1600 Penn Review: "Meet the Parent" (Episode 1.04)
In an insane way, 1600 Penn has become more tolerable with “Meet the Parent” by expanding on my problems with the show. See, 1600 Penn is an OK show without the craziness of Skip. He’s less of a dumb, seven-year college student and more of a seven-year-old. His type of stupidity is more distracting than hilarious. Yet to create the best episode of 1600 Penn so far, the show introduces us to another unintelligent character and works.
After hearing of him, we finally meet the father of Becca’s child, D.B. Instead of working in the Navy, like Becca thought, he actually works at the Old Navy at the Friendship Heights Mall. (Side note: I live in the D.C. area, and there is no such thing as the Friendship Heights Mall, nor does the closest mall to Friendship Heights have an Old Navy. But I digress.) Once again, we meet a character who is dumber than the rest of the Gilcrest family, yet not in a painful way like Skip. He’s more of a misinformed type of dumb, rather than Skip’s “maybe you guys should get me tested” kind of idiocy.
Skip is actually on the backburner for most of the episode, another reason why “Meet the Parent” works better than previous episodes. Besides setting up an impromptu date between Becca and D.B., doing a few magic tricks and naming Becca’s baby Master Chief, he’s just running around, except this time with no purpose. The Gilchrist family probably doesn’t mind, since this is also the first week since he’s been home that he hasn’t announced a huge family problem to the press.
The biggest problem for the Gilchrist family is the arrival of the Austrian chancellor, who is disappointed that they are eating on the wrong china. The White House apparently has a set of china that had been painstakingly been brought to them from Austria. When Emily hears this, she goes to change the china that she chose not to put out and destroys it all. By the end, the Austrians break something of the Gilchrists’ accidentally, and everything is forgiven.
It seems like President Gilchrist should have more to do this episode, what with using his war room to find D.B. and then drilling him in the Oval Office. But for the most part, he’s just there to sit next to Emily on her story and throw out a few lines about how he’s the most powerful man in the world. I mean, he has flying robots with cameras on them!
If there’s one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb in “Meet the Parent” it’s just how little continual story any of these characters have, with the exception of Becca. Skip is running around causing havoc, the president and Emily are always just introducing new visitors and Xander and Marigold are nowhere to be seen. The most interesting story is the one between Becca and Marshall, which is only briefly mentioned here and there, but should have more of an importance the closer the show gets to the birth of Master Chief.
Even though 1600 Penn can’t seem to nail down the characters that it does have, the introduction of D.B. does seem promising. It shakes up the Gilchrist family more so than bringing Skip back to the White House or having Becca become pregnant, because those are elements introduced at the very beginning of the show. The writers seem to think that these were huge shockers, yet these are just characteristics of these characters that we otherwise knew nothing about. But bringing D.B. into the mix, as well as some increased material for Marshall, could at least make 1600 Penn more intriguing than it has been thus far.