TV Review: The White House: Inside Story (2016)

Posted: November 19, 2016 in Documentary, TV


Which president planned the building of the White House?  Which invading army burned the White House to the Ground?  Who built The West Wing of the White House?  Who built the Oval Office?  What is the purpose of the East Wing of the White House? Who renovated the White House?  Who redecorated the White House? What is the Resolute Desk? What are the many roles of the White House staff?  What is the relationship of different presidents to the White House press? What role did the various First Ladies play?  How did the president communicate with his cabinet on 9/11? This documentary answers this and many other questions.

There’s a lot of information in this documentary, some of it very touching, and some of it very serious. But some of it is pure fluff.  Moreover, the documentary lacks focus, sometimes it’s focused on the staff, other times it’s focused on the furnishings and renovations, and still other times there is talk of the assassinations.  The result is a documentary without focus, where the viewer is whipsawed emotionally, from elation to grief and every emotion in between.

This documentary has no central theme other than, ‘All these things took place in the White House.’ That is not enough to sustain this documentary.  There is the hint of a theme, the White House as seen through the eyes of the White House staff, but the writers don’t pursue that theme throughout.  Instead the writers and producers opt for interviews with the current and past presidents and first ladies, architecture, decorating, and so it loses any point of view.  If a viewer wants to learn a lot of disjointed factoids about the White House and its occupants, then this is the documentary for you.   This documentary, though entertaining, does not have a reason for being made.

I hope the future President of the country has as much reverence for the White House as this documentary does.  Please Mr. President-Elect, no gold plated walls on the White House, and don’t put your name on the White House.  It’s not your house, it’s the people’s house.

The White House: Inside Story.  A House divided cannot stand.

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