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Case Number 19393: Small Claims Court

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White House Revealed

Smithsonian Channel // 2008 // 51 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // July 31st, 2010

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All Rise...

Every time Judge Franck Tabouring calls for his butler, he receives a deserved slap from his wife.

The Charge

There's no place like home—especially if you're the president.

The Case

If you ever wondered what is really going on behind the walls of the White House when the president is not sitting in his office running the country, I suggest you check out White House Revealed. Smithsonian Networks' one-hour program offers viewers an informative inside look at one of the world's most well-known residences. The White House is primarily perceived as the place where the president makes big decisions affecting the entire United States of America, but a closer look at the beautiful white mansion reveals that it's also a simple home to a family trying to live a relatively normal life.

White House Revealed, which is narrated by Martin Sheen, is a very instructional program because it doesn't primarily focus on the numerous presidents who lived at the White House. The real stars of this show are the numerous workers who constantly work hard to make sure the president and his family can enjoy comfort and privacy when they need it. The White House may often host many powerful politicians, but it is also the home of a large group of ushers, chefs, butlers, electricians, and florists working to ensure the show is always going on behind the scenes. They all have tons of compelling stories to tell, and this program gives them the chance to chat about their experiences sharing a place with people like Ronald Reagan, the Clintons, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush.

Boasting a solid collection of photographs, archived footage, graphics, and interviews, White House Revealed offers viewers a lot of information about life in the White House in just under an hour. Members of the staff talk about what it takes to keep the presidential family happy day and night, and they also reveal what the atmosphere was like at the White House during important historical events and presidential scandals. Some of the interviews get quite emotional, primarily because many staff members explain they got quite attached to the presidents and their families. Needless to say, most of the stories are very entertaining, and that's the main reason this program succeeds.

Don't expect a detailed tour of the White House, though. A series of brief animations shows us where specific rooms are, but that's about it. The show's real mission is to provide the workers with an opportunity to explain what they do and what it was like working with different presidential families. The program also includes an interview with George H.W. Bush and his wife, who in return offer their take on the staff. Other stories we get to hear from ushers and chefs revolve around what former presidents liked to eat, what they did in their free time, and how they reacted to events such as 9/11 or the Monica Lewinsky scandal. There's a lot of variety when it comes to content.

White House Revealed is presented in full frame, and the DVD boasts an overall solid picture quality. In terms of sound, the disc comes with both a surround and a stereo track. You won't find any special features on this one, but you can catch a glimpse of other programs released by Smithsonian Networks.

I can only recommend White House Revealed. It's a program about hardworking people whose efforts are crucial to the ways things are running at the White House, and it offers some great stories that help viewers better understand what it takes to live this close to the president and his family. Smithsonian Networks can definitely keep these shows coming.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Smithsonian Channel
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 51 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• Official Site

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