The boob tube: “1600 Penn”

Yesterday, I happened to see on MSNBC that President Obama was hosting the cast of the new NBC sitcom 1600 Penn for a viewing of the show at the White House.

The White House should be insulted.

You see, I watched the preview episode (I think that’s what it’s called) of the show just a few days ago and, in fact, I was insulted for the White House.

You would think that Jenna Elfman would be funny in just about everything. You would think that Bill Pullman would play a good president (have you seen Independence Day?). You would be wrong on both counts.

Pullman’s President Gilchrist came off as awkward, stilted, and so not funny. His trophy wife (Elfman) was the sole good part of the show, but mostly because everyone else seems to hate her so much. You feel like you have to root for her.

President Gilchrist has four children; Skip, Becca, Marigold, and Xander.

Skip (played by Josh Gad – who Wikipedia tells me is 31) looks older than Elfman and far, far too old to be Pullman’s son. Skip is a seventh year college student who, in the space of twenty-two very long minutes, sets a frat house on fire, sets the White House on fire, gets patriotic at a tennis match, and settles a trade deal his father couldn’t. He’s just sad.

Becca (played by Martha MacIsaac – who Wikipedia tells me is 28) is supposed to be a recent college graduate. I think. Maybe. That part that confuses me is that she’s totally freaking out about an unplanned pregnancy, something a college student would do but a graduate from a rich family probably would. In other words, the pseudo-mother to the younger kids (who, of course, hates the trophy wife) isn’t at all believable.

Marigold and Xander are of undetermined ages, other than that they’re young enough to not be in high school. Xander has a crush on a girl, and so does Marigold. (!)

There is one comedic bright spot on this show that I otherwise predict will last maybe a half-dozen episodes and that is Andre Holland as Marshall Malloy, President Gilchrist’s press secretary who also seems to be everything else to the family. Surrounded by all those nuts, you can’t not like him.

Have you seen 1600 Penn? What did you think?


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