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Sit Down, Shut Up
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated comedy takes place in a small-town high school but focuses on the dysfunctional lives of its faculty and staff, a motley crew of pseudo-professionals who don't really like their jobs, their students, or each other very much. Because the series is aimed at adults who appreciate crude humor, there's plenty of iffy material when it comes to kids and teens, from heavy sexual innuendo, bleeped cursing, and audible words like "porno," "nut sack," and "three-way" to crude jokes about doing drugs and drinking -- plus a borderline racist portrayal of a Middle Eastern janitor who speaks "scary Muslim talk." Proceed with caution.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Setting animated characters against a backdrop of live-action scenery, SIT DOWN, SHUT UP follows the antics of the faculty and staff at Knob Haven High School, a place where students "always come second." The mixed bag of dysfunctional educators includes everyman gym teacher Larry Littlejunk (Jason Bateman), body-conscious English instructor Ennis Hofftard (Will Arnett), Creationist science teacher Miracle Grohe (Kristin Chenoweth), put-upon German instructor Willard Deutschebog (Henry Winkler), and bisexual drama teacher Andrew Legustambos (Nick Kroll). The show is based on a popular live-action Australian series by the same name.
Is it any good?
Fans of the now-canceled comedy classic Arrested Development will really want to like this cheeky Fox cartoon dreamed up by Arrested Development writer Mitchell Hurwitz and producers Eric and Kim Tannenbaum of Two and a Half Men. But for some reason, the jokes in Sit Down, Shut Up just don't play out with the same freewheeling hilarity that Hurwitz probably intended.
Yes, we get that even the characters' names are jokes in themselves -- Larry Littlejunk is pretty obvious, Andrew Legustambos (a play on the Spanish words for "he likes both"), less so. But maybe Sit Down, Shut Up falls flat because it relies too much on sophomoric body-part puns instead of the smart comedy viewers were expecting. With all the potential of that wasted voice talent, it's a definite disappointment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about humor that pushes the envelope when it comes to social mores and political correctness. Is it ever useful? Why or why not? Is it possible for something to be funny and offensive at the same time? Parents and kids can also talk about whether audiences would perceive this show any differently if it featured live actors instead of animated characters. Can animated comedy series like this one get away with more when it comes to crude humor because they seem less like real life than live-action?