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By Rory L. Aronsky | November 26, 2003

Remember the wonderful, horrible life of Jay Prescott Sherman? First appearing on ABC, then Fox, and finally resting his weary feet at Comedy Central only to disappear sometime later, he has finally found a new home on the Internet and hopefully he’ll be here to stay for longer than the networks allowed him. Thanks to, 10 short episodes of “The Critic” are available for viewing in Shockwave. Starting out in film reviewing, I had my favorites of course, and still do: Roger Ebert, Richard Schickel, and even the past works of Pauline Kael. But when it came to Jay Sherman, I couldn’t help but idolize him as well. Why idolize a man so cynical, so snarky, and sometimes so mean-spirited toward motion pictures? Well, when you review movies, there are always some movies that are so bad, so monstrously evil, and so…bad, that Jay Sherman seemed like he was doing the right thing when berating the movies that he did. Having said that; these are the episodes currently on the Internet that will hopefully introduce Jay Sherman to new generations of film critics and Internet surfers alike. May Jon Lovitz live forever, if only to be gracious enough to record his voice for new episodes of The Critic whenever that opportunity comes around again.
The Critic #1
When it came to relationships, it was remarkable how much flak Jay took. There was his ex-wife, of course, and then Alice Tompkins (voice of Park Overall), entered Jay’s life in later episodes. In the first episode of the Internet series of “The Critic”, the potential new beau of Jay’s life may very well be Jennifer (Valerie Levitt), whose Jay’s makeup artist. Not only are we introduced to Jennifer, but also Jay explains who he is for those that are not familiar with him and also how he managed to make a comeback. He also seems pretty excited about being able to say, “bitch”, because it’s the Internet. He may not be reviewing movies yet, but he’s baaaack!
The Critic #2
It’s ironic that I should be taking a look at The Critic a couple of days before Schwarzengger is sworn in as California’s new governor. Because in this episode, Jay is visited by Schwarzenegger, whose pissed that Jay pans all his films and doesn’t have anything nice to say about them. “Well, they do come further apart,” Jay says, in order to appease the actor. Now they won’t come at all. Fancy that! Anyway, Jay also reviews “Mission Impossible 2” as well as a brief look at “Gladiator”, which has him accessing uncomfortable homosexual thoughts to which only the thought of Heather Graham can flood them away. His reviewing is not as robust or as funny as it used to be, but it still works to a certain degree.
The Critic #3
Jennifer, Jay’s makeup artist, is a little bit hesitant about going out on a date with Jay because she wonders if he has a nice side, which he doesn’t seem too exhibit too often, at least when it comes to reviewing movies. Jay promises to her that he’ll be as sweet as “the treacle that oozes out of John Hughes’ pen”. Jay then interviews Pikachu of “Pokemon 2000”, reveals that Pikachu is gay, and then reviews “The Patriot”. Jason Isaacs may have been a major SOB in that movie, but it makes for a great laugh when a snake-tongued assistant to Cornwallis yells for everyone to make way for him and Cornwallis is actually Hitler. However, when it comes to niceties toward movies he can’t stand, Jay can’t hold his tongue, even if it means losing a date with a woman like Jennifer. Poor bastard, but its good comedy for us.
The Critic #4
Jennifer says yes to a date with Jay and discussion abounds about all the movies he hated and never got to review, such as “Titanic”, and “The Sixth Sense”, which leads to John Wayne’s ghost asking him if he’s gonna finish his fries. Jay hopes to find another “Annie Hall” at the movies every time he goes there, but even Woody Allen wishes the same thing. Lucky for Jay, the “To Be Continued” sign at the end is a GOOD thing. Not many animated characters get so lucky.
The Critic #5
This one’s an episode with the least effort put into it. As it so happens, Jay and Jennifer are in a relationship now, one that Jay likes because “it’s based on mutual delusion”. He also features clips from “Out of Africa”, where Robert Redford’s character performs liposuction surgery, as well as “A Streetcar Named Desire”, that has Rod Steiger barreling out of the car because he can’t stand to listen to Brando. Oh, and let’s not forget the Jay Sherman Dancers, virtually nonexistent save for one old, sarcastic-looking lady, because the Internet doesn’t hemorrhage any sort of budget.
The Critic #6
Jay wants good sex. He wants to hop in the sack, let it bounce up and down, all naked, and, well, I think my appetite just went on a 2-week vacation. Seriously though, Jay has a decent evening with Jennifer and she tries to kiss him, but Jay says that he can’t do it because he had such a perfect evening and doesn’t want to ruin it by clumsily groping her breasts. So pleased at what Jay has done, Jennifer says that she’s touched and probably would have done it anyway, but is glad that Jay’s content enough just to share the moment. But Jay’s a MAN!! “Content” is not a word to be found in one of his two heads. Ok, before this gets any dirtier, this was a better episode than the previous one and at least shows that J&J have progressed much better than last time.
The Critic #7
Good, this wasn’t the episode that I thought it was, though the one I’m thinking of might be the next one. Before millions of minds start whirring in unison, only to spin out of control and explode into multicolored piles of mush (due to my eloquent way of thinking in the first sentence), this episode has Jay going through the movies he liked that came out in 2000. There’s “Cast Away”, in which we find Tom Hanks rubbing his Oscars together in order to make a fire. And then there’s “The Legend of Bagger Vance”, which makes me jealous because it looks like Jay saw a better version that I had to sit through. There’s also an option in which Jay wonders if he’ll get sex and tells you to choose the version that you think will deem him successful in that quest.
The Critic #8
Two stars, and only two. One for the tour of New York and one for the desperate Internet polling Jay conducted at the end. I realize that in animation, anything can happen and anything is possible. Toys can talk, fish can talk, and Fritz the Cat can wander the street as he always does, looking for tasty times beneath the waistlines. But 6 freakin’ kids??!!?? I’d hate to ruin anything you might get out of this installment of The Critic: Super Jumbo Size Creamy-Goodness Internet Edition, but as we (and Jay) learn, Jennifer has 6 kids sleeping in the next room. This raises so many questions. First off, what the hell is she doing on a date with Jay through all the famous aspects of New York City if she’s got 6 kids at home?? And secondly, HOW IN THE HELL DOES SHE REMAIN THAT THIN??!!?? Wow! Ok, ok…liposuction, plastic surgery, I’d believe it. But with 6 kids, those operations aren’t readily afforded. And being a makeup artist for Jay, well that just seals financial desperation in tight. Nannies in New York, that much may be true, but with 6 kids, they’d still need a mother’s attention. But what kind of relationships did she go through which the men walked over her on the way out the door? Perhaps once that we shouldn’t know about and stuff that Jay probably wouldn’t care about what with his Internet polling at the end.
The Critic #9
Being that there hasn’t been a movie worth reviewing in 3 months, Jay decides to go with Valerie to some Broadway shows and review those. These include productions of “Tuesdays With Morrie: The Musical”, “Death of A Salesman” starring the cast of Senfield (well, everybody except Julia Louis-Dreyfuss), and “The Graduate”, which, instead of spotlighting Kathleen Turner’s nude carcass, has an animated Jon Lovitz doing that dirty work. It’s stomach churning, and I’m usually one who can handle the goriest of on-screen blood fests.
The Critic #10
This seems to be the last episode of “The Critic” on the Internet for a very long time as no new episodes have cropped up, and it looks like it’s been 2-3 years at the most. In this one, Jay’s standing in line with his girlfriend Jennifer at the movies and comments on such matters as the David Manning scandal that rode through Sony Pictures like Montezuma’s revenge, and movies such as “Pearl Harbor” and “Moulin Rouge”. If there is where Jay Sherman’s career is to end by the light of this episode, so be it. But it wouldn’t be so bad to have him back for a few more episodes, what with everything that’s come out as of late.

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