Sit down, shut off
I'll make this relatively short since the pilot of "Sit Down, Shut Up" -- which I watched on DVR last night -- is SOOOOOOO not worth more than a few paragraphs. Instead, I'll just express my utter disappointment that something so directly tied to the "Arrested Development" family could not only fail to make me laugh once, but actually made me cringe a few times with its 7th grade style joke telling.
Let's run down the credentials, shall we?
Mitch Hurwitz, creator of "Arrested Development," which might boast the finest first season in TV comedy history.
Jason Bateman. Will Arnett. Henry Winkler. All from the "AD" tree.
Kristin' freakin Chenoweth looking super hot even as a cartoon character.
Oddball voices from the occasionally funny Will Forte and Cheri Oteri of "Saturday Night Live" fame.
Mind you, I didn't try to peg this show as the second coming of "AD." If I wasn't going to go that route with "Parks and Recreation," I certainly wouldn't do it for an animated show. Totally unfair.
Yet while the comparison shouldn't be made, there's too much familiarity with the "AD" crew to completely ignore the connections, as loose as they are in terms of the show's actual context. Ultimately though, it's about laughs. And "Sit Down," honest to goodness, deserves an F.
In terms of a premise, the show is set in a high school and revolves around kooky, unstable teachers and, at least for the pilot, a loose reality of layoffs and suspected drug use inside Knob Haven. The show relies heavily on meta humor (Bateman's character asks "Mitch" for a flashback at one point, Forte's character annoyingly mutters the line, "I need a catchphrase.") and stupid, sophomoric jokes like the literal search for a "sack of nuts."
Wink, wink character names like Willard Deutschebog (Winkler) and Larry Littlejunk (Bateman) add layers of stench to the steaming turd pile, while a bisexual drama teacher named Andrew LeGustambos (Nick Kroll) is a cliched abomination of epic proportions. Even the ease with which the show lobs softball after softball about Chenoweth's religious fundamentalist character, Miracle Grohe (OK, mildly amusing), seems way too cheap and familiar.
Sorry to be this harsh, but even "Family Guy" and its lazy "Oh, hey it's Dana Plato from the 80's!" pop culture references reaches for a higher ceiling.
Now judging any show by its pilot can be an exercise in futility, but it's hard to imagine anyone deciding to stick with "Sit Down" -- even for a cheap thrills animated comedy block -- based on the redundant, undeveloped riffs from Sunday. Say what you will about "AD" relying heavily on puns, insane randomness and yes, silly character names like Bob Loblaw and Maeby/Surely, but MY GOD, at least all the mile-a-minute gags felt connected to some kind of foundation -- the dysfunctional Bluth family -- that managed to be consistently funny.
"Sit Down" has none of that, and at least for this viewer, was so incredibly disappointing, I couldn't bare to give it another half hour investment. In fact, just watching the strained effort put forth by the pilot made me seriously, seriously give pause to an "Arrested Development" movie being made.
To paraphrase Gob Bluth, Mitch Hurwitz could be making a huge mistake.
-- Thomas Rozwadowski, firstname.lastname@example.org