Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Toons After Dark: The Critic (1994)

The Critic aspired to be a sendup of Hollywood movies in general, while at the same time offering a look at the private life of an atypical movie critic, one Jay Sherman (Jon Lovitz, ex-Saturday Night Live). Unfortunately, as ABC & Fox both found out, viewers had already decided that primetime cartoons only were worth watching one specific night of the week, and Critic didn't air on that night.

Critic sprang from the minds of a couple of writers-producers of The Simpsons, and, so it made sense to have Sherman appear on the Fox series, presumably after his show moved over for season 2. I cannot recall if Fox placed it on Sundays or on another night. Had they paired the two toons together, maybe Critic lasts a little bit longer. Instead, it went for 2 seasons on broadcast television.

A few years ago, the series was revived as an internet-only entity, one of the first of its kind. However, only a small handful of episodes, running anywhere from 3-5 minutes each, were produced. Meanwhile, the earlier episodes resurfaced on cable, airing on Comedy Central and Reelz. How Cartoon Network has resisted picking up this show for [adult swim] to this point is a mystery unto itself.

Now, let's take a look back at the series opener:

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

This was a great show and definitely deserved better! Why "Family Guy", "Futurama" and American Dad" keep getting renewed I'll never know!

To quote Jay Sherman himself, "It stinks!"

I thought the first season was the strongest but it was a great concept and I can only imagine the films Jay would be judging now!! He'd probably be encouraged by his southern fried boss to come out of the closet on his show - even though he wasn't gay! That alone would be worth an episode!

I also enjoyed the ep in which several famous movie critics were with Jay for some special - Siskel & Ebert, Gene Shallit, etc. all sending up their personas was so much meta fun!

Not to mention Franklin & Eleanor Sherman were also a hoot!

hobbyfan said...

I never really cared for Duke, Jay's boss. What a dope. In season 2, they gave Jay a girlfriend, but of course going the whole route with the relationship would've been the kiss of death for the show all by itself.

Jennifer Schillig said...

I liked that second season. It made Jay less pathetic and the relationship between him and Alice was sweet and believable.

I'm in the minority among Simpsons fans, but I actually enjoyed that Simpsons crossover. (But maybe it's just that I enjoyed the various movies at that film festival.)

hobbyfan said...

The attempt at humanizing Jay ended up being what killed the show, swapping easy laughs for a romantic comedy vibe. If Duke wasn't such a tool, maybe they get further along.