The Critic

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The Critic
The Critic title card.png
Title card
GenreSitcom, satire
FormatAdult animation
Created byAl Jean
Mike Reiss
StarringJon Lovitz
Nancy Cartwright
Christine Cavanaugh
Gerrit Graham
Doris Grau
Judith Ivey
Nick Jameson
Maurice LaMarche
Park Overall
Russi Taylor
Country of originUnited States
Language(s)English
No. of seasons2 (television)
1 (internet)
3 (total)
No. of episodes23 (television)
10 (internet)
33 (total) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Al Jean
Mike Reiss
James L. Brooks
Running time22 minutes (1994-1995)
3-5 minutes (2000-2001)
Production company(s)Gracie Films
Columbia Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC (1994)
Fox (1995)
AtomFilms / Shockwave (2000-2001)
Picture format4:3 (SDTV)
Original runJanuary 26, 1994 (1994-01-26) – May 21, 1995 (1995-05-21);
2000–2001
 
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The Critic
The Critic title card.png
Title card
GenreSitcom, satire
FormatAdult animation
Created byAl Jean
Mike Reiss
StarringJon Lovitz
Nancy Cartwright
Christine Cavanaugh
Gerrit Graham
Doris Grau
Judith Ivey
Nick Jameson
Maurice LaMarche
Park Overall
Russi Taylor
Country of originUnited States
Language(s)English
No. of seasons2 (television)
1 (internet)
3 (total)
No. of episodes23 (television)
10 (internet)
33 (total) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Al Jean
Mike Reiss
James L. Brooks
Running time22 minutes (1994-1995)
3-5 minutes (2000-2001)
Production company(s)Gracie Films
Columbia Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC (1994)
Fox (1995)
AtomFilms / Shockwave (2000-2001)
Picture format4:3 (SDTV)
Original runJanuary 26, 1994 (1994-01-26) – May 21, 1995 (1995-05-21);
2000–2001

The Critic is an American prime time animated series revolving around the life of film critic Jay Sherman, voiced by actor Jon Lovitz. It was created by writing partners Al Jean and Mike Reiss, who had previously worked as writers and showrunners (seasons 3 and 4) on The Simpsons. The Critic had 23 episodes produced, first broadcast on ABC in 1994, finishing its original run on FOX in 1995.

Episodes featured movie parodies with notable examples including Howard Stern's End (Howards End), Honey, I Ate the Kids (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids/The Silence of the Lambs), The Cockroach King (The Lion King), Abe Lincoln: Pet Detective (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective), Scent of a Jackass and Scent of a Wolfman (Scent of a Woman).[1] The show often referenced popular movies such as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and The Godfather, and routinely lampooned actor Marlon Brando[2][3] and actor/director Orson Welles.[4][5] They also spoofed Dudley Moore, usually as his character Arthur Bach from the 1981 film Arthur.

Despite the ratings improving,[6][7] The Critic was cancelled after only two seasons. It continued to air through reruns on Comedy Central and then on Locomotion. From 2000 to 2001, ten web episodes were later produced using Adobe Shockwave, and were broadcast on AtomFilms.com and Shockwave.com. In 2004, the DVD box set was released, which includes all 23 TV episodes and the web episodes.[8]

In the late 2000s, reruns of the show aired again on ReelzChannel in the US and on Teletoon's programming block Teletoon at Night in Canada.

Contents

Cast

NameCharacter(s)
Jon LovitzJay Sherman
Christine CavanaughMarty Sherman
Nancy CartwrightMargo Sherman
Various
Gerrit GrahamFranklin Sherman
Judith IveyEleanor Sherman
Doris GrauDoris Grossman
Maurice LaMarcheJeremy Hawke
Orson Welles
Howard Stern
Various
Nick JamesonVlada Veramirovich
Various
Brenda VaccaroArdeth
Rhea Perlman
Charles NapierDuke Phillips
Park OverallAlice Tompkins
Russi TaylorPenny Tompkins
Kath SoucieVarious
Tress MacNeilleHumphrey the Hippo
Various
Valerie LevittJennifer (webisodes)

Characters

The Simpsons crossovers

Homer and Bart Simpson made a brief appearance in "Dial M for Mother". During an interview with Geraldo Rivera, Jay is asked about talking over the heads of his audience and does just that in his answer. An annoyed family watching changes the channel to The Simpsons, where Homer—after stepping on a rake—exclaims, "D'oh!" and Bart replies, "Ay caramba!" The family's father comments, "Now, this I understand."

Jay had a guest appearance in an episode of The Simpsons titled "A Star Is Burns", presiding over a local film festival. This episode caused some conflict between Simpsons creator Matt Groening and executive producer James L. Brooks. Groening, believing the episode was little more than a thirty-minute advertisement for one of Brooks's less successful projects, had his credit removed from the episode and did not appear on its DVD commentary. When Jay enters the Simpson household, Bart is watching a Flintstones-Jetsons crossover show, which he criticizes; he then praises Jay and Coming Attractions/The Critic, before shuddering and saying to himself "I feel so dirty." At the end of the episode, as he is leaving for New York, Jay offers the Simpsons to appear on Coming Attractions/The Critic, but Bart declines, saying, "Nah, we're not going to be doing that." Jay has yellow skin when he appears on The Simpsons but pink skin on The Critic.[9]

Jay appeared briefly on The Simpsons a few more times. In the episode "Hurricane Neddy," he was in an insane asylum apparently unable to say anything more than his catchphrase (Doctor: "Yes, Mr. Sherman. Everything stinks.") In the episode "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner", he is seen at Moe's Tavern with all the other characters on the show that Lovitz voices or has voiced.[10]

Cancellation

The show's first season of 13 episodes aired on ABC, after which the network cancelled it. It then moved to FOX for a second season of 10 episodes, but despite improvement of the ratings,[6][7] FOX also cancelled it after this run had finished airing.

According to The TV IV, nine scripts were already written for the planned third season and the show was going to be moved to UPN, but an agreement was not reached,[11][12] and also FOX refused to officially cancel the show until much later.[11][12]

Home media

Responding to the success of DVD sales of Family Guy and The Simpsons, Sony Home Entertainment decided to release The Critic on DVD in early 2004, including the two regular seasons and the web episodes. The show achieved good sales, jumping onto the DVD list at 14 on Amazon, and quickly going through five issuings.[9]

Reception

The Critic has since developed a cult following,[6][13][14][15] and in the late 2000s (decade), had run in syndication.

The DVD set also got many positive reviews, such as one from Animated Views (which gave it an overall rating of 10/10),[16] and one by Columbia Spectator, which also pointed out the show being "one of television's great lost causes."[17]

In September 2006, IGN ranked The Critic 9th in their list of the Top 25 Primetime Animated Series of All Time.[18] In January 2009, they ranked the show 26th in their other list of the Top 100 Best Animated TV Series.[19] In December 2011, Complex ranked the show 6th in their list of The 25 Most Underrated Animated TV Shows Of All Time.[20]

Episodes

Season 1 (ABC): 1994

The first season was broadcast in 1994 on ABC, and included 13 episodes.

No.#TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProduction
code
11"Pilot"Rich MooreMike Reiss & Al JeanJanuary 26, 1994 (1994-01-26)101
A short, balding, overweight, divorced film critic named Jay Sherman gets a second chance at love when a gorgeous movie star named Valerie Fox (voiced by Jennifer Lien) falls for him, but it may all go to pieces if Jay doesn't give Valerie a glowing review for her latest movie, the Basic Instinct-inspired erotic thriller, Kiss of Death
22"Marty's First Date"Alan SmartTom Gammill & Max ProssFebruary 2, 1994 (1994-02-02)103
Marty invites his father Jay to Career Day at his school, where Marty falls for a Cuban girl named Carmen, who is the granddaughter of Fidel Castro
33"Dial 'M' for Mother"Bret HaalandMike Reiss & Al JeanFebruary 9, 1994 (1994-02-09)104
When test audiences brand Jay Sherman "worse than Hitler," Duke sets up a TV special where Geraldo Rivera interviews Jay with his adoptive mother Eleanor, which falls apart when Jay yells at Eleanor. 
44"Miserable"Dan JeupSteven LevitanFebruary 16, 1994 (1994-02-16)102
Jay falls for a female projectionist (voiced by Pamela Reed) who turns out to be an obsessed fan of his. (NOTE: Miserable, a parody of the film Misery, was originally slated as the second episode of the series, but ABC censors barred it from being shown due to unsuitable content. On The Critic complete series DVD set, this episode is properly listed as the second). 
55"A Little Deb Will Do Ya"L. H. MacMullanNell ScovellFebruary 23, 1994 (1994-02-23)105
Eleanor forces Margo to get prepared for and attend a debutante ball. Meanwhile, Jay gets into a ratings war with children's show host Humphrey the Hippo
66"Eyes on the Prize"Dan Jeup & Brian SheesleyTom BradyMarch 2, 1994 (1994-03-02)106
Jay rethinks his career when his 1000th episode bash is a dud. He seeks advice from image consultant Adolph Hitmaker (voiced by Phil Hartman), but his advice and all other attempts at recreating his TV image prove unsuccessful. 
77"Every Doris Has Her Day"Alan SmartSteve TompkinsJune 1, 1994 (1994-06-01)107
Jay befriends his make-up lady Doris after they attend a musical adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and thinks that she may be the mother who gave him up for adoption years ago. 
88"Marathon Mensch"Susan DietterJudd ApatowJune 8, 1994 (1994-06-08)108
Jay's masculinity is called into question after Doris rescues Jay from a studio fire, so Jay trains for the New York marathon
99"L.A. Jay"Bret HaalandSteven LevitanJune 22, 1994 (1994-06-22)109
Jay moves to Los Angeles when studio executive Gary Grossman (voiced by Billy Crystal) offers the critic a chance to write the second sequel to the Ghostchasers franchise. 
1010"Dr. Jay"Dan JeupJon VittiJune 29, 1994 (1994-06-29)110
Duke is diagnosed with a rare disease, and Jay is determined to find a cure. 
1111"A Day at the Races and a Night at the Opera"L. H. MacMullanKen KeelerJuly 6, 1994 (1994-07-06)111
After Marty bombs out during his elementary school field day, Jay buys his son a guitar and encourages him to take lessons. Meanwhile, after Them Magazine christens Jay "The Wittiest Man in the World," Duke bets the viewers at home $100 that Jay will make them laugh. 
1212"Uneasy Rider"Alan SmartSteve TompkinsJuly 13, 1994 (1994-07-13)112
After refusing to plug chewing tobacco on his show, Jay quits his job and becomes a truck driver. 
1313"A Pig Boy and His Dog"Bret HaalandPatric VerroneJuly 20, 1994 (1994-07-20)113
In the first season finale, Eleanor writes a children's book called "The Fat Little Pig," featuring a character based on Jay. Meanwhile, Jay adopts a Great Dane puppy, who grows up too fast and becomes a nuisance. 

Season 2 (FOX): 1995

The second season was broadcast in 1995 on FOX, and included 10 episodes.

No.#TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProduction
code
141"Sherman, Woman and Child"Bret HaalandMike Reiss & Al JeanMarch 5, 1995 (1995-03-05)201
In the second season premiere, Jay worries that he may be fired due to Coming Attraction's low ratings. He then befriends a single mother from The South named Alice, and develops feelings for her. However, Alice's adulterous, country-singing husband Cyrus (voiced by Sam McMurray) has returned and wants her back. 
152"Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice"L. H. MacMullanJon VittiMarch 12, 1995 (1995-03-12)207
After Jay attends The Academy Awards Ceremony, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert break up and each rope Jay to be their new partner. 
163"Lady Hawke"Rich MooreTom BradyMarch 19, 1995 (1995-03-19)205
During a taping of the sketch comedy show Yesterday Night Live, Jay meets Jeremy's twin sister Olivia (voiced by Morwenna Banks). After Jay takes Olivia on a tour of the city, she falls in love with him and the two start dating. This strains Jay's relationship with Alice, who realizes that she is also in love with Jay. 
174"A Song for Margo"Tom MazzoccoJoshua Sternin & Jeffrey VentimiliaMarch 26, 1995 (1995-03-26)203
Margo dates Nuns in a Blender frontman Johnny Wrath (voiced by Todd Louiso), while Alice tries to find a good preschool for her daughter, Penny. 
185"From Chunk to Hunk"Steven Dean MooreSteve TompkinsApril 2, 1995 (1995-04-02)204
Jay and Marty go to a weight-loss camp, where Marty dramatically loses weight and becomes one of the popular kids in school. Meanwhile, Jay fears for his life when a pretty-boy action star threatens to kill him. 
196"All the Duke's Men"Chuck SheetzPatric VerroneApril 23, 1995 (1995-04-23)208
Duke runs for President of the United States, and hires Jay to be his campaign manager
207"Sherman of Arabia"Brian SheesleyRichard DoctorowApril 30, 1995 (1995-04-30)202
At Marty's slumber party, Jay tells the story of how he ended up in Iraq during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. 
218"Frankie and Ellie Get Lost"David CutlerStory by: Judd Apatow
Teleplay by: Richard Doctorow
May 7, 1995 (1995-05-07)206
Franklin and Eleanor are presumed dead after their plane crashes on an island, and Jay uses the money left to him in the will to make New York City a better place. 
229"Dukerella"Bret HaalandKen KeelerMay 14, 1995 (1995-05-14)209
Alice's sister Miranda moves to New York to find a rich man to marry. She then ends up taking a job at a mattress delivery service called "Mattress in an Hour." She falls in love with Duke when she sees him on Coming Attractions and attends his costume ball with Jay and Alice in order to meet him. 
2310"I Can't Believe It's a Clip Show"David Cutler, Rich Moore, and Lauren MacMullan (as D. R. L. MacMoortler)Tom Brady, Richard Doctorow, Al Jean, Ken Keeler, Mike Reiss,
Joshua Sternin, Steve Tompkins, Jeffrey Ventimilia, Patric Verrone, Jon Vitti
May 21, 1995 (1995-05-21)210
Original series finale / clip show. Jay hosts a 10th anniversary special of Coming Attractions, featuring past clips of the many crummy movies he had to review, but the festivities come to a halt when a group of terrorists holds everyone hostage. 

Webisodes,(AtomFilms / Shockwave): 2000-2001

In early 2000,[9] show creators Al Jean and Mike Reiss wrote a series of ten 3-5 minute long internet episodes of The Critic, still with Jon Lovitz as the starring role. While still making fun of movies and Hollywood in general, its story focused on Jay lusting after the lovely Jennifer, his new makeup lady. Alice does not appear in any of the episodes and is not mentioned by name, though Jay does briefly refer to a "second divorce" in the first episode—presumably from her or the Mexican woman he married in order to get to Cuba. Besides Jay, Vlada is the only other character from the show to make an appearance. The episodes were available on AtomFilms.com and Shockwave.com until 2001. All ten of the "webisodes" were included on the complete series DVD (but not iTunes). Parodies include gaffs on The Patriot, Harry Potter, Mission: Impossible II, X-Men, Pearl Harbor and Cast Away.

#TitleOriginal airdateTime
1"X-men"20003:20
Jay talks about his rise and fall from fame and introduces his new make-up lady, Jennifer. 
2"Mission Impossible II, Gladiator, Gone in 60 Seconds"20003:22
Jay reviews the best movies from the year 2000 in a beach-themed studio (since all public beaches have banned Jay until he loses 20 pounds) and gets an unexpected visit from Arnold Schwarzenegger
3"Pokemon 2000, The Patriot"20003:50
Jay pans The Patriot with special guest Pikachu (from the Pokémon video games, TV shows, and movies), whom he outs. All the while, Jay tries to prove to Jennifer he is nice enough to date. 
4"Perfect Storm, Star Wars, Titanic, The Sixth Sense"20002:34
Jay finally lands a date with Jennifer. He takes her to L'ANE Riche(The Wealthy Jackass) where he talks about the movies he missed out on reviewing while unemployed. 
5"Out of Africa, Silence Of The Lambs, On the Waterfront"20003:39
Jay reviews the Oscars 
6"Sleepy Hollow, Pulp Fiction"20002:59
Jay discusses Sleepy Hollow and a spoof of Pulp Fiction with Jennifer at her apartment. 
7"Cast Away, The Legend of Bagger Vance"20013:18
Jay takes a look at the best films of the year 2000, including Cast Away and The Legend of Bagger Vance. * This episode technically had two endings for this episode when it was first put online and also on the DVD whenever Jay would be a "Gentlemen" or an "Animal" for sex with Jennifer, but ultimately he doesn't get sex either way and then tells the viewers to complain to our local service provider. 
8"Harry Potter, Planet of the Apes"20014:58
Jay visits the set of the Harry Potter film and takes a look at the Planet of the Apes remake. He also shows Jennifer his favorite spots in New York. Later at her apartment, Jennifer introduces Jay to her many children. 
9"(None)"20013:28
Jay defuses Broadway bombs with "Death of a Seinfeld" and others. 
10"Pearl Harbor"20013:42
Jay reviews Pearl Harbor and is mistaken for Shrek while waiting in line at the movies with Jennifer. 

References

  1. ^ Scent of a Wolfman on YouTube. Retrieved on November 4, 2009.
  2. ^ The Critic - Apocalypse WOW on YouTube. Retrieved on November 4, 2009.
  3. ^ Marlon Brando in the Barney the Dinosaur Movie on YouTube. Retrieved on November 4, 2009.
  4. ^ Rosebud Frozen Peas on YouTube. Retrieved on November 4, 2009.
  5. ^ Mrs. Pell's Fishsticks on YouTube. Retrieved on November 4, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Epstein, Daniel Robert. "Al Jean interview (including some discussion of The Critic)". UGO.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2003. http://web.archive.org/web/20030828165836/http://www.ugo.com/channels/filmtv/features/aljean/. Retrieved September 20, 2009. "Al Jean on getting cancelled "What really killed it was when it was on FOX and the guy who ran the network then, John Matoian, just didn't like the show." ... "Even though our ratings were better, he cancelled us. It was very infuriating."" 
  7. ^ a b O'Neal, Sean (December 29, 2010). "Random Roles: Jon Lovitz". A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/articles/jon-lovitz,49464/. Retrieved September 17, 2011. "Jon Lovitz on the ratings of The Critic on FOX "We went on Fox and did like 10 shows, and on Fox it was better because it aired after The Simpsons, and actually it was a hit show, because The Simpsons was like getting a 14.1 rating, and we had an 11.1. We retained 90 percent of the audience."" 
  8. ^ The Critic/The Complete Series at The TV IV
  9. ^ a b c Epstein, Daniel Robert. "Simpsons Producer Mike Reiss Talks Critic". UGO.com. Archived from the original on August 3, 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20040803121913/http://www.ugo.com/channels/dvd/features/thecritic/mikereiss.asp. Retrieved September 20, 2009. 
  10. ^ Weinstein, Josh. (2006) Commentary for "Hurricane Neddy", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eighth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  11. ^ a b The Critic at The TV IV
  12. ^ a b The Critic/Season Two at The TV IV
  13. ^ Weprin, Alex (March 12, 2008). "ReelzChannel Reels in 'The Critic'". http://www.broadcastingcable.com. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/blog/BC_Beat/9131-ReelzChannel_Reels_in_The_Critic_.php. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  14. ^ Albertson, Cammila. "The Critic (Animated Series)". http://www.allmovie.com. http://www.allmovie.com/work/the-critic-animated-series-286493. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  15. ^ Benson, John (April 23, 2010). "Now Jon Lovitz is a stand-up guy". The News-Herald. http://www.news-herald.com/articles/2010/04/23/life/nh2364655.txt. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  16. ^ Simon, Ben (July 4, 2007). "The Critic: The Complete Series". animatedviews.com. http://animatedviews.com/2007/the-critic-the-complete-series/. Retrieved November 3, 2009.  10/10 stars
  17. ^ Kenigsberg, Ben (February 6, 2010). "Two Big, Sarcastic Thumbs Up". http://www.columbiaspectator.com. http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2004/02/06/two-big-sarcastic-thumbs. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  18. ^ IGN - Top 25 Primetime Animated Series of All Time (page 4)
  19. ^ IGN - Top 100 Best Animated TV Series
  20. ^ Serafino, Jason (Dec 13, 2011). "The 25 Most Underrated Animated TV Shows Of All Time". http://www.complex.com. http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2011/12/the-25-most-underrated-animated-tv-shows-of-all-time#21. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 

External links