The cast of the TV series 1600 Penn, from left, Benjamin Stockham, Martha MacIsaac (seated), Bill Pullman (seated), Amara Miller, Josh Gad, Jenna Elfman (seated) and Andre Holland.
The cast of the TV series 1600 Penn, from left, Benjamin Stockham, Martha MacIsaac (seated), Bill Pullman (seated), Amara Miller, Josh Gad, Jenna Elfman (seated) and Andre Holland. NBC/Chris Haston - Contributed by Foxtel

1600 Penn's a family tale

FUNNY woman Jenna Elfman feels privileged to be playing a First Lady in the new presidential comedy 1600 Penn.

The US sitcom follows the misadventures of fictional US President Dale Gilchrist, played by Bill Pullman, and the colourful first family.

"It's an ordinary family with all of its trials and tribulations that families have, but you have this amazing heightened address called the White House," said Elfman, who plays polished First Lady Emily.

"They're also living in a 24-hour news cycle, so what would be a minor to normal challenge in a normal family who lives at a normal address comes under the microscope of living in the White House and having the media there.

"Every situation that the family deals with takes an interesting turn and curve."

Emily is in a tough, but relatable position as the stepmother to Dale's four children.

"In the public eye on any other subject matter she's great," she said.

"But when it comes to her Achilles heel (the children) being involved she's not so good."

1600 Penn - The Comedy Channel - Sundays at 8.30pm Qld, 9.30pm NSW.

Sparking many of the comedic situations is Dale's awkward by lovable son Skip, played by series co-producer Josh Gadd.

"I'm obsessed with Josh," Elfman said.

"Skip always has a piece of help he does end up bringing despite creating a lot of collateral damage along the way. Everyone has something to learn from Skip."

While its storylines and characters are fictional, the show has a sense of realism thanks to co-creator Jon Lovett, who is a former speech writer for US President Barack Obama.

The only real-life figures who appear in the show are media personalities like Larry King and NBC newsreader Savannah Guthrie.

"Larry King interviewed us as the President and First Lady. It all felt very real," Elfman said.

"I thought 'wow this is probably what this really would feel like'."


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