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Sit Down. Shut Up. Be Funny. Please.

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 15, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 15, 2009 |

The new animated series,”Sit Down, Shut Up,” premieres this Sunday on FOX. It comes from creator Mitch Hurwitz, who brought along several of his “Arrested Development” cast members to provide some of the voice-work for the series, including Jason Bateman, Will Arnett,and Henry Winkler. There’s also Kristen Chenoweth, Will Forte, and Keenan Thompson.

Great creator, cool cast, and yet, why am I not feeling it after seeing these two clips, which seem to lack something. Off-the-wall comedy? Irreverent humor? Or maybe, the humor is so layered that I just don’t get it — Keenan Thompson voices the black female teacher. How is that not funny. Well, let’s see. Here are some examples:

But you know what? I’ll definitely give it a shot. Maybe the clips work better within the context of the entire show. Maybe. It’s Mitch Hurwitz, for God’s sake. Please don’t pull a “Dollhouse,” man. We can’t deal with another massive disappointment.

Anyway, here’s some studio-provided background information on “Sit Down, Shut Up,” which premieres at 8:30 EST on Sunday.

Based on the hit live-action Australian series, “Sit Down, Shut Up” revolves around the lives of high school faculty members in a small Florida fishing town who are so preoccupied with their own personal needs and agendas that the students ALWAYS come second. At Knob Haven High the teachers are essentially the students and their insecurities, prejudices, power struggles, unrequited loves and petty squabbles take center stage, leaving the students hungry for learning and any kind of attention or leadership.

There’s one educator who can actually teach and feels the focus should be on academics, yet despite his efforts and being the only teacher who truly gives a damn, has been relegated to gym. LARRY LITTLEJUNK (voiced by Jason Bateman) can be found jogging, eating sensibly or attempting to be the voice of reason when he’s not teaching P.E. or trying to impress science teacher, MIRACLE GROHE (voiced by Kristin Chenoweth). MIRACLE, whose career as a science teacher has had some help due to her good looks and flirtatious nature, can pretty much be found at all times with her concerned baby, MERCH, and promoting the spiritual life that rules her universe.

SUE SEZNO (voiced by Kenan Thompson), who has taken over as acting principal of Knob Haven due to a mysterious accident involving the last principal (can you say escape attempts?) can be found giving lots of “no’s” for answers in her stern, firm and no nonsense manner. Then there’s Vice Principal STUART PROSZACKIAN (voiced by Will Forte) whose terrifically upbeat and positive attitude explain why his prior job was a Prison Clown for Florida’s Department of Corrections.

Every educational institution must have a jock (or someone who thinks that he is one) and that’s English teacher ENNIS HOFFTARD (voiced by Will Arnett) whose love of the ladies is eclipsed only by his love of himself. ENNIS can often be found badgering the aging German teacher WILLARD DEUTSCHEBOG (voiced by Henry Winkler), a deeply defeated and poor man who loves to spend time shopping at the local 49-cent store and eating anything involving bologna.

Rounding out the staff is HELEN KLENCH (voiced by Cheri Oteri), the feisty and frustrated librarian who believes that the library is the core of the school and loves to tell people to “Quiet Down!” She is single, desperate and not picky, and can be found spending a lot of time gossiping with the bisexual drama teacher, ANDREW LEGUSTAMBOS (voiced by Nick Kroll). Finally there’s HAPPY- real name Muhannad Sabeeh Fa-ach Nuabar - (voiced by Tom Kenny), the plotting secretive custodian who many don’t know too much about.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.