It NEVER stank.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, if they were smart, they would’ve had Jay Sherman as the host of the upcoming Academy Awards which, as of this writing, still doesn’t have a host. Who’s Jay Sherman you ask? Jay Sherman is the lead character of The Critic. Having originally premiered on January 26th, 1994, we celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary as the ultimate Hollywood animated parody.
And yes, there have been a lot of animated series meant to lampoon Hollywood, the most recent success being BoJack Horseman, but the Jon Lovitz starrer took the pie of Hollywood and smeared it in everyone’s face. 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 often viewed in-universe as “cold, mean-spirited, and elitist”. His signature line, upon seeing a terrible movie, is “It stinks!” Each episode is 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.
The Critic featured a number of different facets that made the show survive a lot longer than the typical series trying to capitalize on the early nineties success of The Simpsons. Examples include qualities from workplace comedies, parodixical elements, and even being one of the earliest examples of a divorced family in adult animation, The Critic’s endearing success is a testament to The Simpsons DNA that was found throughout the series. Featuring former producers from the FOX series in pretty much every area of production for the show including the writing department, animation, even in voice acting, parallels can be found in both franchises to each other much to the chagrin of Matt Groening who was NO fan of FOX more or less forcing The Simpsons to produce a back-door episode to help shepherd The Critic to FOX after it’s ABC cancellation.
In 2000, show creators Mike Reiss and Al Jean attempted to resurrect the series in what really should be it’s rightful place, the internet, however the concept was so far ahead of it’s time, far pre-dating the eventual rise of social platforms like Twitter and Facebook which would’ve made for excellent homes for the quick shorts whose sole purpose was to critique new Hollywood features. Mike Reiss, to this day, is one of the funniest people to follow on Twitter as it pertains to getting movie reviews, and if The Critic were brought back today, there’s no telling how much success would be had.
Hell, maybe Jay Sherman would’ve gotten the call to host the Oscars by now.