Television Review: 1600 Penn (NBC)

This isn’t NBC’s answer to Modern Family. There isn’t the intelligent writing, or any relatable characters to be found with this one. It has it’s moments for laughs, but overall it doesn’t seem to be the show that will salvage NBC’s need for comedies to fill in the ones that will soon be missing from their line up.

President Dale Gilchrest is a man seemingly liked by the public, but it isn’t him that may tarnish his time in the office, instead it’s the antics f his family. He wife, Emily, isn’t the graceful, polite, president’s wife that a man in office would want to speak for causes. When prodded she can leave some newsworthy headlines for the public. His two youngest children don’t get along well, and it turns out his middle school age daughter might have a budding crush. There is also Becca who is the daughter a dad would want. She is successful, but when she finds out she is pregnant she worries how it might not only affect her future, but her father. Lastly, there is Skip. He is the underachiever son of the president constantly making the news with his over the top antics that get him in trouble.


Bill Pullman is one of the more intriguing actor on the shows, but yet he doesn’t make many appearances in comparison to his family. While watching his family you almost feel he is just on the show to give a reason the other family members are being featured. Without the backdrop of these people being related to the president there is no story. You want to see the president have some sort of story too, but in this episode we don’t get too much of it. It can’t be that his whole family are mess-ups, and he isn’t.

Jenna Elfman as Emily is one of the funnier characters. Her comedic timing seems more on the mark for laughs, and the daughter, Becca (Martha MacIsaac), is equally as intriguing as her. One o the younger kids, Marigold, has an interesting setup that might have viewers curious to see how the few plots left hanging develop over time. Mostly this show seems to center around Skip (Josh Gad) though. This was a poor choice to let him steal the scene so much. It isn’t Gad’s fault the role he has been given, and he handles it well, but the type of character he is is so over used now. He’s the overweight guy, who constantly sabotages others without meaning to. Essentially he is the “big goof”. We’ve seen this with Alan in The Hangover, and various Seth Rogen characters. There will probably be some major realizations for him in the future of the show of trying to be a better man, but it’s so predictable. If his character wasn’t given as much attention it would be a better fit, but it stills too much stories that are more interesting on the show.

1600 Penn provides a few laughs, and the cast is interesting. The show has potential to grow, and plots that would be intriguing to watch develop. There are some elements that are quite predictable though, and in some ways it tries to be too modern. Viewers might tune in a few times to see what happens, and considering this is the “Pilot” that might be a good idea. Throw out some of the cliches, and you have a show much more unique.

Rating  3 of 5.

One thought on “Television Review: 1600 Penn (NBC)

  1. A few moments I've seen on teasers looked like it might have a little going for it, but as soon as I saw the concept it was obvious that the show has no longevity. To me it feels like one of those shows that made a really good “Wouldn't that be funny if…” moment, then someone desperate went and actually made the show.

    Like

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