Sit Down, Shut Up: an animated Arrested Development?

Zack Rosenblatt (’09)/Eastside Entertainment Editor

Thanks to its success over the years with “Simpsons” and “Family Guy” (and to a lesser extent, “American Dad”), FOX has firmly established itself as the leader in animated television series. On Sunday FOX added a new animated series to its line-up at 8:30, sandwiching “Sit Down, Shut Up” between “Simpsons” and “Family Guy” (which is probably just an attempt at a ratings boost for the new show).

 

“Sit Down, Shut Up” follows the lives of the selfish, creepy and unqualified teachers at Knob Haven High, who couldn’t care less about the students they are in charge of. The fact that the show is from the mind of Mitchell Hurwitz, the creator behind “Arrested Development,” was enough to convince me to take a look. Even better, “AD” alums Jason Bateman, Henry Winkler and Will Arnett also lend their voices to the show.

 

In addition to Bateman, Arnett and Winkler, the promising voice cast also includes “SNL” members Keenan Thompson and Will Forte, along with Kristen Chenowith (“Pushing Daises”) and Tom Kenny (voice of Spongebob Squarepants).

 

“Sit Down, Shut Up” may not exactly be “Arrested Development: The Animated Series,” but there are certainly numerous similarities between the two comedies, especially with the dry (oftentimes inappropriate) humor, sarcasm and dialogue. The pilot episode of “Sit Down” was not anything to get very excited about, but if fans (and FOX) can be patient I have a feeling this show will get a lot better. The pilot did what pilots are supposed to do, which is introduce the main characters and give the audience an idea of what the show is all about.

 

The plot for the pilot addresses a looming firing of one staff member, along with problems with drugs at the school. The show takes an interesting approach to introducing each individual character. As we meet all nine characters, each one gives a role call where we learn his/her name, position at the school and “catchphrase” (a play on the fact that so many shows nowadays find it necessary to apply a catchphrase to every character).

 

As I said earlier, the pilot for “Sit Down, Shut Up” is nothing to write home about, but the first half hour produces enough laughs to suggest that the show has a promising future ahead. On Sunday, the show did a bit worse than many expected ratings-wise. (It finished fourth in terms of total viewers for its timeslot, according to tvbythenumbers.com.)  But unless FOX pulls another “Arrested Development” and cancels a top-notch comedy way before it should, “Sit Down, Shut Up” should be around for at least a season or two. The witty dialogue and all-star voice cast should be enough to carry this show.