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The Critic online? It stinks!
August 1, 2011 9:39 AM   Subscribe

The story that lead to the creation of The Critic is an interesting one, starting as an idea for a behind-the-scenes show with a focus on the make-up lady for a morning talk show, which transitioned into the animated series that ran for two seasons on two different channels, plus 10 online shorts (on the blue, previously). If this is all news to you, you can peruze an old fansite and, or watch all 23 episodes online, plus the webisodes in two sets. Bonus: the Simpsons/Critic crossover, which did not amuse Matt Groening.
posted by filthy light thief (77 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite

 
Does not stink.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:41 AM on August 1, 2011


I will always have a fondness for The Critic cause A) No one else in my family liked it and B) they sneaked past a few seriously dirty jokes.

"Except the gloves"
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 AM on August 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


The pilot's a penguin? And he's been drinking?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:46 AM on August 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


This post is full of country goodness and green pea-ness.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:47 AM on August 1, 2011 [21 favorites]


I always loved the opening to the Critic -- the music, the scenery -- and when the first time I saw Woody Allen's Manhattan, my jaw almost dropped.

The pilot's a penguin? And he's been drinking?

Franklin Sherman is one of the greatest animated characters ever. Insane-and-rich can be done so many different ways, and I've never seen a better attempt at it than Franklin.

PS: I think I mentioned this before, but does anyone else a bit of (most likely unintentional) overlap between the Critic's art style -- specifically the faces -- and Kate Beaton's? I squinted at her work for months before I had that little "oh shit!" moment.
posted by griphus at 9:48 AM on August 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm on the Internet! I can say "bitch!"

...I saw that webisode years ago and quote it more often than I should.
posted by lumensimus at 9:48 AM on August 1, 2011


I'm sorry: insane, drunk and rich.
posted by griphus at 9:49 AM on August 1, 2011


It stinks!!!
posted by stenseng at 9:51 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Franklin Sherman is one of the greatest animated characters ever.

I was just going to look for a clip of that Franklin flashback. Most amazing thing ever.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:51 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian - I watched a bit of that episode on the weekend, and started quoting back lines to my wife, who was befuddled. She had never seen the show. Sadly, my DVD set sat unwatched, but I'll see if I can sneak it on in the near future.

Penguins can't fly! Penguins can't fly!?!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:52 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Orson Welles: They're even better raw!
posted by shakespeherian at 9:53 AM on August 1, 2011


This show had an inestimable influence on my adolescence. To this day, I can't pass a hospital without thinking of a giant golden statue of Duke Phillips intoning, "ALL HAIL DUKE! DUKE IS LIFE!" And then the pigeons.
posted by Bromius at 9:58 AM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


"I didn't come with pants, and I'm not leaving with pants."
posted by nicwolff at 9:58 AM on August 1, 2011


Also the Siskel & Ebert episode is aces.

Siskel: You're Satan, aren't you?
Satan: You've won another round, Siskel! But we shall meet again!
posted by shakespeherian at 9:59 AM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have to say that Groening was right. I never watched The Critic but based on a lot of things, including that episode, I did in fact assume he was involved with it.
posted by DU at 10:04 AM on August 1, 2011


Franklin had us saying "Boo... yah..." for years in high school.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:07 AM on August 1, 2011


This post is full of country goodness and green pea-ness.

That being said, there is a "Featured" link at the bottom of the final linked page in the FPP that will get every man to study his left hand closely for a few minutes.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:08 AM on August 1, 2011


This flashback, I mean.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:09 AM on August 1, 2011


BUY BOOZE.
posted by griphus at 10:26 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Glupi Dockers." (at 3:25)
posted by underthehat at 10:31 AM on August 1, 2011


You ...understand the silverware?
posted by The Whelk at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2011


I always loved this.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:33 AM on August 1, 2011


"I envy you being able to envy me."
posted by Twicketface at 10:33 AM on August 1, 2011


"Are you mad, dear? Can't you see the danger we're in?"
posted by clockzero at 10:35 AM on August 1, 2011


From about :04 to :25
posted by clockzero at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2011


"Take that, Guernica!"
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 10:38 AM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


What luck. There's a french fry stuck in my beard.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2011


Huh. I loved that show, but I never knew about Groening hissyfitting about the crossover. Good post, thanks.
posted by Gator at 10:42 AM on August 1, 2011


"Fine, fine no Goblins"
posted by The Whelk at 10:43 AM on August 1, 2011


You know, as tempting as it is to hate on the crossover episode for reasons of principle, I personally hold it as one of my favorites. I think they do their due diligence to acknowledge how crass the concept is, and otherwise, I think it stands pretty well. Most of the content of that episode barely depends on it being a tie-in for The Critic. Anybody else could have been the film festival judge. And now, a short list of things from that episode that are delightful:

-Senor Spielbergo
-Both Versions of Man Getting Hit by Football
-"I'll Take Ten."
-"Coming Eudora!"
-"Drink Up, Judah Ben-Hur."
-Krusty as FDR
-"Marge is going to say something."
-"My ears are burning!"
-"On closer inspection, these are loafers."
-"I ought to club them and eat their bones!"/"You left out pleasant!"
-"Wait a minute..."
-Boo-urns
-"...TO A BIGGER HOUSE!"
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:44 AM on August 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


I have to say that Groening was right. I never watched The Critic but based on a lot of things, including that episode, I did in fact assume he was involved with it.

Yeah, well, it's not like he was ever all that involved in The Simpsons, either.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, the opening sentence/graf of the LA Times link re: Groening is really poorly-written for, well, the LA Times:

"The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening is so angry with executive producer James L. Brooks for cross-promoting "The Critic" on this Sunday's episode that he has yanked his name from the credits.
posted by griphus at 10:49 AM on August 1, 2011


Huh. I loved that show, but I never knew about Groening hissyfitting about the crossover. Good post, thanks.

Me either. And I say this as someone who thinks bitching about a decline in quality of The Simpsons is so overdone on the Internet that Metafilter profile mentions it, but of all the episodes for him to not put his name on, this seems like a huge mistake.

But that's probably because I have a very, very soft spot for Senor Speilbergo.

And also, at the time, I thought it would have been worth it for this exchange:

* [Bart is watching television] Announcer: Coming up next, The Flintstones meet The Jetsons.
* Bart: Uh oh. I smell another cheap cartoon crossover.
* [Homer enters the room with Jay] Homer: Bart Simpson, meet Jay Sherman, the critic.
* Jay: Hello.
* Bart: Hey man, I really love your show. I think all kids should watch it! [turns away] Ew, I suddenly feel so dirty.


It's hard to remember but back then, meta-references felt a lot more fresh and interesting. Probably because they were, Seth McFarland.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:50 AM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


Actually, for the longest time, I considered this sequence the funniest 3 seconds on TV

JAY: Okay I'll talk to her, but what if it doesn't work?

MOM: Then have her take a bite of this apple.
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


If we're discussing that cross-over episode, can we discuss a joke from it that has bothered me for a while.

"So then I said to Woody Allen, "Well, Camus can
do, but Sartre is smartre!""


I had a philosophy professor of possibly french-ish background, and he always pronounced Sartre as "Sart." I've never heard anyone else pronounce it "Sart." Is it the correct way?
posted by drezdn at 10:54 AM on August 1, 2011



It's hard to remember but back then, meta-references felt a lot more fresh and interesting. Probably because they were, Seth McFarland.


I wonder if we're starting to reach the point where Simpson's style stuff is so old that even going back to the originals, the jokes seem so cliche. It happens with every groundbreaking thing eventually. People look back on it and can't see why it was revolutionary because the risks it took become commonplace. (There's probably already a tvtrope about this)
posted by drezdn at 10:56 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it the correct way?

The internet says Sart-ruh, but what's up with my former prof's pronunciation?
posted by drezdn at 11:00 AM on August 1, 2011


drezdn: I think this is one of those times when Wikipedia nails it -- giving a French and English pronunciation for Satre's name, the latter which makes the joke work. The French pronunciation is probably more "correct" if you've got to have an answer, but that doesn't prevent plenty of smart people saying it the other way because that's how they were taught. (I think most of my philosophy professors said it the French way, but I know not all of them did.)

(Lord knows, in Chicago and Illinois, we butcher plenty of names -- see Goethe Street -- or Cairo/Milan/Rio as Illinois cities -- but in those instances, I think the argument can be better made that the local pronunciation is "correct." But that's a different derail.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:01 AM on August 1, 2011


The "re" at the end is a guttural French r that doesn't come out in non-French speakers too well, usually. Same deal with the Louvre being called the Loov.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:02 AM on August 1, 2011


excuse me, Illinois "cities"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:02 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also I've realized I've been copying the "leeeet me check my sccccchedule" bit completely unconsciously
posted by The Whelk at 11:11 AM on August 1, 2011


"Seize the dog! Seize the dog! ...this can't be right."
posted by The Whelk at 11:19 AM on August 1, 2011


The Critic is wonderful and in a just world it would have gotten even a fifth of the seasons Simpsons had. Of course, if it had lasted longer, maybe the jokes would have started to go stale, Simpsons-like. It'd have been nice for it to have had the chance, though.
posted by JHarris at 11:43 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know a man who can help you. His name is El Kabong.
posted by box at 11:45 AM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


AAA-chem!
posted by brundlefly at 12:49 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


For ages and ages, I always do the "whaaaaaaak whaak whaak whaak whaak" muttering the penguin does whenever I'm confronted with a situation that merits saying that.

Which is surprisingly often, really.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:20 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's the new "Rassum-frassum"!
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:21 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't ask to be Secretary of Balloon Doggies, the balloon doggies demanded it!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:39 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Except the gloves" was one of the only times I did an honest jawdrop sink-in-chair reaction to any animated show's joke until Archer came along, 15 years later.
posted by jscott at 1:42 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


drezdn: Yes, there is (TV Tropes Link).
posted by Grimgrin at 2:30 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nobody gets away from Buford C. Centurion!


Wow, that could seamlessly fit into just about any Family Guy....
posted by TrialByMedia at 2:59 PM on August 1, 2011


Whoops, Centurion Buford C Augustus...
posted by TrialByMedia at 3:00 PM on August 1, 2011


Does one of these links contain the drinking pilot penguin bit? I have exactly enough free time right now to watch and giggle at that, but not to dig around looking for it.
posted by flaterik at 3:01 PM on August 1, 2011


Oh hey, I missed the web series the first time around, let's see...

Wait... "second divorce? No Alice, in a relationship that grounded Jay and tempered parts where he was an unlikable, self centered jerk?

(┛o‿‿o)┛彡┻━┻
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:02 PM on August 1, 2011


I loved The Critic when it was on, however, until I watched this video, I had no idea that Nancy "Bart Simpson" Cartwright did the voice of Margo Sherman. Now I can never unhear that, so I say: It STINKS.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:02 PM on August 1, 2011


flaterik: Here you go.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:07 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


i don't care how many stewardesses you've banged, you're a lousy pilot.
posted by flaterik at 3:28 PM on August 1, 2011


I always wanted to a start a band named Mopey Teen Magazine.

Such a good show.
posted by defenestration at 3:41 PM on August 1, 2011


Hiiiiiiiii, guyyyyyyyy.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 3:52 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Next thing you'll be telling me I can watch Duckman online.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:02 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


wait a minute ...
posted by mrgrimm at 4:03 PM on August 1, 2011


Next thing you'll be telling me I can watch Duckman online.

Ah I remember staying up late watching both of those shows.
I recently got a huge nostalgia hit when I stumbled on the TV Tropes page for The Critic.

I liked the crossover episode. It's kinda nice that, as much as a loser as he is in his world, he's still a hero in Homer's. And the film festival was CLASSIC.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:13 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Edible spiders don't crawl. THEY DON'T CRAWL!

It's a shame Groening hated the crossover episode. It's one of my favorite Simpsons episodes. Football in the groin! Foot Ball In The Groin!
posted by King Bee at 4:32 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was an animator on episodes 6, 7 and 8 of the web series. The budget was very low so it bounced from studio to studio. I loved the TV show and was delighted at the chance to work on the web version. In episode 8 I programmed a little script in Flash that dynamically generated numbers within certain ranges to make the poll different each time. It's at 6:00 into the second web video. I watched the youtube version dreading that my poll numbers would be blank (since they are dynamically generated in the SWF), and was thrilled to see that they were there.
posted by scottjlowe at 4:32 PM on August 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


The one thing I remember from The Critic was Jay Sherman excitedly reviewing a pretentious film called 'The Tea Cozy': "This film gets my highest rating - seven out of ten!"

Now and then I think about investing in a DVD set for The Critic, but then I remember the money I spent on the complete Duckman series, and... well, once bitten, twice shy.

(Duckman's great, really, but you know: too much of a good thing and all that...)

posted by spoobnooble at 5:06 PM on August 1, 2011


Just as The Critic contains a 'The Rolling Stones Are Super Old Joke" Duckman has possibly my favorite meta-jokes

"Bearnice, how do you find the time to juggle being a congresswoman and mother?"

"I just nap in the bathroom like Strom Thurman"

Text on screen: IF THIS IS A RERUN AND STROM THURMAN IS DEAD WE ARE SORRY IF THIS IS A RERUN AND STROM THURMAN IS ALIVE PLEASE CONTACT GUINNESS.
posted by The Whelk at 5:12 PM on August 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


Something about Lovitz's delighted "Ooooh - fried ba-nanas!" in this bit always makes me laugh when I hear it. The Pac-Man reference doesn't hurt either.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:32 PM on August 1, 2011


Weird - hitting the "Play" button doesn't go to the right bit, but right-clicking and opening the link in a new tab or window does. Anyway, it's at 18:24 in the second show of the first season ("Marty's First Date").
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:35 PM on August 1, 2011


The Whelk: "Text on screen: IF THIS IS A RERUN AND STROM THURMAN IS DEAD WE ARE SORRY IF THIS IS A RERUN AND STROM THURMAN IS ALIVE PLEASE CONTACT GUINNESS."

Season 4, Episode 12 - Bev Takes a Holiday
IF SENATOR THURMOND HAS DIED BY THE TIME THIS AIRS, PLEASE DISREGARD LAST JOKE.
IF HE HAS NOT DIED, PLEASE CONTACT RIPLEY'S.
posted by subbes at 6:42 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I HAVE BEEN FACT CHECKED AND I LIKE IT
posted by The Whelk at 6:44 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Heh! I q like Duckman and had seen that episode recently so I still recalled the phrasing.

I think Guinness would probably have been funnier, but maybe there was some sort of clearance problem.
posted by subbes at 6:48 PM on August 1, 2011


Jon Lovitz should really get more work. He's champagne.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:51 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


spoobnooble: Now and then I think about investing in a DVD set for The Critic, but then I remember the money I spent on the complete Duckman series, and... well, once bitten, twice shy.

(Duckman's great, really, but you know: too much of a good thing and all that...)


Good news! Because there were only 23 episodes (and 10 short webisodes), you can get through The Critic in about a third of the time as Duckman (who had an impressive 70 episodes shoved into 4 seasons, and more-so considering that the first season had 13 eps, and the second only 9). Also, The Critic is much cheaper. /fanboy shill
posted by filthy light thief at 8:52 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


"We're doing our darndest to keep him moist."

"My son is not a whale."

"Well whatever he is, he just ate a bucket of chum!"
posted by Kevin Street at 9:56 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really liked the crossover episode, but when I finally saw the series (The Critic was never shown in the UK) I just didn't get into it at all. I had the same experience with Archer, something else I thought I'd love given the premise and cast.
posted by mippy at 7:44 AM on August 2, 2011


I remember exactly NOTHING about this show, *except* for "Except the gloves". I don't know if I even watched any episodes OTHER than that episode. But I don't care, worth it for that memory alone.
posted by antifuse at 7:15 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bought the DVD set solely because of this thread and because I was such a fan of the show when I was younger. Holds up extremely well.

My personal favorite clip is from the episode where his family is interviewed by Geraldo and his mother shows a clip of when they went to adopt him. It's just baby Jay, pointing at himself and saying "Ehhh? Ehh?" and for some reason I think it is the funniest thing.
posted by HostBryan at 9:08 PM on August 7, 2011


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