It's hard to imagine anything less funny than 1600 Penn, NBC's new Thursday-night sitcom. It's aggressively unfunny. You can sit through an entire episode, mouth agape in genuine disbelief, and not only fail to see one second of film that makes you think about laughing but actually forget what it felt like the last time you laughed.
Bill Pullman plays the president of the United States. If that doesn't scare you away, he's surrounded by some of the most annoying kids ever put on screen. The oldest one, Skip (played with mawkish stupidity by Josh Gad), appears to be the character the producers think everyone will love. Gad happens to be one of those producers, incidentally, as well as the show's co-creator. He recently told NBC, "Skip is truly a bull in a china shop." He's more like a sloth with syphilis in a burned-down comedy club.
The first two episodes, which aired on the same unmerciful night, are polluted with enough sitcom contrivances to make Saved by the Bell look like Full Metal Jacket.
For instance, when the president's daughter finds out she's pregnant, she accidentally talks about it with a microphone clipped to her dress. Later, she and Skip accidentally walk into a packed White House press room. Skip says embarrassing things but ends up redeeming himself after a series of predictable misunderstandings.
In a promotional interview, Gad implored audiences, "Please watch. I'm begging you, 'cause you don't want to see what could happen." That sounds like a legitimate threat.
Then again, it's a very unrealistic show. I mean, a white president? Come on.