and run a farm, and he drags his big-city glamorous wife Eva Gabor out with him. Sexism of the premise aside, there’s a lot to Green Acres that might appeal to anyone who wants out of their hectic urban life. Which is why we keep getting TV series like ABC’s Bless This Mess, which premieres tonight.

    SERIES PREMIERE: If you enjoyed Dax Shepard on Parenthood and Lake Bell in her various movies like In a World, you should be excited to see them play a married couple who decide to go buy a farm in Nebraska on Bless This Mess. Even if you’re not familiar with them, trust and believe that they’re charming, funny actors, and this concept is bullet-proof. 9:30 PM ET on ABC

    SEASON FINALE: ABC’s The Rookie, the series that dared to question what it would look like if Nathan Fillion were the world’s oldest rookie cop, ends its first season tonight. On the episode, titled “Free Fall,” a possible terrorist attack in Los Angeles coincides with the big rookie exam, which is honestly just about the worst “woke up late for my final” nightmare you could ever have. 10:00 PM ET on ABC

    PREMIERE EPISODE: ESPN is airing a special presentation of their acclaimed sports documentary series tonight with 30 for 30: Seau, which examines the celebrated NFL career and horrific death of former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau. 9:00 PM ET on ESPN

    ANNIVERSARY: 25 years ago today, Nickelodeon premiered a TV series that made an impression on a generation of young TV viewers and is still remembered fondly and fervently today: All That was a kids’ sketch comedy show that bridged the gap between Nick’s kid audience and the younger-teen audience they were looking to cultivate — kind of halfway down the road between Disney and MTV. All That’s biggest claims to fame were stars Kenan Thompson and Amanda Bynes, and while Bynes’ ascent to movie stardom ended up in some dark places, Kenan’s wild success on Saturday Night Live is a huge testament to how All That launched him. Later seasons gave us Nick Cannon and Jamie Lynn Spears, but the true ‘90s-kid shibboleth is if you mention Lori Beth Denberg’s name in confidence. You can stream the first six seasons of All That on Amazon Prime


    • The first season of Finding Your Roots: Southern Roots, the PBS genealogy series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. concludes tonight. 8:00 PM ET on PBS
    • Also from producer Henry Louis Gates, the PBS documentary series Reconstruction ends its four-episode run looking back on the fraught and crucial time period after the Civil War. 10:00 PM ET on PBS
    • On The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the aftermath of the Lisa Vanderpump/Kyle Richards fight gives way to the next big confrontation that was promised in the trailer: Lisa Rinna and Camille Grammer get into it at a dinner party over Brett Kavanaugh. COURT IS IN SESSION! 9:00 PM ET on Bravo

    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Bless This Mess, 30 For 30, The Rookie