The Critic

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The Critic
The Critic title card.png
Title card
Genre Sitcom, satire
Format Adult animation
Created by Al Jean
Mike Reiss
Starring Jon Lovitz
Nancy Cartwright
Christine Cavanaugh
Gerrit Graham
Doris Grau
Judith Ivey
Nick Jameson
Maurice LaMarche
Park Overall
Russi Taylor
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 23 (and 10 webisodes) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Al Jean
Mike Reiss
James L. Brooks
Running time 22 minutes (1994-1995)
3-5 minutes (2000-2001)
Production company(s) Gracie Films
Columbia Pictures Television
Distributor Columbia TriStar Television
Sony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channel ABC (1994)
Fox (1995)
AtomFilms / Shockwave (2000-2001)
Picture format 4:3 (SDTV)
Original run January 26, 1994 (1994-01-26) – May 21, 1995 (1995-05-21)
Webisodes:
2000–2001

The Critic is an American prime time animated series revolving around the life of New York 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, and finishing its original run on Fox in 1995.

Episodes featured movie parodies with notable examples including a musical version of Apocalypse Now, 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 webisodes 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 webisodes.[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.

Production[edit]

The show was created by Al Jean and Mike Reiss, who along with James L. Brooks served as executive producers. The Critic was produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Gracie Films. The show's animation was done by Film Roman. It was co-produced by Patric Verrone.

The show sometimes included appearances of real life critics, such as Gene Shallit, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, who provided their own voices.[9] When choosing things to parody, Reiss and Jean made a conscious decision to find the right balance between current pop culture, and references that would stand the test of time.[10]

The Critic was "the first major non-family sitcom animated program to appear in primetime".[9] The show started out on ABC on January 26, 1994, where it aired 13 episodes. It was cancelled by the network after half a season, and was then moved onto Fox the following year where it ran for another 10 episode season. Around this time, it was included in a "shameless plug" crossover with The Simpsons and assumed the timeslot immediately after the show in the TV schedule, in an attempt to popularise it.[11] But despite improvement of the ratings,[6][7] Fox moved it to a different timeslot after 5 episodes, and also cancelled it after this run had finished airing in May 1995.[11] 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,[12][13] and also Fox refused to officially cancel the show until much later.[12][13] The show was not renewed on any network, and effectively became cancelled. The show returned in Flash-animated webisode form in 2000-2001, for a third series with 10 3-5 minute installments.

Design[edit]

Four people have a design credit on the show: David Silverman, Rich Moore, David Butler, and Everett Peck. Silverman designed the look of Jay Sherman. Moore and Butler designed the general look of the show including some of the backgrounds and supporting cast. The character of Doris was based on Peck's drawings. Butler helped in the hard task of standardizing all these animation styles. Moore was the supervising director, so oversaw a lot of the design process — and was also responsible for how the action would play out, and how each shot would be framed. Rich Moore explains "the design of Jay Sherman began as a sketch done by David Silverman" on a napkin/place-mat in a restaurant. He was designed as "Kaufmanesque", and Jim Brooks liked the design, so his design remained much the same for the pilot episode. Moore had his reservations as the character had a "flat head and tiny eyes that were hard to act with", and was composed of shapes that were difficult to turn in a 3D space. It was decided the drawing encapsulated the humanity and reality of the critic, so was left unchanged. Over the course of the two seasons however, the design was altered slightly. The flat head was made more round, and his eyes became bigger — in order to make Sherman more appealing and more easily animatable. The design team never intended to make the characters too cartoony as it would not have fit tonally with the type of show. The characters were designed via a general think-tank process of "what do we like about the characters and what are we trying to say about them?". Quick sketches were completed in front of the full creative team after a discussion about characters, which were then critically analysed. In particular, the design of the parents caused some issues. Jim Brooks described the father as a "crazy wasp". The designs were eventually based on a photo of a professor and his wife. Moore explains that the animation should never "step on the voices or the writing".[10]

Casting[edit]

Jean and Reiss had a lot of trouble casting the voice for Margo, Jay's sister. Nancy Cartwright (who plays Bart in The Simpsons) was eventually given the role. She used a voice very similar to her natural one. Christine Cavanaugh (who had done voice acting with roles like Babe and Chuckie Finster) was cast as Marty. The Ted Turner-esque boss was played by Charles Napier, using his real voice. Due to the sheer number of film and TV parodies, the team also sought character actors who could play many different roles. During the audition process, they asked them to perform their acts, which Reiss described as "very entertaining". Maurice LaMarche impressed Jean by doing "perfect" impressions. LaMarche even beat out genuine Australians for the role of Australian actor Jeremy Hawke. He was often asked to work on his accent of a pop culture figure related to media just released or that would have been released by the time of the episode's airing. Depending on who could do the voice better, the characters were divided up between Nick Jameson and Maurice. Each would play about 20-30 characters per show. According to Maurice LaMarche, he played twenty seven characters one episode.[14] Maurice specialised in impressions, while Nick's specialty was accents and dialects.[10]

History[edit]

The series was created by writing partners Al Jean and Mike Reiss, who had previously worked as showrunners for The Simpsons. The two had a contract with executive producer James L. Brooks to create an original series that he would help sell to a network and, at the time, Brooks had a deal with ABC that essentially meant that they would put anything he brought them on the air for 22 episodes.[10][12]

The initial idea came from Brooks, who approached Jean and Reiss with an idea about doing a show based around the backstage of a morning show like Today or Good Morning America from the perspective of a make-up artist at the show. They described it as like The Mary Tyler Moore Show except during the daytime. However, neither of the two writers knew anything about make-up and felt unqualified to write the series. Over time, the pitch was reshaped until A League of Their Own was released, which co-starred Jon Lovitz. The duo decided to write a role specifically for Lovitz, who they had worked with in the past when he did voices for The Simpsons, and wrote him as a film critic. They dropped the earlier ideas entirely and let the series develop from there.[10][12]

When the series was first coming together, it was meant to be a live-action sitcom. Lovitz was enthusiastic about doing the show, but was unable to commit to a live-action shooting schedule because of his commitments for A League of Their Own. Because they were already familiar with animation and to make sure Lovitz could do the show, they decided to turn the series into a cartoon. They eventually figured out that even if they had done the series in live-action, it would have cost millions of dollars per episode because of the elaborate movie parodies that frequently appear in the cartoon.[10][12] According to PopMatters, "the creators [said] they intended the series as their "love letter to New York".[15]

The ABC Season[edit]

Reiss and Jean sold the series to ABC based on the pilot script, despite a complete lack of any visuals nailed down. ABC gave them a 13-episode commitment, which allowed them to move on to designing the aesthetic of the series. The one stipulation Lovitz had was that he didn't want Sherman to look like him, although the two more or less look alike in the end. They also made a conscious decision to make it as distinct from The Simpsons as possible, despite hiring Simpsons alumni in key art positions.[10][12]

The series premiered on January 26, 1994 on ABC, leading into Home Improvement, and began airing at an extremely inopportune time. The popularity of The Simpsons had led to major networks trying their hands, and largely failing, at primetime animation. By the time The Critic started airing, shows like Family Dog and Fish Police had already failed to gain an audience. The first episode also managed to garner massive amounts of hate mail, which likely discouraged the network further.[12]

In the season's most crucial ratings week, "A Little Deb Will Do Ya" aired against the Women's Figure Skating final during the 1994 Winter Olympics, which was seen by over 46 million households (a 48.5 share) and rates as one of the highest rated broadcasts on American television.[12]

The crew was informed midway through the first season that they would not be renewed. The creators scrambled to retest episodes and put together a new pitch for other networks, eventually settling with Fox.[12]

The Fox Season[edit]

Fox picked up the series for a 10-episode second season after it was dropped by ABC. The series creators paid particular attention to focus groups and other sources of criticism. They changed some of the designs, opting to make Jay Sherman's head rounder and his pupils bigger, introduced a love interest (Alice Tompkins) and generally made Sherman's character less pathetic. The lower budget also necessitated a clip show episode as one of the 10 from the season.[12]

The series went over as poorly at Fox as it did at ABC. In the DVD commentary tracks, Al Jean offered several reasons why the show failed on Fox despite promising ratings when put alongside The Simpsons (particularly after the cameo appearances by Jay Sherman on The Simpsons), mainly that the network simply didn't have as much financial interest in the series because they didn't own it. The Critic was solely owned by Sony, which meant that reruns and syndication deals would not net Fox any money down the road, whereas a 20th Century Fox show like King of the Hill would yield profits. He also suggested that Fox had less invested into the series because it was inherited from another network.[12]

The series was canceled a second time after the second season.[12]

After Fox[edit]

Once it became clear that the series would not have a long life on Fox, the producers started talks to move the series yet again. Nine scripts for the never produced third season were written, including a parody of Single White Female, and UPN was interested in picking the show up. However, the budget would have been slashed dramatically and Fox wouldn't officially cancel the series, for fear of it jumping to another network and succeeding. Negotiations broke down and the series was finally put down for good on broadcast television.[12]

In 2000, the series was resurrected briefly on AtomFilms.com as a series of webisodes animated using Adobe Shockwave. The art was significantly more rudimentary and nearly every character was dropped with the exception of Jay Sherman and a single appearance by Vlada. The webisode series largely was an excuse to do more movie parodies, but also featured a narrative of Jay trying to date his new young make-up lady, Jennifer. Each webisode was between 3 and 5 minutes long, the series ran for 10 episodes.[12]

The series was popularized again when Comedy Central bought the broadcasting rights and aired it alongside other acquired animated comedies like Duckman and Undergrads. The series, for a time, was one of the most watched shows on Comedy Central. A DVD collecting both seasons and the webisodes was released in 2004.[12]

Cast and characters[edit]

Name Character(s)
Jon Lovitz Jay Sherman
Christine Cavanaugh Marty Sherman
Nancy Cartwright Margo Sherman
Various
Gerrit Graham Franklin Sherman
Judith Ivey Eleanor Sherman
Doris Grau Doris Grossman
Maurice LaMarche Jeremy Hawke
Orson Welles
Howard Stern
Various
Nick Jameson Vlada Veramirovich
Various
Brenda Vaccaro Ardeth
Rhea Perlman
Charles Napier Duke Phillips
Park Overall Alice Tompkins
Russi Taylor Penny Tompkins
Kath Soucie Various
Tress MacNeille Humphrey the Hippo
Various

Plot[edit]

The show follows the life of 36-year-old film critic from New York named Jay Prescott Sherman. His televised review show is called Coming Attractions, which airs on the Philips Broadcasting cable network. He is also "cold, mean-spirited, and elitist".[9] His signature line, upon experiencing bad art, is "It stinks!". Each episode was crammed full of film references and parodies. Some of the secondary characters that are a part of Jay's story include his nutty adoptive father, his well-meaning son Marty, the Australian movie star Jeremy Hawke, Margo — the biological child of his adoptive parents, his snide make-up lady Doris, and his boss Duke Phillips. In the second season, Jay acquired a love interest — a Southern woman named Alice Tompkins, who later became his long-term girlfriend.

Relationship with The Simpsons[edit]

The A.V. Club explains "in creating The Critic, Al Jean and Mike Reiss set out to make the show as dissimilar from the The Simpsons as humanly possible".[16] Nevertheless, there are many similarities between the two series. Gen X TV: The Brady Bunch to Melrose Place argues that The Critic became a critical success while other animated shows of the early 1990s flopped was because "the makers of these shows failed to realize that The Simpsons didn't become a hit because of animation [but] because of its style of humor", and says that The Critic understood this. It adds the show "took the media-obsession/parody portions of The Simpsons and created separate show around them.[17] Planet Simpson describes the show as "the closest thing The Simpsons ever had to a spin-off".[11] The Critic also shares The Simpsons love for criticizing Fox and the audience, such as Jay's frequent line "You're watching Fox, shame on you" and "The Critic will be right back, you TV addicted couch monkeys" [18] before the show went to commercial break.[17] The A.V. Club says "The Critic made its protagonist the anti-Homer Simpson. Where Homer is a booze-sodden everyman, Jay Sherman is an unabashed elitist. Where Homer is a rudely physical creature, Jay leads a life of the mind. Homer is a slob. Jay is a snob".[16] While "Springfield is very aggressively and deliberately Anywhere, United States, The Critic is an extended Valentine to a certain kind of pointy-headed East Coast elitism".[16] PopMatters said "The Critic's humor is very much in the spirit of The Simpsons, taken in a more brazenly surreal direction".[15]

Matt Groening had no part in its inception, and wanted to make this very clear, so he would not be associated with any success or failure the show would have. He claimed that in the public consciousness, this was his show — a direct spin-off to The Simpsons.[19]

Many voice actors appear in both The Simpsons and The Critic, and regulars on both shows have made cameos in the others. For example, Nancy Cartwright, Doris Grau, and Jon Lovitz have all played primary/secondary characters on both shows. Maurice LaMarche, who played many characters on The Critic, "played George C. Scott getting hit in the groin with a football" in the crossover episode. His only line was "Ow, my groin". He also did Jay's belch in the episode.[14]

Crossovers[edit]

In "Dukerella", Jay and Alice attend a costume ball dressed as Homer and Marge.[9] 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." This is a satirical suggestion that The Simpsons is low-brow.[9]

In "A Star Is Burns", Jay makes a guest appearance on The Simpsons presiding over a local film festival. 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.[20] This episode caused some conflict between Simpsons creator Matt Groening and executive producer James L. Brooks. Groening decided to take his name off the credits and did not appear in the DVD commentary. He publicly complained about the episode, which went to air in the end. He said "for more than six months I tried to convince Jim Brooks and everyone connected with the show not to do such a cynical thing, which would surely be perceived by the fans as nothing more than a pathetic attempt to...advertise The Critic at the expense of the integrity of The Simpsons". In response, Brooks said "[Groening] is a gifted, adorable, cuddly ingrate. But his behavior right now is rotten. And, it's not pretty when a rich man acts like this".[11]

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.[21]

Episodes[edit]

Hallmarks[edit]

Much like the opening sequence in The Simpsons with its chalkboard, sax solo, and couch gags, The Critic has a distinctive opening sequence featuring minor gags. Jay answered a different phone call and was later shown reviewing a different movie parody clip in each episode—always followed by the negative assessment, "It stinks!" by Jay Sherman. There was also a cinema gag at the end of each episode.

Themes[edit]

The main source of satire in The Critic is of the entertainment industry. The A.V. Club explains "Mike Reiss and Al Jean-written episodes of The Simpsons are often defined by a high number of parodies, spoofs and homages. In their episodes, the Simpsons are always watching television or going to the movies. They didn’t need any such excuse for film parodies on The Critic since Jay’s life was inherently and organically filled with film. It proved the perfect delivery system for an endless series of clever, bite-sized spoofs."[16] The book I'm an English Major--Now What? epitomises this by recounting a scene where Jay is forced to rate movies "on a scale of good to excellent" - thereby negating his credibility as a film critic. Sherman says "but what if I won't like something", to which his boss Duke replies, "That's what good is for". This shows the corruption of an industry that aims to provide unbiased thoughtful analyses of films, due to bribery and politics.[22] Another example is in the June 22 episode "L.A. Jay", where after trying to break into the movie business by writing a script, which is revealed to be rather good, a studio buys it off him for $100,000 in order to bury it, thereby keeping quality out of the industry.[9] While episodes typically dealt with his private life, Jay's position as a film critic "offer[ed] numerous opportunities for the show to satirize the film industry, establishing a duologue with popular culture" in a very similar way to what The Simpsons had already been doing for years.[9] The Critic also frequently made fun of celebrities, sometimes in mean-spirited ways. Drawn to Television cites the fat jokes directed at Marlon Brando or Orson Welles.[9] The Critic also frequently comments on television. For example, one episode criticizes a character's project to colorize a series of classic black-and-white films for broadcast on a cable channel. The process involves making the films "more attractive to a contemporary audience" by "inserting computer-generated happy endings".[9] The article Ten Frighteningly Prophetic Parodies from ‘The Critic’ explores the show's spoofs that "have come true (or close to true), proving that there really isn’t anything that’s too stupid for Hollywood to make" - an almost meta-satirical statement in that things that the writer thought were too ridiculous to be true at the time, ended up coming to fruition.[23]

GrabBagCinema said, "What was great about this show, was that it always knew how to make you laugh and poke fun at celebrities, and their movies. It was so well written because it really understood movies, celebrities, Hollywood and humour. If you weren’t a movie buff, you probably couldn’t appreciate it or enjoy it. But if you were, you understood the references and saw the effort the writers and animators put in, to recapture the movies you grew up loving and remembering... but they did it with clever humour that wouldn’t offend you. But the best element of this show was that Jay Sherman would review films honestly. And even though he loved classic cinema and original story telling, he would still be honest and say he didn’t like it. It’s just a shame real life critics and reviewers cannot do the same".[24]

Reception[edit]

Contemporaneous[edit]

The Critic originally received mixed to positive reviews when it first aired. In 1994, The Chicago Sun-Times gave a typical review of the show with, "Jay Sherman, the eponymous culture vulture of The Critic, would undoubtedly say his new animated comedy on ABC 'stinks'. Fortunately for him [The Critic] smells pretty good to me".[25] The show has since developed a cult following,[6][26][27][28] with much of it coming through the show's weekend reruns on Comedy Central up until about 2005.

The DVD set also got many positive reviews, such as one from Animated Views (which gave it an overall rating of 10/10),[29] and on TV.com where the series has a user rating of 8.5 based on 625 votes.[30] Mike Reiss' favourite episode is the Siskel and Ebert one.[10]

In September 2006, IGN ranked The Critic 9th in their list of the Top 25 Primetime Animated Series of All Time.[31] In January 2009, they ranked the show 26th in their other list of the Top 100 Best Animated TV Series.[32] In the latter article, IGN said: "Of all the projects completed by ex-Saturday Night Live players, The Critic is the most fully realized, hilarious and heartwarming. It took its cues from Woody Allen movies like Annie Hall and Manhattan, and offered up a style of random abstract humor that wouldn't really be seen again until Family Guy".[33] In December 2011, Complex ranked the show 6th in their list of The 25 Most Underrated Animated TV Shows Of All Time.[34]

People magazine gave it a B, saying "This animated series is slyly amusing when sticking it to showbiz, taking sarcastic swipes at everyone from Steven Seagal to Gene Shalit. At its best, it's still several strides behind the savage, protean wit of The Simpsons, and the humor sputters when the focus is personal".[35] Of the third season, IGN said "I was thrilled to find out that Gracie Films has started producing new episodes of the cancelled ABC/Fox/Comedy Central show The Critic -- and for web cartoons that don't depend on the violence/swear cop-out for the humor, the shows are actually really well produced."[36]

Early on in its run, Siskel and Ebert did a review of the show. It was the only television series they ever reviewed. Some of the criticisms they provided, if left unattended to, may have been factors to the show's cancellation. They said the show doesn't have as many memorable characters as The Simpsons, and encouraged the writers to work on that. They said the second episode was a let down because "it didn't seem to be about the world of a movie critic", and was instead about "a single dad and his geeky son". They said the jokes involving Jay's dad get tiresome, and that the station boss isn't as sharp a parody as he could be. Siskel said, "if The Critic is gonna succeed — and I hope it does — it desperately needs to refocus itself on the movies and the way critics interact with them". He added that the show needs a second critic, and jokingly said he and Ebert should (and would love to) save the show by writing scripts for them. Ebert said the show should have 2-3 movie/genre parodies per episode. He added he would like to see Jay watch television to allow the show to satirize that medium as well. This would focus the show on the media, and not let it become another show about a man and his problems. Siskel said the writers should keep Jay as a smart critic. Regardless of his personality, if his critiques are witty and intelligent, by extension the show's satire becomes much sharper.[37]

Later analysis[edit]

AOL TV published an article in 2009 entitled Gone Too Soon: The Critic, in which they analyzed the cancellation of the show. It said "The creators and Lovitz seem to [care about the show], as there are always talks cropping up of a revival of The Critic, either as an animated project, or possibly a live-action one. There are fan sites out there, but as time passes with no new material, many of these are becoming floating time capsules".[38] Plus, a lot of effort was put into the release of the DVD (which there was a lot of demand for), meaning there is still a fan base as well as a passionate cast and crew.[10]

Drawn to Television says that like Jay's show-within-a-show Coming Attractions, "audiences never quite warmed up to Sherman and his surrounding cast of characters" in The Critic, perhaps due to the lack of warmth between character interactions in both shows.[9] The book The Magic Behind the Voices put its cancellation down to "so-so ratings and network politics".[14] Planet Simpson says it "failed to click with Simpsons fans".[11] In 1994, Austin American-Statesman said "The Critic never had a prayer on ABC, where the comedy overload consists of domestic sitcoms".[39] The show is generally considered one of the great TV shows cancelled too early into its run. Columbia Spectator said the show was "one of television's great lost causes."[40] Voice actor Maurice LaMarche considered The Critic one of his "personal favorites", saying "I would almost give anything to bring back The Critic, along with Pinky and the Brain; those are the two most satisfying jobs I've ever had".[14] OGeeku said "This show did not last as long as it should have and that is truly a shame. The Critic was in its time, one of the greatest animated shows ever made and one of the funniest shows period on television".[41] Reiss thinks the show holds up very well.[10]

PopMatters said "The animated Jay Sherman...is perfect for Lovitz. He may never find anything in live action that serves him quite so well. I don’t mean that as a dig at his comic abilities (or his looks); it’s just that Sherman is an ideal outlet for the actor’s ham". It said the cartoon format allows for "his two biggest strengths as a performer: sarcasm and ironic overacting". It added "A marriage of voice-acting, writing, and animation that rivals some of the best Pixar work, Sherman is nonetheless hampered occasionally by the writers’ over-sampling from the Homer Simpson playbook, mainly gags concerning Jay’s girth and accompanying appetites. More effectively".[15] PopMatters said "when it originally aired...the series was (for better or worse) slightly ahead of its time, outlandish in a way that The Simpsons would not adopt until later. Rewatching it now, The Critic seems most similar stylistically to the more recent series Family Guy, with its frequent cutaway gags...and blurring of fantasy and reality. The Simpsons introduced these qualities in moderation; The Critic and Family Guy are addicted to them, sometimes to a crippling degree". It explained that "The reference-heavy, media-saturated, sketch-like structure works better for The Critic than Family Guy, though, because the former is less in love with itself and its desire to shock or offend. Indeed, it’s more strange than twisted, Unlike Family Guy, it has a frame of reference beyond television, beyond even its self-created film niche". It adds that "The satire isn’t always as biting as it could be; many of the movie parodies eschew real critique in favor of non sequiturs or homage. Too often the writers rely on audience familiarity with popular movies. It’s amusing to be sure, but rarely as deadpan hilarious as The Simpsons parade of fabricated Troy McClure B-movies".[15]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1994 Gracie Films and Film Roman Productions Annie Award for Best Animated Television Program[42] Nominated
1995 Al Jean and Mike Reiss Annie Award for Best Individual Achievement for Creative Supervision in the Field of Animation[42] Nominated

Home media[edit]

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 webisodes. The show achieved good sales, jumping onto the DVD list at 14 on Amazon, and quickly going through five issuings.[20]

References[edit]

  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. 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. 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 d e f g h i j Keith Booker, M (2006-01-01). Drawn to Television: Prime-Time Animation from the Flintstones to Family Guy. ISBN 0275990192. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Critic DVD Extras — Creating The Critic". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Turner, Chris (2005). Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation. Introduction by Douglas Coupland. (1st revised ed.). London: Ebury Press. p. 133. ASIN 009190336X. OCLC 56457550.  ISBN 0-09-190336-X, 978-0-09-190336-7
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o The Critic at The TV IV
  13. ^ a b The Critic/Season Two at The TV IV
  14. ^ a b c d Lawson, Tim; Persons, Alisa (2004-12-09). The Magic Behind the Voices: A Who's Who of Cartoon Voice Actors. ISBN 1578066964. 
  15. ^ a b c d The Critic: The Complete Series | PopMatters
  16. ^ a b c d Rabin, Nathan (2011-11-06). "The Critic | The Critic | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  17. ^ a b Owen, Rob (1999). Gen X TV: The Brady Bunch to Melrose Place. ISBN 0815605854. 
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