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Sit Down, Shut Up

Fox, Sundays, 8:30/7:30 Central

Apr 25, 2009
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Fox seems to be attempting to lick Arrested Development fans’ old wounds with the underwhelming Sit Down, Shut Up. The live-action/animation comedy, reshuffled from a hit live-action Australian sitcom, is untidily sandwiched between The Simpsons and Family Guy. Ultimately, it comes across as a petulant younger cousin to its older “Sunday Animation Domination” relatives. The series follows a ne’er-do-well group of educators and staff at a Florida high school who definitely aren’t trying to pull a Dangerous Minds on their kids. In fact, students are relegated to the backdrop. The role reversal isn’t exactly novel though. Many remember Fox had Miss Guided before they let ABC cart it off.

That’s not to say Sit Down, Shut Up doesn’t have its own merits; this upstart is overflowing with talent. Mitchell Hurwitz executive produces and is joined by fellow Arrested mates Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Henry Winkler, who play P.E. teacher Larry Littlejunk, “pseudo-jock English teacher” Ennis Hofftard, and German teacher Willard Deutschebog, respectively. (All the Arrested Development fans reading this just clutched their chests in excitement, as this reviewer surely did.) The animation is jarring at first but also charming in its simplicity. The jokes are often hurled at the viewer in Arrested Development-styled clusters. When Arnett and Batemen are lobbing some land, while others just hang uncomfortably in the air.

The insipid pilot spends much of its time introducing the viewer to the series’ unflagging love of body part humor and sophomoric word play. Perusing the names of the rest of the vocal cast gives you an indication of the type of humor you can expect. Kenan Thompson is the acting principal Sue Sezno (catchphrase: “No”), Will Forte is billed as Assistant Principal Stuart Proszakian (or “ass. Principal” or “ass. Coach”), Cheri Oteri plays librarian Helen Klench, the ever-bubbly Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) is the spiritually delusional science teacher Miracle Grohe, and Tom Kenny’s custodian Muhannad Sabeeth “Happy” Fa-ach Nuabar rounds out the dysfunctional faculty. There’s also Andrew LeGustambos as the bisexual drama teacher, but his pansexual jokes drop out the bottom on delivery.

The pilot may have landed with a thud but more elaborate comedy holds suit on the second episode, “Miracles Are Real.” Using a school carnival as its centerpiece, the second helping provides more laughs surrounding the never-quite-there relationship between Bateman’s mentally grounded Littlejunk and the religious, yet mentally aloof Grohe. There’s definitely still hope and wobbly starts are harder to tank animation shows over more narrative-heavy fare. Sit Down, Shut Up has five episodes this spring, with the possibility for more next fall. With such a perplexing schedule, Fox may have another Arrested Development on their hands. The only difference is: maybe it’s best to leave this in the teacher’s lounge. (

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 4/10


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