It Stinks! – Did The Critic Deserve Better?

Well, I can sink a $50 million musical using only the word “Crap”! – Jay Sherman


Welcome back! We all have that show. The show that you adore and can quote at the drop of a hat. You love it, but you are the only one.  Everyone has one of those shows that just didn’t take off with the masses. We are left with a very limited series that you watch over and over again as they write an analysis on the internet. Probably on a blog.

Ahem…moving on.

This is what this Saturday series is about, taking those shows that had a very limited run and deciding if the show deserved better. After all, you may love a show, but after you analyze it, you can understand why it didn’t take off.

First show we are examining this Saturday?

The Critic by Al Jean and Mike Reiss.


The Critic was created by Simpsons writers Al Jean and Mike Reiss (James L. Brooks as executive producer) and featured Jon Lovitz as title character Jay Sherman. The show followed the life of a television critic as he handled his boss, his actor best friend, his son and his parents.

It premiered on ABC on January 26, 1994, and was canceled mid-season.  Then FOX picked up the series for another ten episodes but then was canceled again. The rumor states that the show almost had a deal with UPN, but it never happened.  It even had a crossover episode with the Simpsons to promote the show which caused a big argument with Jean/Reiss and Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Let’s just put it this way, to this day; he refuses to acknowledge the episode exists.

The show wasn’t well received by audiences. It even, according to a Mental Floss article, it elicited a lot of hate mail from viewers.  Viewers felt the show was too mean spirited. Once it jumped to FOX, they tried to make Jay nicer. Hence why in the second season the show added a girlfriend with a cute daughter.

In 2000, there were ten webisodes created for Atom films and Shockwave. Since then the whole series has been released on DVD and is available to stream on Crackle for free.

How it sat in pop culture history

It may have been rejected by the mass audience, but there is a fan base.  It is thought it developed during its syndication run on Comedy Central (which ran up to 2005), the release of the DVD, and fans talking about it online.  Most people that grew up with the show on Comedy Central have grown to appreciate it. The show even made it onto a few underrated lists. The show was getting some recognition after being rejected all those years ago.

Did The Critic Deserve Better?

Yes, this show deserved better. I was one of the viewers of the Comedy Central run. I couldn’t have imagined not living without it in middle school. I was a weird kid. Ok?

I’m convinced that this show was ahead of its time. The humor was dark, dirty and pop cultured laced. We wouldn’t see that type of humor until Seth MacFarlane showed up with Family Guy.  We like losers and anti-heroes now. In the 90’s we seemed to love the loveable hero. Lots changed since then, and we as a society have gotten a bit darker in tone.  The Critic could still come back and not miss a beat. The creators seem open to bringing the show back again, and I’d welcome it with open arms.  I feel like it would fare better with our darker sense of humor. Especially with college kids.

Check out the show on Crackle or DVD. You too can have fun navigating the world with Jay Sherman. It is a dark and unfeeling, but you will like it.

Here is a best of montage. Watch and enjoy this show that definitely deserved better.

What do you think? Are you a fan of The Critic or do you think it stinks! (I had to get it in there somewhere). Leave a comment below. Next Wednesday I will be talking about our obsessions with ‘The Twist.’ Until then, enjoy your randomly organized pop culture.

One Comment

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  1. Love your random obsessions on this blog, Amanda. If you’re interested in sharing your pop culture musings with a larger audience on shoot me an email!

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