Picks and Pans Review: Sit Down, Shut Up

updated 04/27/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/27/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

FOX, April 19, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT |

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With cartoon characters drawn against real backgrounds, Sit Down feels as close to an actual sitcom as an animated series is likely to get. (In fact, it's based on a live-action Australian show.) Of course, most sitcoms—whether performed by marionette, balloon sculpture or clergy—aren't all that good. This one, set in a Florida public school, has an unusually impressive lineup of comic talent providing the voices: Will Arnett, Kristin Chenoweth, Kenan Thompson, Jason Bateman and Will Forte. They're all better than the material, which is silly, bawdy and satirical without being especially fresh.

In the first few episodes the dominant characters are a sad-sack gym instructor (Bateman), a narcissistic English instructor (Arnett) and a science teacher who prefers magic (Chenoweth). The most promising, perhaps, is the assistant principal (Forte), whose résumé includes what must have been an interesting stint as a prison clown. The show fits snugly in FOX's Sunday night lineup of grown-up cartoons. If you're already sitting there after The Simpsons, you might as well shut up and watch.

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