Synopsis by Cammila Collar
Long before the birth of Adult Swim, the only animated series for adults was The Simpsons, so when the nerdier and more cosmopolitan The Critic hit airwaves in 1994, audiences weren't sure what to make of it. A loyal cult following sprang up around the series' one-and-a-half season run, however, roping in many film geeks who appreciated the subject matter. The show follows the adventures of dorky New York film critic Jay Sherman (voiced by Jon Lovitz), a snobby but often bumbling Pulitzer Prize-winner who hosts a Siskel & Ebert-type TV show for a network owned by a boorish Texan of infinite corporate power (modeled after Ted Turner). Most of the show's humor comes from a shameless blend of high- and lowbrow satire, never shying away from a fat joke (Jay's portly build renders him too heavy to be lifted by a helicopter), pun-based movie parodies (like "Howard Stern's End" and "Dr. No Means No"), sophisticated cultural icons (Jimmy Breslin signs on to teach ABCs at a high-end preschool), social commentary (a vending machine dispensing guns asks customers to select "yes" or "no" as to whether they are a felon), or absurdity (Jay's father discovers the pilot of his plane is a drunken penguin, only to exclaim, "Wait...penguins can't fly!").