Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—1600 Penn, season 1 (2012-2013) **

TV-PG, 13 23-min. episodes
Creators: Josh Gad, Jon Lovett, Jason Winer

Directors: Jason Winer, Jennifer Getzinger, Ken Whittingham, David Grossman, Gail Mancuso

Writers: Josh Gad, Jon Lovett, Jason Weiner, Mike Broyce, Joe Port, Joe Wiseman, Peter A. Knight, Sanjay Shah, Laura Gutin Peterson, Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Bridget Bedard, Ryan Raddatz

Starring: Josh Gad, Jenna Elfman, Martha MacIsaac, Andre Holland, Amara Miller, Benjamin Stockham, Bill Pullman

Guest starring: Miguel Sandoval, Jay Leno, Willie C. Carpenter, Peter Jason, Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist, Stacy Keach, Susan Park, Constance Towers, Mary Pat Gleason, Savannah Guthrie, Rene Auberjonois, Robbie Amell, Rebecca Wisocky, David St. James, Missi Pyle, Jane Edith Wilson, Bruce Campbell, Mary Hart, Chuck Todd, Tim Bagley, Lucia Vecchio, Mike Moonves, Matt Corboy, Henry Winkler, Hannah Simone, Adam Shapiro

The future doesn’t look good for this freshman sitcom centered on a new First Family in the White House. The brainchildren of the series are star Josh Gad and his writing partners Jon Lovett and Jason Winer, I’m slightly aghast that it got on air to begin with. With not much pedigree behind the curtains here, NBC went full bore into putting the pedigree on screen. Nabbing big names Jenna Elfman and Bill Pullman as the FLOTUS and POTUS to back up Gad’s antics would’ve placed this mid-season replacement series on the top of any other network’s visibility scale.

NBC certainly tried to sell this political comedy, but it never quite seemed to mesh. Gad is the focal point, playing the ineptitude that has highlighted his film career as the joke of a best friend. His shtick doesn’t play as well as the lead because it’s just too hard to believe this buffoon as someone holding the public’s attention. The writers did a good job spreading the story lines around to other members of the First Family, but none of the rest of the family really gets a good chance to find their footing.

Certainly a sitcom about the First Family does hold a good deal of potential in the current climate where most people get their political news from a fake comedy news program. It might’ve been interesting to see this show develop further. It needed a little less of Gad’s idiotic behavior, however, and a little more political bite to it. This is one of those shows that no one will remember even existed in a couple of years.

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