‘1600 Penn’, created by ‘Book of Mormon’ star Josh Gad, officially axed by NBC

Josh Gad

Josh Gad

It’s officially execution time at all the major television networks and the first ax to fall has landed on Book of Mormon favorite Josh Gad’s freshman comedy 1600 Penn.

In its first and only season, 1600 Penn struggled to find an audience and received mediocre reviews. It did, however, strike a chord with a select few, with its comedic look at life inside the White House.

The loyal fanbase was something show co-creator Jon Lovett decided to note in his simple tweet after the news broke: “It’s official. 1600 Penn is a cult classic.”

The rest of the cast and crew also acknowledged the cancellation with remorse. Gad, who not only starred in but also co-created and co-wrote the show, sent out a thank you to the rest of the cast and crew for what he called “a hell of a fun ride,” while actor Adam Shapiro, who played White House reporter Evan on the show, echoed Gad’s sentiment. He tweeted, “I love you #1600Penn! It was an honor to work with such an outrageously talented, smart, funny, and generous cast and crew.”

The half an hour comedy from network NBC was a kind of Arrested Development, if the Bluths lived in the White House. In addition to Gad as the President’s eldest son Skip, 1600 Penn also starred Bill Pullman as President Gilchrist, Jenna Elfman as his new trophy wife, Emily Nash-Gilchrist, and Martha MacIsaac as their eldest daughter Becca Gilchrist.

The show ended with the plot twist that accompanied the birth of Becca’s child and the fact that it clearly wasn’t the child of the presumed father D.B. (guest star Robbie Amell) but Becca’s ex and White House Press Secretary Marshall Malloy (Andre Holland). It was a fairly satisfying end to the perennial bubble show. As one tweeter noted, “The surprise isn’t that NBC cancelled ‘1600 Penn’ but that it aired 13 episodes in the first place.”

A scene from the season finale of "1600 Penn."

A scene from the season finale of “1600 Penn.”

But the response to the cancellation was certainly not entirely negative. Many fans rushed to express their sadness to the cast and crew, in the form of love (“So sad that 1600 Penn isn’t going to have a season 2! It was one of my favorites of the year.”) and outrage (“What the hell? NBC gotta [sic] make more room for reality TV s***?”).

The latter was a response not lost on 1600 Penn’s creators. Writer Dan Hernandez tweeted and retweeted by Gad, “Twitter’s surprisingly angry response to @NBC1600Penn getting canceled is pretty f***ing cool. #1600penn #pennheads.”

1600 Penn was cancelled alongside other NBC comedies Guys with Kids, Whitney, and Up All Night. The question now is whether Gad will find a friend in unemployment in his former Book of Mormon co-star Andrew Rannells. It has been long predicted that Rannells’ The New Normal won’t see a second season after poor reviews and dwindling audiences.

There is a certain amount of irony that both Book of Mormon lead actors, Gad and Andrew Rannells (Elder Price) landed on two NBC comedies about dysfunctional families that have from the beginning struggled to find audiences.

Here’s wishing that Rannells fares better than his one-time “little buddy.” Unlike Elder Price, Rannells’ show doesn’t need to get to Orlando. Let’s just hope that The New Normal’s third season becomes a reality rather than a Spooky Mormon Hell Dream.

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