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The New Republic

"1600 Penn" and the Tedium of the Goofball White House Comedy

May 10, 2013

Former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett may be a co-creator of the show, but “1600 Penn,” which premieres tonight on NBC, stays far away from actual politics. The mechanics of government get clownishly redrawn: the Oval Office is a revolving door of foreign dignitaries with wacky accents, the president’s son can schmooze his way into an international trade agreement negotiation, and the situation room is the site of urgent debriefs about the personal life of the president’s daughter. As White House comedies go, the show’s closest relative currently on television is probably “The First Family,” a syndicated sitcom about a black president that similarly uses the duties of statecraft as little more than a foil for the first family

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