Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday—Is “1600 Penn” Laugh Out Loud Funny?

Television’s winter premiere season is officially here!  With all of the new TV programs airing these next few months, Amber West and I have a ton of homework to do.  We have had so much fun these past two weeks posting dual reviews, we’ve decided to do it again!  Will Amber and I agree or disagree after watching NBC’s new sitcom, 1600 Penn?

1600 Penn follows the Gilchrist family… just a normal family dealing with everyday things like adult children moving back home, teenagers who know everything, and step-parents trying to form bonds with their new families.  The only difference is this family has to learn how to do all these things while living in the White House!

The new sitcom stars: Bill Pullman as President Gilchrist… he also played the president in Independence Day… he must enjoy playing POTUS; Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg) as Emily, the president’s new wife; Andre Holland as Marshall, the White House Press Secretary; Josh Gad as Skip, the grown son moving back home with his family; Martha MacIssac as Becca, the president’s oldest daughter, who up until recently has set the perfect example for her younger siblings; and Amara Miller as Marigold.

I don’t require a lot out of the sitcoms that I watch… but I do ask for one thing: for comedy that makes me literally laugh out loud.  And after the two episodes of 1600 Penn that I’ve watched, I didn’t “LOL” one single time.  Not once.  I’m not kidding.

Now, I’m not saying I hated every aspect of the show because I didn’t.   As expected, Jenna Elfman is fantastic… by far the most likable character on the program.  Her comedic genius has been missed on television.  Plus, Andre Holland’s timing and delivery are great.  Heck, even the actors who play the younger Gilchrist children aren’t bad.

But Josh Gad is almost unbearable.  His character is considered a screw up and his actions aren’t funny—they are annoying.  He loves his family and he wants to make his father proud, I just wish they would have written his role in a different manner.  Maybe he’s too cliché for me, or maybe it’s his voice and dialogue; regardless, it only harms the show as far as I’m concerned.

There’s even something wrong with Bill Pullman.  I can’t quite place it, but he looks uncomfortable in his wardrobe and it shows through his performance… almost like he’s being choked.

Characters aside, I will say this: I do appreciate that the sitcom is not political.  Even though the Gilchrist family lives in the White House, and the president attends military briefings here and there, the program is more about the family and the family’s dynamics… something that is lacking on TV today.

When I saw the previews for 1600 Penn initially, I wasn’t sold.  But, as usual, I set my DVR to record the series.  I gave it a shot; I really did; the sitcom just failed miserably as far as I’m concerned.  If I don’t laugh, or at least smile, I won’t watch any further.  For that, I must award NBC’s new Thursday night sitcom with the NIV rating.  Pretty much the only way I will watch this series again is when I’m in bed looking for white noise to help me fall asleep.

Sorry this review is short… there’s just really not much to say.

What do you think?  Have you watched 1600 Penn?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about the new comedy.  Did we agree or disagree?  Trust me; we usually have very different tastes in our television viewing pleasure… if our last two dual reviews didn’t convince everyone.

Come back next week when Amber and I review something…  Stay tuned!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

13 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday—Is “1600 Penn” Laugh Out Loud Funny?”

  1. It’s JUST. SO. BAD.

    And Josh Gad is not only the main character, but a co-creator/producer. Did NBC think that since Book of Mormon was successful and he was in it, that meant he could do this? YIKES.

    1. Um, probably. That’s usually how the networks (and Hollywood) think. So and so was successful in such and such so it’s about time we give them a leading role on our network or in our movie… reap the benefits. Not this time.

      Man, are we being too harsh?

      1. Which is crazy because sometimes that works and sometimes our favorite shows come from relative unknowns. Plus, you gotta give an actor something to work with.

  2. You didn’t slam this show QUITE as bad as Amber did. LOL. It didn’t look good to me anyway. I’m glad I didn’t watch it. I think hubby watched at least one episode. I need to ask him what he thought.

  3. Bill Pullman plays every role I’ve seen him in like he’s the President. Jenna Elfman still has a small piece of my heart from Dharma and Greg days. The portion has decreased some since in an interview she said she’s been married twenty some years.

  4. You were nicer than Amber. You avoided the Liver & Onions rating, and Amber invented an entirely new lower-than-liver “Inedible” category. LOL. See, y’all make me laugh out loud! I’ll avoid this show and just read your blogs instead.

  5. I’m in a minority, but I enjoy it. Although I do agree Skip/Gad are the weak point. But I enjoy Elfman and I actually like Pullman’s stuffy, uncomfortable president. My dad used to be in politics, and President Gilchrist is exactly who he would be if he’d stayed there. I don’t anxiously await new episodes, but I’m not ready to delete 1600 Penn from my DVR yet. But they do need to step it up if they want to stay in the cue.

    Also, I tweeted about watching it last night and got a nice reply from the other co-producer (the one that isn’t Gad). I know it’s all marketing and designed to feed my ego, but I still thought it was nice.

  6. Hi, Tiffany! A spot-on review, I think. It’s a shame, because as you say, the concept of a sitcom based on the dynamics of a blended family living in the White House has a lot of potential. I happened to catch the show last night, and I couldn’t watch all of it. I love Jenna Elfman, but her role wasn’t doing her justice. Bill Pullman was really stiff. The press secretary and the little kid with glasses were bright spots along with Jenna, I thought – but not enough to keep me watching.

    Survivor next week – woo-hoo! 😀

  7. The only thing I recognized Josh Gad from was his guest spot on Numb3rs, and he played the exact same type of whacked out person. The show has actually made me laugh a few times, so I’m watching it, but I agree there’s nothing brilliant about it. When it comes to presidential shows, The West Wing will always be my go-to.

  8. When I saw you were reviewing this I thought – ok I know Tiffany will watch anything but if she says she likes this show I will know her brain has turned to absolute mush! I watched about 5 minutes and thought this is THE worst show, did NO ONE see this before it aired? Did people actually think they had a winner with this one?

    1. Hahahahaha. I am glad my brain hasn’t turned to mush, Malita! I think the network was banking on the big names to bring in the audience. And those names probably worked. Heck, I watched… but not anymore. NBC’s Thursday night is hurting: 30 Rock is over; The Office is ending; Up All Night is falling apart; they’ve already cancelled Do No Harm… that leaves them with 1600 Penn. At least they have Parks and Community…

      1. Amazing to see a network fall so far, after being King of Thursday Comedy for so long and bringing us some of the most loved and iconic shows of our time.

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