Remember the movie The American President? 1600 Penn is absolutely nothing like that, despite being a show that revolves around the President and First Family. Bill Pullman stars as President Dale Gilchrist (nothing like the president he played in the film Independence Day), the leader of the Free World. He and his new wife (Jenna Elfman as Emily Gilchrist) are not only trying to run the country, but also raise his four children. Josh Gad stars as Skip Gilchrist, Dale’s clueless son who is forced to return home from school after one too many pranks gone wrong. Martha MacIsaac stars as Becca Gilchrist, Dale’s daughter who discovers that she is pregnant in the pilot, setting in motion a scandal that could rock the White House. In addition to Dale’s two other young children (Marigold and Xander), the show stars Andre Holland as Marshall Malloy, the President’s loyal press secretary who tries his best to keep the crazy First Family out of the tabloids.
Is 1600 Penn worth your time? Pullman proves himself a worthy comedic actor (which isn’t surprising given his humorous turn in the Mel Brooks film Spaceballs) and Elfman is also quite funny as Emily (also not surprising given her previous starring role in Dharma and Greg). Josh Gad is coming off of the success of the Broadway show Book of Moron and while Skip is amusing, he’s definitely a Jack Black type of character you’ve seen before. Comedies haven’t been terribly successful this fall season, but 1600 Penn is amusing enough to keep you laughing and has a little bit of heart.
NBC will air the pilot of 1600 Penn tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT after The Voice. The show will officially make its debut in its regular timeslot on Thursday, January 10 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. You can watch two previews for the show below.