The Critic [DVD]
Review By: Gringo

Before I start this semi-normal review of the cartoon series all about film critic Jay Sherman, I want to get the obvious jokes about his catchphrases and repeated one-liners out of the way. Take a deep breath...

What do I think of The Critic being cancelled? It stinks!

Every episode made on three DVDs? With bonus features? Hotchie motchie!

You're bankrupt? And they took away your DVD player? Ha ha! Oh, how awkward.

Want me to stop writing? Oh, would you shut up!

No! No! Don't punch me in the face! Ow.

Oh, great. Now I need to cough up my own blood. Aghem!

Now on to the review...

I love The Critic. Not in a gay way. I mean, I don't want to have sex with Jay Sherman or anything. Besides, he's a cartoon. And even if we lived in some freaked out world where people could have sex with drawings, I certainly wouldn't go for Jay. If I was ever going to give my anal virginity to a male cartoon character, I wouldn't go for a podgy film critic. Maybe Bender, or Count Rockula, but that's a discussion for another time.

Today we're talking (in the singular sense. Oh, how I love to destroy grammar!) about a very funny television show made by a couple of guys who produced The Simpsons. There are some episodes of this very short-lived series that excel the output from Springfield. Especially the most recent couple of series and their "Homer fall down, Homer funny man" humour. Feh. Oops, Sherman catchphrase sneaked in!

Anyway, because television executives are idiots, this series was cancelled after only 23 episodes. But thanks to the magic of DVD, where even Felix The Cat: The Movie gets a new life, Jay is back. And with a bunch of extra features, which the kids apparently like to get with their purchases.

The Complete Series

The first season of The Critic makes me dance like a fairy in a tutu.

Everything is perfect about it. The jokes about films of that time are funny, unlike a lot of parodies, and the cast of characters is tremendous. My favourites are the Eastern European restaurant owner Vlada and Jay's dad Franklin. There aren't many shows where an old man wearing underpants on his head and a banana in his ear can provide original, genuine laughs.

Unfortunately, when the second season came around, the producers or the TV network thought it was necessary to give Jay a permanent love interest. So inexplicably in walks southern belle Alice and her pimply daughter, who I shall call Jemima Shooboo because writing this I've realised, I've forgotten her name.

Now, although this new duo came out with the occasional funny line, it was big mistake giving a fat, obnoxious man a sorted love life. Plus the fact they moved Jay from a penthouse suite into a town house without any kind of explanation. And the intro music was worse. And the children! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!?

Still, the second season was a lot better than most of the other tripe being churned out at that time, and it is certainly worth watching. This was a cartoon that wasn't about cats chasing mice or people living in prehistoric towns who happened to be a page right out of his-tor-eee. It was modern, relevant, often crude but very funny and remains far superior to the likes of modern-day episodes of The Simpsons. HOMER GET BUMP ON HEAD. BART BRAT. FUNNY TIME SHOW.

I'm not going to go much further in-depth talking about individual episodes. It's not because I don't know what to say - or haven't seen them - but because I really don't want to murder any of the jokes by explaining them to you. Instead, I think you should see this series from the start, completely unaware of what joy lies in your path. Yes.

The Extras

For those of you who only feel you can buy DVDs when they come with a million extras, alternate endings, free candy and other fun stuff, you won't be too disappointed with this box set.

You get 10 short Internet cartoons of the series, which were made a few years after it got cancelled. They're not outstanding, because Jay is one of the only characters to make a return, but they're still worth a view.

There is also the odd random, interesting commentary and a behind-the-scenes, which will make you feel like you know everything you ever needed to know (ever) about this show.

That reminds me (no it doesn't)...when I was at university someone told me a joke, if you want to call it that.

Q. What district of London do all the Chinese people live in?
A. Harrow.

See? Harrow is a real place, but it sounds like a Chinese person saying "hello"! Uh...it's funny because...uh...buy this DVD!


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