1600 PENN: Josh Gad and Jason Winer on Making Sure Skip Isn't a Caricature - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

1600 PENN: Josh Gad and Jason Winer on Making Sure Skip Isn’t a Caricature

December 17, 2012 by  

NBC is getting a jump start on their midseason premieres by showcasing the pilot of the new comedy, 1600 PENN, after part one of THE VOICE finale tonight.

While some of the promos for the show have made the series seem a little more broad it isn’t. It’s a charming family show that just happens to be set in the White House. And despite what it may look like, Josh Gad’s character, Skip, isn’t a caricature…and the writers and Gad are making an effort to keep it that way.

“It’s actually ironic, because I originally didn’t want to play the character,” Gad — who also co-created the series — told reporters on the set of 1600 PENN last week. “I fought with [fellow co-creators] Jason [Winer] and Jon [Lovett]. I was like, ‘I don’t think I want to play this character, I don’t want it to be too broad, I’ve done that kind of thing before and I feel like it’s important not to do that kind of thing in my career right now.’ And when I started to see the brilliant writing on the page, I was like, ‘If I see anyone else play this role, I’m going to be deeply pissed off. So, I’ve got to tackle it.'”

“And from the beginning, the intention with Skip is to absolutely bring a character who can do the physical comedy,” he continued. “A character who is absolutely causing chaos and is a whirlwind, a tornado and a bull in a china shop. But at the same time, is a golden retriever as [costar] Jenna [Elfman (Emily)] puts it. And it’s those two paradigms I try to juxtapose in every episode: where I am loveable while I’m still doing this stuff. And it comes down to pathos, and it comes down to an understanding — emotionally — of the consequences of some of those actions. And I think beyond the first three episodes, you’ll really see some very touching episodes, where Skip has an emotional response to what’s been done, or what’s been done to him, or what he’s done. And in his relationship with the family, especially with his dad, there’s a real arc there that I think is not only funny but beautiful.”

And those emotions are something Winer pointed out that Skip brings to the table.

“There’s definitely a way into the show comedically through Skip, because as Josh puts it, he is a bull in a china shop,” Winer noted. “On the flip side, Skip is actually really great at some things — most notably communicating emotions; he wears his heart on his sleeve. If there’s one thing his father has to learn, it’s how to share emotions. He’s great at dealing with the crowd, he’s great with dealing with his generals, he’s great at giving orders, but it doesn’t work that way inside of a family. So Josh actually has a lot to teach not only his father, but all the members of this family. And that’s what dimensionalizes him and makes him more than a caricature.”

1600 PENN’s pilot episode airs tonight at 9:30 PM on NBC. Will you be checking it out?

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