I imagine the meeting that led to FOX’s new animated comedy, Sit Down, Shut Up, went something like this…
Exec #1: You know what we should do? Let’s give Mitch Hurwitz–
Exec #2: The genius who gave us Arrested Development?
Exec #1: That’s right. Let’s give him another show. We’ll team him up with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Will Forte, Kenan Thompson, Cheri Oteri, Kristin Chenowith, Henry Winkler, and Tom Kenny. THEN, we’ll take away all the comedy and humor! That’s thirteen on the air, amirite?
Exec #2: Terry, you’ve done it again! Let’s do some coke.
If his name is Terry, why I am calling him Exec #1? Anyway, so it goes. The new show, which is a reworking of the short-lived Australian sitcom of the same name, premiered tonight, and it… really wasn’t that good. Which is a shame, considering who it’s from and who’s in it. The show follows the exploits of the faculty and staff of a fictitious Florida high school, and while it really doesn’t deserve to be compared to Arrested Development, you look at Hurwitz, Bateman, and Arnett, and what do you expect? So let’s just go with that.
With Arrested, I felt like the humor, no matter how juvenile – read: anything that ever came out of Tobias’ mouth – was always delivered with subtlety and nuance. “Oh, I can just taste those meaty leading man parts in my mouth!” Not so here. The characters all fit into their stereotypes, from Miracle Grohe, the busty blonde who’s just too happy to be alive, to Stuart Proszakian, the tough guy gym teacher. The humor comes off as typical and unimaginative. What? The German teacher buys porn magazines? I bet he wouldn’t want his students to find out! Oh, they did! I bet he hates his job.
It turns out that he does, in fact, hate his job. The show is also suffering from some structure issues. The pilot episode just didn’t seem to have a focus. The jokes were so all over the place that before I knew it, they were at a football game, one of the teachers was taking steroids and had grown his own set of lady parts, they broke to commercial, and then I was watching Family Guy. I guess it works in the sense that, if you don’t like one joke, wait five seconds, but for those who are looking for some sort of coherency, you might be a little disappointed.
Of course, we’ve only seen one episode. I remember watching the first episode of American Dad after the Superbowl back in 2005, and thinking, “This will never last.” Surprise! It’s been renewed for a fifth season, so what the hell do I know? Perhaps Sit Down, Shut Up will eventually find its feet, and succeed. If for no other reason, the show deserves a chance because of its lineup. But then again, have any of you guys seen Southland?