TV review: Sit Down & Shut Up

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

As someone who appreciates Arrested Development but cannot boast an encyclopedic knowledge of this decade's most acclaimed comedy, I approached Sit Down, Shut Up with tempered expectations. Series creator Mitch Hurwitz didn't need to uphold his previous show's legacy to please me here.

So allow me to assess Fox's latest animated sitcom for the portion of the population that hasn't yet succumbed to Arrested Development obsession. (Because Lord knows most TV critics are watching through Bluth-colored lenses.)

If you found AD's rapid-fire stream of bizarre sight gags and meta-references exhausting, Sit Down, Shut Up might make you puke. The show, which follows the faculty at Florida's Knob Haven High School, is absurdly dense with dialogue and layers upon layers of subtext. It's abrasive and irritating, which often masks the fact that it's actually quite funny, too.

Hurwitz took the Family Guy approach here, trotting out joke after joke after joke and praying something will stick. In last weekend's pilot, plenty of those punch lines connected, but all the self-awareness and strange behavior was more disorienting than satisfying.

With some of TV's smartest brains behind the scenes and a cast that includes heavy hitters Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Will Forte and Kristin Chenoweth, Sit Down, Shut Up has a lot going for it. But unless the show takes its own advice, if only for a few seconds now and then, you'd be better off with Peter Griffin.

"Sit Down, Shut Up"

8:30 p.m. Sundays, Fox

Grade: C+