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MARINATING

TV sitcom ‘1600 Penn’ has the wrong address for laughs

Saturday, February 9, 2013 - 12:01 am

From what I've read, “1600 Penn,” the new Thursday sitcom, has been getting some decent reviews. One even wrote it was NBC's answer to “Modern Family.” Umm, no. “Modern Family” is funny.

Have we forgotten that sitcom is short for situation comedy? Granted, they've got the situation part down, although it is not very original.

As the title suggests, “1600 Penn” is set inside the White House. Wow, why hasn't someone thought of that before? Oh, wait, someone has — time and time again. Other than that, it is no different from every other situation comedy out there, minus the comedy part.

This was just another stereotypical show, putting way too much emphasis on the screw-up of a son who, despite acting like a jerk the first 20 minutes of the few episodes I've seen, saves the day in the end.

The son, Skip, is played by Josh Gad, who, not surprisingly, had a hand in creating and writing the show. I get the feeling he pictures himself as some sort of comic genius like John Belushi. Trust me, Josh — you're not.

Bill Pullman was great as the president in “Independence Day.” Now, instead of fighting aliens, he deals — mostly ineffectively — with his loser of a son. Apparently, a world crisis can wait.

Also, as evidenced by “Dharma & Greg” more than a decade ago, Jenna Elfman can be one of the funniest actresses on television. Here, she just stands around looking pretty until the aforementioned and ever-present Skip does something stupid again.

Needless to say, we don't have to wait very long for that to happen. Hence Dharma — I mean, Ms. Elfman — gets annoyingly little air time before we're back to goofball again.

I don't think I'll be sticking around to see if he matures as the season progresses — if it progresses. Very disappointing.

Mike Marin is a cranky curmudgeon who, when he’s not yelling at kids to get off his lawn, likes to complain about the sad state of popular culture, especially as seen through a TV screen. His email address is marinating@tribune.com. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.