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Mitch Hurwitz on Sit Down, Shut Up

Published April 13, 2009 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Sit Down Shut UpSit Down Shut Up

Mitch Hurtwitz maintains a self-deprecating humor about his latest show, Sit Down, Shut Up. The animated comedy is finally premiering after months of recording and animation. “It’s gotten worse,” Hurwitz joked. “I think we’ve hurt it.” Seriously though, the lengthy process of animation keeps Hurwitz creative.

Sit Down, Shut Up

“Well, the big thing that’s happened is you get the things back in color. The way animation works is you do the script, you record the script. In our case, a company called Rough Draft sketches out all the little characters and how they move. It’s almost like a slide show, it’s called an animatic. They send that to Korea. Korea, they draw it, they add color to it and that kind of thing and then we get that back six months later basically. So we’re finally seeing what these things look like moving and talking in color, and rewriting as a result of it.”

Expect Sit Down, Shut Up to have potentially more humor than Hurwitz’ fan favorite Arrested Development. “This is the fun part to me, going in and finding more jokes, cramming more jokes in. It’s what I couldn’t do with Arrested. I had to think of all the jokes ahead of time. Now we can find new ways to shove stuff in there so that’s been fun.”

As part of Fox’s Animation Domination, Hurwitz’s entry into animation may be a departure from the big guns of Sunday night. “I don't know how you describe it. It’s very character heavy. It’s not like reference-y like Family Guy is, although it has elements of that. There’s something slightly more in the real world about it and that might be even a reflection of the fact that the backdrops are all real world backdrops. So the characters are already kind of more in the real world in a way. As a result you write to that.”

The show is centered on teachers in a school but it’s not really a classroom comedy. “I had great teachers. This is more an indictment of the Australian school system than my own school system because it was based on an Australian show. It was an Australian live-action show that I got the rights to and then brought out here. So no, unfortunately, I think the teachers aren’t going to be happy with me now but it’s as much about teaching as The Office is about paper products in a way. It’s a minor concern of these particular people in Florida, which is the new home of where ridiculous things happen in the world.”

Sit Down, Shut Up premieres April 19 on Fox.

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