The Writers' Room

The Writers' Room
Please Stop Making Me Hate The Simpsons

Elizabeth Grunewald | 8 Dec 2010 21:25
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The Critic (1995)

You double-crossed The Critic. ABC didn't want it, so you graciously accepted it into your lineup, but for a laughably short amount of time. As the child of Simpsons writers and producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss, maybe you felt obligated. I wasn't there, I don't know. All I do know is that you were an integral participant in The Critic's inability to find a supportive and loving network home and, by extension, an audience.

The Critic was like The Simpsons in that it poked equal-opportunity fun. Most jokes were aimed at Hollywood in the form of film parodies and industry jokes, but Southerners (Duke Philips) the rich (Franklin and Eleanor Sherman), the poor (Alice Tompkins), the overweight (Jay Sherman), the self-absorbed (Jeremy Hawke), and children from tots (Penny Tompkins) to teens (Margo Sherman) were all made targets as well. Most targets, with the notable exception of Hollywood, were gently mocked, making The Critic more soft than satirical. It was a show that could have easily hit everyone's last nerve, but it managed to keep star Jon Lovitz in check just enough that he came across as lovable, rather than manic.

When stacked up against The Simpsons, The Critic managed to capture the spikiness of "Kamp Krusty" and the sweetness of "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish" in one package. A package that you, Fox, signed for and then decided you didn't want. Shame on you. Even if you issue the most heartfelt apology on this show's behalf, I will only forgive you for Season 17.

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