Review of "1600 Penn" on NBC From The TV MegaSite

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cast of 1600 Penn

"1600 Penn" review by Suzanne
Airs Thursdays 9:30/8:30pm et/pt on NBC

This is a fun little sitcom about a silly family in the white house. Think of it as "West Wing" with a laugh track. Bill Pullman, who's always excellent, plays the president, Mr. Gilchrist. He has played the president before, most notably in the movie "Independence Day". He is somewhat wasted here, but he does bring a sort of weightiness to the show that is needed. Comic actress Jenna Elfman plays his young wife, who is his new bride. His first wife died and left him with 4 kids of varying ages.

One of the kids is this big fat oaf named "Skip", played well by Josh Gad. You have to wonder whether they dropped him on his head when he was born. I would think that someone who was preparing for the white house would make sure that his dopey son would get strict lessons on comportment, or else be sent far, far, away to boarding school where he can't embarrass the family. In the first episode, Skip is at college, in a scene straight out of "Revenge of the Nerds", but he manages to start a fire in a rival fraternity. The idea is that Skip is not too bright, I guess, and manages to get himself into all sorts of trouble. It might be cute if he were 12, or 16, but he's in his 20's so it does make you wonder what's wrong with him.

Skip's sister is a seemingly perfect young women, but she gets pregnant from a one-night-stand. Then there are two younger children, one of whom is very smart. It's a weird collection of kids that would never be allowed in a real white house and don't really seem to be Bill Pullman's children unless hs and his wife were very bad parents. But, it's a sitcom, so they all have to be "zany" because that's what they do now on sitcoms. I guess they feel if the characters are zany enough, they don't have to write as many funny jokes for them. Personally, I really hate this trend.

I'm not saying the show is awful, because it's not. It has a lot of laughs and heartfelt moments. It's worth tuning in to every week. I just wish it were a wee bit funnier. I enjoyed the second episode more than the first. Sometimes these shows try too hard in the first episode.

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