Throwback Thursday: The Critic “Siskel&Ebert&Jay&Alice”


Spoilers Below

It stinks!

That was the catchphrase of obese movie critic Jay Sherman, who took us to the movies every week on the short lived James L Brooks/Al Jean stroke of animated genius, The Critic. The episode I
chose for this week is entitled “Siskel&Ebert&Jay&Alice” which guest stars the late Gene Siskel and the recently departed Roger Ebert.

My love for this show stems greatly from my love of The Simpsons and John Lovitz, who provides the voice of the Jay. I’m not sure if they designed the character around Lovitz or what, but his voice works so well with the character. The writing for this show might seem a little dated, as it captures a specific time and place, and the movie parodies haven’t kept up with the times, but the jokes are there and they are legitimately funny. I watched this show when I was kid, and now that I’m grown I find myself laughing at jokes that flew over my head as a child. That is where the clever writing shines through and obliterates the out-dated movie parodies which is why The Critic deserves your time.

So Jay is required to cover the Oscars and hilarity ensues. He discovers the Oscar statues are made of chocolate and can’t resist eating one. Film critics have an entire musical number which Jay ruins and, on the way back to New York, Siskel and Ebert have a falling out. This leads to both of them trying to find a replacement. Jay, of course wants to be partnered with either one of the legendary critics, but the partnership runs too deep for Gene and Roger which emotionally scars Jay.

Well, to make a long story short, Jay has to get them back together somehow. He pretends he’s Woody Allen and has them meet at the top of the Empire State Building (neither one of them knowing the other is coming. It’s a cliché, but it works in this episode,) and they both declare the scheme as a direct rip-off of Sleepless in Seattle, which in itself was a direct rip-off of An Affair to Remember. Both of them decide the movie itself was mediocre at best and they reconcile. Jay goes back to working for Duke Phillips, and everyone lives happily ever after.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for movie parodies and The Critic always delivered. While the parodies on the show may have stunk, the Critic did not. The animation was very soft with subdued colors that fit the mood of the show. The writing was usually pretty top notch, but didn’t think too much of itself not to thrown in a little low-brow humor every now and again. I was sad when this show left us, as it couldstill be on today what with Hollywood giving us endless reboots, sequels, and general schlock like Scary Movie 23: the quest to make the Wayans’s Brother’s relevant. So do yourself a favor and head on over to YouTube and give The Critic another look.

Till next time!


8 out of 10.