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TV Column
Posted at 11:12 AM ET, 01/07/2013

Cameos from real politicians would ‘destroy’ NBC’s ‘1600 Penn’ universe

Joe Biden will not be asked to guest-star in an episode of NBC’s new White House comedy, “1600 Penn,” but real media figures are welcome — at least NBC ones, and Larry King, according to the show’s exec producers, including former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett.


Amara Miller, Benjamin Stockham, Jason Winer, Mike Royce, Jon Lovett, Andre Holland, Josh Gad, Jenna Elfman, Bill Pullman, and Martha MacIsaac talk ‘1600 Penn.’ (Frederick M. Brown - GETTY IMAGES)
“It would destroy the universe” of the show to have real-live Washington politicians wandering into the scene, Lovett told TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2013, talking about the show in which “Book of Mormon’s” Josh Gad plays Skip Gilchrist, hapless son of politically ambiguous president Bill Pullman and first lady Jenna Elfman.

Asked if they’d invite NBC personality Donald Trump — who’d threatened to run for president and was an outspoken critic of President Obama during the race — on the show, Lovett joked, “We don’t engage in hypotheticals.”

Elfman got asked which first lady — other than Michelle Obama — she most admires. “Anyone but her,” the critic said, noting that Dolley Madison, for instance, is said to have been the perfect hostess. (Elfman went with Eleanor Roosevelt for her gumption and Jackie Kennedy for her fashion sense.)

“I wonder if all of you could rank all 44 presidents,” asked another critic.

“Are there any issues that you worry about trivializing by reducing them to light family comedy?” asked yet another critic, noting that “Bill jokes, as President Obama has done in the real world, about using drones to take out his daughters’ romantic partners, even though the administration has actually killed teenage boys with drones overseas.”

“Well, this is heavy family comedy,” exec producer Jason Winer shot back.

Yet another critic seemed to have an issue with Elfman’s character being the president’s second wife and therefore stepmom to the first kids, wondering if there had ever been a president with a second wife.

“Ronald Reagan. Was that a trick question?” Gad asked, feigning innocence.

“You’ve got Google, right?” Elfman snapped at the critic.

When one critic wondered if they just wrote episodes up to a point, after which Gad takes off doing crazy stuff, Michael Royce said he’s read all of their reviews of the series.

“Some of you are d---s,” Gad weighed in.

One critic asked Gad why he took the role on this show.

“Money,” Gad said, adding, “I based my character on Malia, by the way.”

By  |  11:12 AM ET, 01/07/2013

 
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