Sit Down, Shut Up, a new animated series set in a high school premiering tonight on Fox, has an interesting pedigree. According to this article, after seeing a copy of Knuffle Bunny in a bookstore, the show’s creator, Mitch Hurwitz brought Mo Willems into the project.
Hurwitz may or may not have been aware of Willems’ track record as an animation producer and scripter (The Off Beats, Sheep in the Big City, Codename: Kids Next Door) before moving onto a new career as a children’s book author and illustrator. Knuffle Bunny itself had been turned into a cartoon short using the same technique of drawn characters atop photographic backgrounds, but Willems’ sharp-edged character designs also caught Hurwitz’ eye.
“I got in touch with Mo, and he actually designed [SDSU's] characters. He has asked that the show not be represented as Mo Willems’ show, because he’s like the number one picture book guy and there’s a lot of inappropriate stuff for kids. There’s a lot of stuff that’s inappropriate I think even for Will Forte.”
These excerpts from the show give you an even better sense of Mo’s distinctive style. I have to say, despite Mo’s visual style and all those Arrested Development folk (loved that show), the bits I’ve seen so far are not wowing me, but hopefully the full show works better for me.