The Critic

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The Critic

The Critic is an American animated television series that was originally broadcast on the ABC network in 1994 (and later on the Fox Network in 1995). The show was created by Al Jean and Mike Reiss, who were two writers and producers on the Simpsons. The series revolves around the life of movie critic Jay Sherman. Each episodes usually featured at least one or two short movie parodies (based on current releases at the time or movies that were at least two or three years old) in the form of the movie Jay reviewed that week on his show Coming Attractions. Some of the parodies were Howard Stern's End (Howard's End), Honey, I Ate the Kids (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids), The Cockroach King (The Lion King), and Scent of a Jackass (Scent of a Woman).

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The Critic Opening Title Shot
The show had its fans, but it was controversial. An episode with S&M content, in which Jay was tied up and to be killed by an obsessive, psychotic woman (a spoof of the novel Misery by Stephen King, and the popular movie based upon the book), was especially notorious. After two years, it was cancelled. Following its cancellation, a half-dozen brief "internet only" episodes were produced. Those were later included as a bonus to a DVD box set that included the entire TV-run of the series.
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Jay Sherman posing on The Critic


Jay Sherman

The voice of Jay Sherman was done by Jon Lovitz. Jay Sherman's career is that of a movie critic, which provides the basis for the series' title. His catchphrase line was "it stinks!" and was known for his surly and sarcastic putdowns of the majority of films he reviewed.

Jay Sherman is the adopted son of wealthy couple Franklin and Eleanor Sherman. He has a teenage sister named Margo. He has a young son, Marty, who visits often when not staying with Jay's ex-wife, Ardeth.

Jay appeared in a guest role on one episode of The Simpsons, in which he presided over a local film festival, much to Homer's envy. Simpsons creator Matt Groening, for his part, detested the act of a current FOX show (with The Critic was at the time) crossing over with another current FOX show, and refused to allow his name to be shown in the credits.

Since then, he appeared briefly on The Simpsons a few more times. In one episode, he was in an insane asylum apparently unable to say anything more than his catchphrase. In another episode, we find him at Moe's Tavern with all the other characters on the show that Jon Lovitz voices.

Marty Sherman

Jay's young son, Marty, usually stays with his mother, but visits Jay often. He is just as portly and dorky as Jay, but it rarely causes him problems at his U.N.-inspired elementary school. He has a gift for belly-dancing.

Franklin Sherman

Jay's adoptive father, Franklin always carries a drink in his hand, and is quite insane. He is a former governor of New York, as well as a former ambassador. He also led a trucker's union for a time. ("That reminds me, there's a lot of money and some dead bodies buried in the backyard.")

Eleanor Sherman

Jay's adoptive mother, Eleanor is very prim and proper. She is also very nasty and underhanded... but in a nice way (think Martha Stewart.) She somewhat dislikes her son, and often ridicules him. Actually, she dislikes mostly everything that embarasses her by not acting exactly how she wants, her husband, her daughter... etc.

Duke Phillips

Duke is Jay's boss. He somewhat resembles Ted Turner. He runs the network that shows Jay's show Coming Attractions, and is always trying to change things to increase ratings and maximize profits. He owns an amusement park, dubbed "The Happiest Place In Jersey", created "Phillips-Vision", and also tried to run for president.

Jeremy Hawke

Jeremy is an Australian actor, and is one of Jay's best friends. He has starred in action movies, and also played former president James Monroe. He has a sister, Olivia, who tries to win Jay's affection.


Doris is Jay's make-up artist. She is a chain smoker. She also tries to be attractive to Duke, by purring and sending him nude photos of herself.

Alice Tompkins

Introduced in season 2, Alice somewhat becomes Jay's girlfriend. She moved to New York from Knoxville, Tennessee, to show her daughter Penny that a woman can make it in this world. She was once married to a country singer, Cyrus Tompkins. Originally an artist, she quickly found work as Jay's assistant. Alice's voice was performed by actress Parke Overall, herself a Knoxvillian.

Vlada Veramirovich

Vlada runs a restaurant called L'ane Riche (French for "The Rich Ass"), which Jay frequents. He hates Jay, but loves his money. Best known for his greeting to Jay, "Meeester Sherman".

Season One Synopsis


Episode 1x01 - Airdate: January 26, 1994

Film critic Jay Sherman falls in love with actress Valerie Fox. Jay's family and friends worry that Valerie is using him to get a good movie review. Does she truly care for him?

Marty's First Date

Episode 1x02 - Airdate: February 02, 1994.

Jay's son Marty falls for a classmate: Fidel Castro's grand daughter. Jay smuggles himself into Cuba to rescue his son, and upon being captured, Castro, feeling benevolent, orders the firing squad, "shoot to wound." As the episode ends, Jay is freed by telling the guards he gave thumbs up to "The Mambo Kings."

Dial 'M' For Mother

Episode 1x03 - Airdate: February 16, 1994

Jay is considered to be one of the most unpopular men on Earth (ranking even worse than Hitler) so Duke attempts to spruce up the show to get more people interested. When this doesn't work, Jay decides to soften his image by going on the "Geraldo Show" with his mother but Jay gets an even worse reputation when his mother embarrasses him to the point where he tells her to "shut up".


Episode 1x04 - Airdate: February 16, 1994

Jay, noticing everyone in New York has a fiancee except him, begins to feel unloved. Things change when he goes to review the movie, Indecent Proposal II, and falls in love with the projectionist screening the movie. They arrange a date at her house where she is revealed to have an obsession with Jay to the point where she kidnaps him and ties him to a bed holding him hostage.

A Little Deb Will Do You

Episode 1x05 - Airdate: February 23, 1994

Eleanor is determined to have her daughter, Margo, attend the annual debutantes ball as it is a tradition in her family. When Margo is reluctantly forced into it, Jay decides to accompany her. Meanwhile, Jay competes in his time slot against children's idol Humphrey the Hippo.

Eyes on the Prize

Episode 1x06 - Airdate: March 02, 1994

Every Doris Has Her Day

Episode 1x07 - Airdate: June 01, 1994

Jay is given two tickets to a new play based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He tries to find a date but no woman will go with him so he goes with Doris instead. Surprisingly, Jay and Doris have a good time and their relationship eventually blossoms. One day Doris recalls she has a son she put up for adoption. Jay mentions he is adopted and both start to think they are biological mother and son and must find more evidence.

Marathon Mensch

Episode 1x08 - Airdate: June 08, 1994

When the studio catches fire during Jay's show, he collapses and must be rescued from the fire by Doris. When the news reports Jay's being rescued, he gets a reputation as being a wimp so he tries to prove his manliness by running in the New York marathon which tends to be more tiresome than it seems.

L.A. Jay

Episode 1x09 - Airdate: June 22, 1994

Jay is offered to write the screenplay for a new movie, Ghostchasers III, so he takes a break from his show to go to L.A. to write the new movie and experience Hollywood life but the movie producer isn't satisfied with Jay's script.

Dr. Jay

Episode 1x10 - Airdate: June 29, 1994

Jay's boss, Duke, has just made a new invention, "Phillips-Vision" which alters movies to make them more "likeable". Jay is disgusted with Duke's invention but when Duke is discovered to have a fatal disease, Jay must find a cure for Duke's ailment.

A Day at the Races and a Night at the Opera

Episode 1x11 - Airdate: July 06, 1994

After Marty fails to win an event at his school field day, he is feeling very low so Jay tries to improve his self-confidence by getting him interested in playing guitar and putting him in the school talent show. Meanwhile, Them Magazine names Jay "the wittiest man alive" so Duke offers to pay everyone who doesn't laugh at Jay's show $100 which doesn't go over very well.

Uneasy Rider

Episode 1x12 - Airdate: July 13, 1994

Jay is asked by Duke to use his show to promote a new product, "Savvy Indian Chewing Tabacco". Jay doesn't want to promote tabacco so he tears up his contract and quits. He finds a new career in truck driving where he is praised by the other truckers but starts to realize the importance of his other job.

A Pig-Boy and His Dog

Episode 1x13 - Airdate: July 20, 1994

Eleanor is bored and feeling depressed with her life so she attempts to become an author and write a book. She writes a children's book called The Fat Little Pig which Jay learns is modelled after him which does not leave him very pleased. Meanwhile, Jay tries to get along with his new pet dog.

This was the last episode aired on ABC. The rest of the episodes were broadcast by the FOX Network.

Season Two Synopsis

Sherman, Woman and Child

Episode 2x01 - Airdate: March 05, 1995

Jay's ratings are not doing very well and Duke is about to fire him so Jay is feeling depressed. His feelings become better when he meets a new employee at the show named Alice and her daughter Penny. Alice gives Jay tips on how to improve his show and her advice works. Jay wants to get to know Alice better but discovers she has an ex-husband whom she wants to reject but can't.

Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice

Episode 2x02 - Airdate: March 12, 1995

After Jay attends the Academy Awards ceremony, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert (themselves) have a fight on the plane ride home and split up. Jay sees his golden opportunity to be a partner to either Siskel or Ebert, but feels they weren't right to be apart, so he tries to get them reunited.

Lady Hawke

Episode 2x03 - Airdate: March 19, 1995

When Jeremy Hawke's sister, Olivia Newton Hawke, visits New York, Jay meets her and is smitten with her which puts his relationship with Alice on the line when she begins to feel left out. So Jay then must decide who he really loves.

A Song for Margo

Episode 2x04 - Airdate: March 26, 1995

Margo gets a new neighbor, Johnny Wrath (a spoof on modern grunge rockers), who is the lead singer in the rock group, "Nuns in a Blender". Margo falls in love with him but doesn't feel the relationship is right when she finds him with another girl. Meanwhile Alice tries to find a suitable preschool for Penny.

From Chunk to Hunk

Episode 2x05 - Airdate: April 02, 1995

Jay and Marty begin to feel a little big so they enroll in a weight loss camp. Marty loses a remarkable amount of weight which makes him feel more self- confident but when he is placed as the star in a school play, he doesn't feel his skinny self is right for him. Meanwhile, Jay receives a death threat from Belgian actor Jean Paul Le Pope (a spoof on Jean Claude Van Damme) whose movie he panned.

All the Duke's Men

Episode 2x06 - Airdate: April 23, 1995

After Jay gets his son Marty elected class president, his boss Duke decides to run for president. He is off to a good start, with Jay as his speechwriter. Things go downhill, however, when Jay's adoptive father Franklin is chosen as Duke's running mate, and makes his ratings plummet after a vice-presidential debate. To kill the ticket, Duke tells the world he'll run on a platform that includes "dumping oil in the ocean" and "selling our best assets to the Japanese".

Sherman of Arabia

Episode 2x07 - Airdate: April 30, 1995

At Marty's slumber party, Jay is asked to tell his story in which he got caught up in the Gulf War. Jay tells how he was attending an Iraqi film festival and eventually was thrown in jail where he escaped and lead a troop of men across the desert.

Frankie and Ellie Get Lost

Episode 2x08 - Airdate: May 07, 1995

Franklin and Eleanor celebrate their 40th anniversary by going on vacation but the plane crashes and Franklin and Eleanor find themselves marooned on an island. Back in New York, Margo and Jay find out about their disappearance and discover they have willed Jay their entire fortune which Jay decides to put to use by cleaning up New York.


Episode 2x09 - Airdate: May 14, 1995

Alice's sister, Miranda, comes to visit them which Alice is not comfortable with. Miranda must find work in New York so she joins "Mattress in an Hour" delivering mattresses. When everybody attends a party held by Duke, Miranda falls in love with Duke but is shy because of a wrinkle. She runs out on Duke at midnight and Duke must find the woman who fits her slipper. When it turns out to be Doris, Jay must get Duke and Miranda reunited.

I Can't Believe It's a Clip Show

Episode 2x10 - Airdate: May 21, 1995

Jay is hosting his 10th anniversary show held at Carnegie Hall where he showcases a number of movie clips from old episodes such as Jurassic Park 2, Every Which Way but Lucid, and Rabbi P.I. The show is later held hostage by a number of terrorists who threaten to blow the place up with a bomb tied to Jay's waist. Fortunately, everybody is eventually rescued by Milton Berle.

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