Tonight was the premiere episode of 1600 Penn on NBC (9:30 Eastern). The show stars some pretty good actors, including Bill Pullman as the President, Jenna Elfman as the First Lady and Josh Gad as the President’s son, Skip. Apparently the premise of the sitcom is what would happen if a bumbling fool and his family of stereotypical castoffs somehow ended up in the White House.
Let’s plow through the characters to see where the show went awry:
Josh Gad is seemingly the star of the show and is one of the program’s co-creators. His model must be Bluto Blutarski, if only Belushi was pathetic. In both episodes that aired tonight, Gad was in virtually every scene and his level of lack of funniness transcended into pathetic. In the first episode tonight, Skip set fire to a frat house, causing his expulsion from college; when he returns to the White House, he sets that afire as well.
Bill Pullman is the President. He spends national security meetings kvetching about family problems and hoping to secure international treaties by throwing a tennis match to a Latin American dictator. In the latter case, he forgets his goal when the 20 people in the audience begin chanting ‘USA’ while Skip urged them on.
Jenna Elfman (who previously starred in Dharma and Greg) , is supposed to be the trophy second wife of the President. She spends most of each episode igniting different problems, until they resolve themselves at the end of the show.
Becca is the pregnant step-daughter, and is modeled after the younger daughter in Modern Family, except that she isn’t funny. Based upon the premise, she is pregnant from some unknown guy, from some random party. It seems as if the Secret Service is missing in action during this make-believe program.
There are two little kids as well in the show, but I could never figure out exactly what their relationship is to everyone else. The boy is supposed to be smart, I guess, since he wears glasses. The girl is even more of a nonentity.
Maybe it’s difficult to write a political sitcom. There aren’t that many, other than Parks and Rec. But this is just a silly waste of 30 minutes of your life. Avoid it at all costs. If you’re on a plane and it comes on, request a parachute.