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The Boston Globe

Television

Television Review

‘Out There’: Coming of age, ’toon-style

There are a bunch of great, idiosyncratic voices on IFC’s new animated sitcom “Out There.” It should be an aural spectacular. The cast includes Megan Mullally, who was a filthy-rich Betty Boop on “Will & Grace” and continues to squeak and squawk on “Childrens Hospital” and “Parks and Recreation”; Fred Armisen from “Saturday Night Live” and IFC’s “Portlandia,” who can mimic anyone from a Eurotrash art dealer to Prince; and Pamela Adlon, the woman Louis C.K. fell for on “Louie,” whose raspy helium stylings have been heard in many animated series, including “King of the Hill.” Also on board: Kate Micucci, the ukulele-playing Shelley on “Raising Hope,” and her sweet little-girl mew.

But “Out There” is actually a quiet comedy, with more soft moments and understated vocal performances than you might expect given the cast. The show is written and directed by Ryan Quincy, animation director and producer of “South Park,” and he appears to be ready to swing away from the more high-pitched, maniacal sounds of that cultural satire. “Out There,” which premieres Friday night at 10:30 after “Portlandia,” plays like a reaction to a lot of TV’s rebel animation series such as “South Park” and “Family Guy,” as it takes a gentle look at nerdy high school boys coming of age. Rather than abrasive and hyper, the tone of “Out There” is bittersweet.

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