Pilot Perception: 1600 Penn

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: 1600 Penn, NBC, Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c (It will air on City TV in Canada, but their site does not have a premiere date or timeslot listed.)

The Pedigree: The show was created and written by star Josh Gad (The Book of Mormon) along with Jason Winer (Modern Family) and Jon Lovett. The pilot was directed by Jason Winer.

The Cast & How You Know Them: In addition to Gad, 1600 Penn stars Bill Pullman (Independence Day, Torchwood), Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg), Martha MacIsaac (Emily of New Moon, Greek), Amara Miller (The Descendants), Benjamin Stockham (Sons of Tucson), and Andre Holland (Friends with Benefits).

The Premise: This comedy follows the hijinks of President Dale Gilchrist and his family, including his childish oldest son, his perfectionist daughter, his mischievous younger children, and his second wife.

A Taste: Even better than a taste, you can watch the whole pilot right here!

What Works: I’ll admit that I wasn’t particularly hopeful going into this one, but I found myself laughing a few times, and some of the characters pulled me in just enough to make me want to see another episode. I’m particularly interested in the (slightly surprising) storyline of the oldest daughter, and in the family dynamics in general.

What Doesn’t: I’m generally not a fan of the type of overgrown little boy character that Josh Gad plays here, but your mileage may vary. And everything about politics and White House protocol and related matters is completely ridiculous; if you follow those things at all in real life, you’ll have to turn your brain off to have any hope of enjoying this show.

Our Favorite Line: “Xander and Marigold were sent home from school for fighting.” “They have an armed escort. Who were they fighting?”

You Might Like This if you like family comedies; the network is describing it as Modern Family meets The West Wing, and that’s not actually as far off as I expected. But it’s definitely heavier on the family and wacky comedy stuff than the political stuff, at least in the pilot.

If You’re Interested: Watch the pilot above or tonight on NBC at 8:30/7:30c, and then tune into NBC tonight at 9:30/8:30c for an all new episode.

(Photo courtesy of NBC.)

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