TV review: ‘1600 Penn’

Bill Pullman and a bunch of other talented actors are completely wasted in the bland 1600 Penn.

The Details

1600 Penn
Two stars
Premieres December 17, 9:30 p.m., NBC; subsequent episodes air Thursdays, 9:30 p.m., starting January 10

In Independence Day, Bill Pullman played an American president who rallied humanity to fight off an alien invasion. Now, 16 years later, he’s playing another president on NBC’s 1600 Penn, this one a typical clueless sitcom dad who just happens to be Head of State. Instead of saving the world, Pullman’s President Dale Gilchrest has to deal with his wacky family: a doofus slacker son (Josh Gad) who dropped out of college; an uptight daughter (Martha MacIsaac) who’s about to be a single mother; and an insecure second wife (Jenna Elfman) who is desperate to win the approval of both politicians and her stepchildren (including two younger, less prominent siblings). The show imports tired sitcom storylines to the White House setting (the Austrian chancellor is coming for dinner, and the First Lady accidentally broke all the priceless Austrian china!) with little creativity, then tops them off with bland life lessons. An alien invasion would be a definite improvement.


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