TV Review - 1600 Penn
|Josh Gad stars in "1600 Penn"|
I know a lot of comedies are built on idiocy and have idiotic characters bouncing around. I dare say every sitcom has the resident idiot. Often, those idiots aren't the protagonists but nice supporting characters. This does feel like an ensemble piece like many NBC sitcoms, including Friends and the more recent Parks and Recreation, but there definitely is an effort here to have Josh Gad be more central than Matt LeBlanc or Chris Pratt were on their respective shows.
NBC tried to give LeBlanc's idiot character on Friends his own show where he was the central figure and that show ended quickly. As much as I love Pratt's idiot character on Parks and Recreation, I'm not sure I could take a full-on series where he was the central figure. I probably could if the jokes were really funny, which Amy Poehler and her team do maintain.
Unfortunately, the political humor here doesn't even come close to what Poehler does. 1600 Penn is without any sting, at least not in the first, three episodes. There was more humor in USA's Political Animals, and most of it came from Ciarán Hinds' performance, as a caricature of former President Bill Clinton. The caricature exaggerated all of the fun and foibles associated with Clinton. Pullman's portrayal has no fun or foible to it. It's rather bland.
Instead of seeing Skip crash college parties or couch-dive on furniture in the oval office, it would be more compelling to satirize the political process or politicians much like HBO's Veep does. The series clearly tries to do so. A tennis match with a foreign dignitary is an attempt, but the writers manage to make it about Skip bumbling his way into it. Rather than making the episode about the actual absurdity of diplomatic relations, the writers make it about this absurd, idiotic character whose likeability is quite low.
Two Stars out of Five.
Running Time: 30 mins.
Thursdays at 9:30PM on NBC.