On TV: Just because you can ask a question doesn't mean you should

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The thing about the Television Critics Association press tour is that we all get to ask whatever questions we want. And I'm good with that.

But some questions from my fellow critics are just downright stupid. Like this one for the folks at "1600 Penn" — a sitcom set inside the White House that features a president (Bill Pullman) and his second wife (Jenna Elfman):

"Has there ever been a [president who has] a second wife in the with White House?"

"Ronald Reagan," star/executive producer Josh Gad replied. "Was that a trick question?"

"You've got Google, right?" Elfman asked.

(If you do Google it, you'll discover Nancy Reagan was preceded by second wives Julia Tyler, Edith Wilson, Frances Cleveland, Edith Roosevelt.)


That was just sort of silly, but we've all had brain cramps.

Far dumber was the question that took issue with the show for a line in which the fictional president gives the guy who got his daughter pregnant a hard time, saying, "I have robots that roam the sky."

"Are there any issues that you worry about trivializing by reducing them to light family comedy? … About using drones to take out his daughter's romantic partners. Even though the Administration has actually killed teenage boys with drones overseas. I mean, are there some issues that you think are not appropriate for light family comedy?"

Really? That's what you got out of that?

It was belligerent, ridiculous and embarrassing. And brought big groans from most of the reporters in the room.

Scott D. Pierce