1600 Penn TV Poster Image

1600 Penn

White House comedy with a few mature-ish storylines.
  • Network: NBC
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's not a lot of emphasis on "message," but the show does reinforce the importance of family -- even if individual family members are flawed. Even though it's set in the world of politics, 1600 Penn is rarely "political."

Positive role models

The Gilchrists are dysfunctional by definition, but they somehow make it work. Skip's antics are always well-intentioned -- even though they usually end in disaster. And oldest daughter Becca functions as a surrogate mom to her younger siblings, even though she's far from perfect. That said, people from other countries are often painted with broad, comedic strokes.


Light violence (including fist fights and explosions) is played for comedic effect.


Nothing overt onscreen, but the president's teenage daughter is dealing with the consequences of premarital sex.


Mostly gateway terms like "damn," "ass," and "crap," with a few instances of stronger words ("f--k") that are bleeped for comedic effect.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking, but it's rare.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that 1600 Penn is generally appropriate for families with older teens, who will likely gravitate toward storylines involving the president's two older children. Language is pretty light (mostly gateway words like "damn" and "ass," with the exception of some bleeped swearing for comedic effect), and social drinking and sex are kept to a minimum. That said, there's a storyline early on involving the president's teenage daughter and the repercussions of premarital sex.

What's the story?

When accident-prone Skip (Josh Gad) pulls a headline-making stunt at college, his dad -- sitting President Dale Gilchrist (Bill Pullman) -- promptly pulls him out of school and into the family home at 1600 PENN, where he joins siblings Becca (Martha MacIsaac), Marigold (Amara Miller), and Zander (Benjamin Stockham) and polished stepmom Emily Nash-Gilchrist (Jenna Elfman) in the White House. But Skip has a knack for making mistakes wherever he goes.

Is it any good?


Some critics have billed 1600 Penn as NBC's "answer" to Modern Family -- but if that's true, it's hardly a definitive one. For in spite of the presence of typically bankable leads Pullman and Elfman (and Broadway funnyman Gad, who nabbed rave reviews -- and a Tony nomination -- for his work in "The Book of Mormon"), the pilot, at least, is surprisingly short on laughs. That's not to say the show isn't funny. But the writers have a long way to go until 1600 Penn can be a viable candidate in the race for prime time ratings.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this ficticious First Family compares to real-life White House families, both present and past. How does it compare to other depictions of presidential families on the big and small screens?

  • What do you think it's like to be a kid growing up in the White House? What types of things do you take for granted as a "normal" kid that you might have to give up? (For example, what about your privacy?) Would your mom or dad parent you any differently if he or she was the president?

  • Does 1600 Penn have a political point of view? If so, how can you tell?

TV details

Premiere date:December 17, 2012
Cast:Bill Pullman, Jenna Elfman, Josh Gad
Topics:Brothers and sisters
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

This review of 1600 Penn was written by

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Teen, 14 years old Written byBandit16 January 12, 2013


This show is hallarious! Skip, the presidents son, is a misfit who tries his best to be the son his father wants him to be. Skip is a good role model ( in most instances) because he tries his best to make his father proud. While the show is funny, there are some sexual references. Becca is pregnant, so there is sexual talk such as how it happened and when. Over all, 4 stars!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Educator and Parent Written byspeedy1893 January 11, 2013

surprisingly good

As a very conservative pro-life family, I was delighted to see the reaction of adults in the show to the surprise news of unexpected pregnancy. I wish the real world reacted that way. NO BODY even suggested that the pregnancy was unwanted or inconvenient. I KNOW in real life there would be many who would assume that this unwed mother would kill the baby. I hope the show continues to have a pro-life tone.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent Written byBig chris January 11, 2013

Funny new idea

Two stars wat the crap comon senes I watched this show and thought it was hilarious loved it I really recommend this show to any one :)