'Sit Down, Shut Up'

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The problem with Fox's "Sit Down, Shut Up" isn't that it tries to be a meta-comedy that pokes fun at other animated series, riffing on everything from characters' desire to have catchphrases to having them joke about having their dialogue bleeped. No, the problem is that the show just isn't funny.

It's one thing to make sly nods in the viewer's direction; it's another to stock a series with characters named Miracle Grohe and Sue Sezno and expect people not to wince every time those puns slam home.

Writer and exec producer Mitchell Hurwitz is in the unenviable position of trying to follow his success with "Arrested Development," one of the best TV comedies ever. But that show had stronger writing, editing and chemistry among the leads, and the characters on "Sit Down" never will be anything other than caricatures. Mixing animated protagonists with live-action backdrops, the series feels like a moderately amusing short that has been turned into a show.

"Sit Down" revolves around the faculty of Knob Haven High. Jason Bateman voices the coach, Larry Littlejunk, whose name is funny once if you're 17, funny twice if you're high and lamented by anyone wanting to see real comedy.

Every joke is telegraphed a mile off, especially the attempts to break the fourth wall, like when Larry reminisces about a time Miracle (Kristin Chenoweth) went topless, and he repeatedly asks for a flashback. It's painful to watch how hard the show tries to be funny, especially considering how hilarious and brilliant Hurwitz has proved he can be. (partialdiff)
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