Anthony's Film Review

The Critic
(TV Series, 1994-1995)

This short-lived animated series delivers big laughs through satire of the movies...

To this day, I still wonder why The Critic was never given a chance to shine on television. It's the kind of show that would last maybe at least five years. The strangest part is how the show started on ABC before being cancelled, then appeared on the Fox before cancellation by that network. Who knows why? Maybe they thought the show was racy, but then again, Fox is the same network that aired Married With Children. Maybe they had low ratings because people didn't find it funny. Well, that is something I would like to contest.

The Critic centers on a New York film critic named Jay Sherman, voiced by Jon Lovitz. Sherman reviews movies on his show Coming Attractions and also has, like everyone else, a personal life. The latter part is fairly standard compared to other shows, so I will mainly focus on the part about movies. You see, that's where the cleverness of the show is. The fake movies that Sherman reviews are spoofs and parodies of actual films, mostly those released at the time of the episode. For example, Sherman reviews True Lies 2, the sequel to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie which now features an old man doing Jamie Lee Curtis's striptease scene. Also, there's a combination of Dennis the Menace and Menace 2 Society (Dennis the Menace 2 Society), Star Trek characters dancing (Hee Haw: The Next Generation), and James Bond being accused of sexual harassment (Dr. No Means No).

If you think about it, you've got a winning idea here. Hell, if I were to write these episodes, I could come up with a bunch of movie spoofs. We could have a Batman character spinoff movie called Penguin that is worse than Catwoman. Maybe switch Halle Berry from Monster's Ball with Charlize Theron from Monster. Or how about a combo of two Oscar-winning movies called There Will Be No Bloody Country For Old Men? And don't just limit it to movie parodies. Let's also find ways to poke fun at award ceremonies, film festivals, and the Writer's Guild strike. But I digress. These ideas are entirely mine and won't be used in any capacity.

Going back to The Critic, I like to mention one particular episode. It's the one where film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert guest star as themselves who get into a physical altercation and jeopardize their professional and personal relationship. It's not just an interesting episode. It also reminds us of how Jay Sherman, given his physical appearance, is like rolling Siskel and Ebert into one critic. Furthermore, they both have a trademark catchphrase. Siskel and Ebert give "Two Thumbs Up!" to good movies while Sherman has "It stinks!" for bad movies.

Again, the show was clever and very funny in the airtime it had. I remember laughing at every single movie parody in each episode. The rest of each episode about Sherman's life is good, too, though I didn't really feel the need to talk about it. The bottom line is that The Critic, though it has mainly a cult following, is very original, funny, brilliant, and unique. It deserved the status of a regular series, like The Simpsons, and sadly did not get that chance. The decision by the networks to cancel the show was uncalled for. In the words of Jay Sherman, it stinks.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about The Critic, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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