ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

aIf you're already tired of waiting for the next season of House of Cards to become available on Netflix, Designated Survivor is the perfect show to fill that void. It hasn't been on the air for long, but the political drama is already a runaway hit. Just eight days after its premiere, ABC ordered a full season of David Guggenheim's new series.

Kiefer Sutherland plays Thomas Kirkman, the low-level Secretary of Housing and Urban Development... until an attack kills the President and every member of the Cabinet, overnight making Kirkman the most powerful man in the country. Every President needs a good right-hand man, and in Kirkman's case it's Kal Penn's character Seth Wright, a White House speechwriter.

Surprisingly, Kal Penn's experience is closer to Wright's than some might expect. After starring in stoner comedy classic Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle in 2004, Penn became politically active during Barack Obama's presidential campaign. In 2009 he was named the administration's Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Today, Penn is using his political background to play one of his greatest roles yet.

After trading the White House for ABC Studios, Penn has been eagerly sharing behind-the-scenes photos, videos and fun facts to his fans through Twitter and Instagram. As serious a series as Designated Survivor may be, it looks the cast has a lot of fun when the cameras aren't rolling.

1. Drunkenly Explaining The Plot Of 'Designated Survior'

Penn's friend might be three sheets to the wind in this video, but he gives a surprisingly great summary of the pilot episode.

2. Confusion In The Throne-Room

And apparently this mixup happens often enough that they have to tag all of the toilets and urinals on set.

It's so easy to get confused when you really, really have to pee.

3. Addressing The Nation

The closing scene of the pilot episode was where I became fully committed to watching all of Designated Survivor. Getting to see a bit of how it was made is awesome.

4. Filming Seth's Opener

While the series obviously takes place in D.C., it's filmed at ABC Studios in Toronto, Canada.

5. Spotting Kiefer Sutherland's Motorcade

The motorcade is one thing, but check out that massive set portraying the explosion where the Capitol Building used to be. Pretty impressive.

6. A Terrifying Face Swap

Celebrities take ridiculous Snapchat face swaps just like us regular people!

7. Properly Celebrating A Full Season Pickup

I hope there was champagne popping off-camera to celebrate this incredible cast and crew. Of course, Penn also revealed the ugly truth about the goofy celebration photograph.

8. Meeting Mythical White House Creatures

Emily Rhodes actress Italia Ricci looks stunning even wearing this somewhat unconventional hair accessory.

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9. When Fiction Meets Reality

A debate for the real Oval Office rages on inside of a fake Oval Office. So meta.

10. Lounging Between Takes

I had no idea what shadow-spooning meant prior to this Instagram post, but Kal Penn can come shadow-spoon me anytime!

11. Behind-The-Scenes Pranks

I doubt I'll ever know for sure what Penn was showing Colin Woodell (who plays Tyler Richmond), but whatever it is it looks hilarious and/or disgusting.

12. Kal Penn's Big Scene

In the fourth episode of the series, "The Enemy," Penn's character finally steps into his new role as the White House Press Secretary — and he kicked ass.

13. Showing How Real The Struggle Can Be

Like Designated Survivor fans, the cast can't keep themselves from watching the show the moment it airs. But you'd think it would be a little bit easier for them to watch their own series, right?

Now I don't condone bootlegging, but when your favorite show is on, you have to watch it.

And finally, all was well for the cast of Designated Survivor. Though I'm not sure how happy ABC will be with the actors of the series bootlegging their own show.

For the one show on TV that you definitely should be watching but aren't yet, be sure to check out Designated Survivor. We're only a few episodes into a 22-episode season, so there's still plenty of time to catch up!

Designated Survivor airs Wednesday nights on ABC.


Which of Kal Penn's 'Designated Survivor' behind-the-scenes shares is your favorite?

[Source: Kal Penn Instagram, Twitter]


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