Fox's newest animated comedy follows a southern family who have a lot of heart — quite literally, since the show is called Bless the Harts. Creator Emily Spivey appears in the series as a character named Louise, but it's the celebrity voice cast who anchors Bless the Harts. For Spivey, it was about bringing her hometown of High Point, North Carolina to life onscreen.
"I've been wanting to do a show about my hometown forever," she told Animation Magazine, explaining that when she was approached to create an animated series, The Andy Griffith Show (which is also set in North Carolina) and King of the Hill immediately came to mind. While Greenpoint — where Bless the Harts takes place — isn't a real town, it's likely an amalgam of Greensboro and High Point, which are both nestled between Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham.
And it's clear that Bless the Harts is coming from a place of love and affection. "I love that we're doing small stories about these characters that have so much fun," Spivey continued. "We want to laugh with them, not at them ... my favorite thing is being able to watch something and then relate to it, and say, 'Oh, that's me!'"
With such a personal project, Spivey likely took extra care to pick out the cast. Here are the celebs she trusted to do her story justice.
Kristen Wiig — Jenny Hart
Jenny is a single mother trying to make ends with her waitressing job at a restaurant called Last Supper. "Jenny, I think, is just trying to keep it together and run this household," Kristen Wiig said in a preview video for the show (above). "It's very heartwarming, the relationship that they all have with each other, and she's definitely the glue."
Wiig first rose to prominence on Saturday Night Live, where she played iconic characters like the Target Lady, Gilly, and Dooneese. She's also appeared in critically acclaimed films including Bridesmaids (which she co-wrote), The Skeleton Twins, and 2016's Ghostbusters, and has voice-acted in animated projects such as Big Mouth and Sausage Party.
Maya Rudolph — Betty Hart
Betty Hart is the family matriarch, and boy howdy is she a handful. She has a penchant for boxed wine, scratchers, and running her mouth. "She's not always making correct choices, but they are always coming from the right place," Rudolph said in the above clip.
And anyone who's watched Bridesmaids or seen Wiig and Rudolph perform together on SNL will be thrilled to see these two women collaborating again. "If we were doing this show in front of a live audience, I wouldn't get to play Kristen's mom," Rudolph said in the video. "I love that you can be anything in animation."
Beyond Bless the Harts, Rudolph has most recently appeared in Big Mouth as Connie the Hormone Monstress, The Good Place as burrito-eating Judge Gen, and Netflix's Wine Country.
Ike Barinholtz — Wayne Edwards
Spivey said in an interview with Raleigh's News & Observer that it was difficult to write Barinholtz's character in a gracious yet humorous way. "We have to be really careful not to emasculate him too much or make him too dumb," she said. "I'm always having to pull the writers back a little bit on that, because it's so easy to make dumb palooka jokes. But I really want to stress that [Wayne is] good at things and adores his family and is smart in his own way, he's just a dreamer."
As for Barinholtz, he should be familiar to fans of Mindy Kaling's The Mindy Project or the 2018 comedy Blockers.
Jillian Bell — Violet Hart
Bell has been in a number of projects including Workaholics, Office Christmas Party, and her recent comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon. She's also no stranger to voice acting, having appeared in Archer, American Dad!, Bob's Burgers, and SuperMansion.
Her Bless the Harts character, Violet, is Jenny's teenage daughter, who seems less than thrilled to be stuck in North Carolina with her family. "She's sort of an angsty, artistically talented teenager," Bell said of Violet in the above clip. In the aforementioned News & Observer piece, Spivey explained that Violet is a mixture of her two best friends growing up, "Kelly and April, who were actually twins but they were really dry and hysterical and wonderful artists."
Fortune Feimster — Brenda
While there's not much information about Feimster's Bless the Hart character, the actress, like Barinholtz, is a collaborator of Kaling's. She's previously appeared in The Mindy Project and Champions, as well as Justin Adler's Life in Pieces, among others. And since according to IMDB, Feimster is from Charlotte, the North Carolina drawl comes naturally to her.
Jee Young Han — Binh Ly
Han worked with one of her Bless the Harts co-stars before, when she appeared in an episode of 2018's Forever alongside Maya Rudolph. She's also appeared in Santa Clarita Diet and the Bryan Cranston comedy Why Him?, as well as held small roles in various TV shows. In February, it was announced that Han will star in upcoming NBC comedy Like Magic, Variety reported.
Mary Steenburgen — Crystal
Per Deadline, Steenburgen's Bless the Harts character is "a longtime 'frenemy' of Betty." However, the actor is perhaps best known for playing Nancy Huff in Step Brothers (and being married to Ted Danson). Steenburgen also won an Oscar in 1981 for her supporting role in Melvin and Howard, and has received Golden Globes nomination for her performances in Ragtime and Goin' South, among others. Recently, she appeared in TV shows like On Becoming a God in Central Florida, The Last Man on Earth, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Drew Tarver — Randy
In addition to co-starring in Comedy Central's series The Other Two, Tarver has also played characters in Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Chris Kelly's 2016 dramedy Other People. Here, he plays a character named Randy, who Deadline described as being "the town weirdo."
Emily Spivey — Louise
Spivey got her start writing for MADtv in 2000, and has since worked for legendary comedies like SNL and Parks and Recreation. In 2011, she created the short-lived NBC comedy Up All Night, which starred Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maya Rudolph. Most recently, she penned the screenplay for Wine Country, which she starred in alongside Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and Tina Fey.
Kumail Nanjiani — Jesus
Nanjiani is known for his roles in Silicon Valley, The Big Sick (which he wrote with his wife, Emily V. Gordon), and the 2019 buddy comedy Stuber. In Bless the Harts, he plays none other than Jesus himself, who talks to Jenny while she works shifts at Last Supper.
Holly Hunter — Marjune Gamble
Speaking of The Big Sick, which Holly Hunter appeared in, the Georgia native plays Marjune Gamble in Bless the Harts.
The show may be animated, but fans can rest assured that these characters are being voiced by an A-list comedic cast who look to imbue their onscreen counterparts with gravitas, good-natured quips, and lots and lots of humor.