The Critic

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 12:00 AM Jan 26, 1994 on FOX

Episode Recap

In this first episode of the series we are introduced to Jay Sherman, a NYC film critic with his own show, "Coming Attractions" on cable. He is over-weight, balding, and has a dry, sarcastic humor that often goes over the heads of his audience. His boss, Duke Phillips, who also owns the entire network, is a Southern no-nonsense business man, and self-made billionaire. He is always upset with Jay for not being positive in his reviews, but Jay doesn't like any of the movies he reviews anyway, so they spend most of their time arguing about how to run the show. But when a pretty young actress named Valerie comes on the show to be interviewed by Jay, he falls in love with her at first sight. Surprisingly, Valerie feels the same way, and they end up going out to dinner after the show, and she spends the night with him. The next morning, Jay's son, Marty, is at the apartment, and Jay asks him to tell his mother, who had recently divorced him, that he's spent the night with a hot actress. But Jay's ex-wife is already dating her old personal trainer, so Marty doesn't think she'll really care.

As Jay and Valerie start to get more serious, he brings her over to his parents' mansion for dinner. Jay's mother, Eleanor, assumes that since Valerie is an actress that she's only dating Jay so she'll get a good review on her up-coming movie. Valerie tries to convince everyone that she's not dating Jay for that reason, but no one can believe it, since Jay is fat and unattractive. Even Jay's best friend, Australian actor, Jeremy Hawke, thinks that the relationship is a bad idea, especially when Jay tells him that he's thinking of proposing to Valerie. It seems that no one can get Jay to see that there is something not-quite-right about his relationship with Valerie, but after a while, he begins to doubt himself.

Valerie's new movie is finally having its Critics' Screening, Jay pretends to be sick so he doesn't have to see it, worried that if he gives it a bad review that Valerie will break up with him. Unfortunately, the studio sends him a copy to his apartment and he is forced to watch it, figuring that it can't be "that bad". But it is that bad and worse, and he knows that there is no way he can pretend to give it a good review. He writes a note to Valerie explaining that he was going to give it a bad review, but he hoped that their relationship was strong enough that they could get past it. When he comes home after the show, Valerie is at his apartment waiting for him. Jay is excited, thinking that their relationship is safe, but she is only there to get her things and leave. He begs her to stay, but it's now obvious that all she was ever after was a good review, and she leaves him. Back home at the apartment, Marty tries to cheer up his father, and they end up going to see a bad Sylvester Stallone movie.
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