The Critic/Miserable

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Season 1, Episode 4
Airdate February 16, 1994
Production Number 102
Written by Steven Levitan
Directed by Dan Jeup
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The CriticSeason One
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Miserable is the fourth episode of the first season of The Critic.

Starring: Jon Lovitz (Jay Sherman), Nancy Cartwright (Margot Sherman), Christine Cavanaugh (Marty Sherman), Gerrit Graham (Franklin Sherman), Doris Grau (Doris), Judith Ivey (Eleanor Sherman), Nick Jameson (Vlada Veramirovich), Maurice La Marche (Jeremy Hawke), Charles Napier (Duke Phillips), Kath Soucie (Various)

Special Guest Voice: Pamela Reed (Jay's Fan), Brenda Vaccaro (Ardeth)


Plot Overview

A woman befriends Jay, who later turns out to be a psychotic fan of him.


Arc Advancement





The Show

  • Opening Phone Call: "Jay, this is your sister. You got a lot of laughs on The Tonight Show last night! Um... did you mean to have your fly open the whole time?"
  • Opening Movie Parody: Indiana Jones runs from a bolder, which knocks over ten Nazis like a bowling ball hitting bowling pins.
  • Closing Theatre Shot: "I'm stuck in the chair."
  • Movie Parodies: Indecent Proposal II, Edward Plungerhands, Honey, I Laminated the Kids, Smith & Wesson

Behind the Scenes

  • Shutdown: This episode was considered so dirty by ABC's standards that they very nearly shut the program down entirely. James L. Brooks interceded on behalf of the creators and promised to clean it up. Eventually, they cut out some of the sex jokes that the network found particularly offensive and were allowed to air the episode and continue the series. The censoring efforts by the network caused the episode, originally meant to be aired second, to be pushed to fourth.

Allusions and References

  • Misery: The plot point of Jay getting involved with a woman who is obsessed with him is loosely based around Misery, a novel by Stephen King that was adapted for film several years prior to the premiere of this episode. In Misery, a famous author wrecks during a snowstorm and is rescued by a obsessive fan, played by Kathy Bates, driven mad when she reads the manuscript for his final novel, in which he kills off his most popular character. She proceeds to play sadistic games with him until he rewrites the book, at one point breaking his ankles with a sledge hammer to prevent him from escaping.
  • Indiana Jones: The "It stinks!" gag features Indiana Jones running away from a boulder, which knocks down ten Nazis like bowling pins.
  • The Newlywed Game: Jay and his former wife are contestants.
  • Do the Right Thing:
  • Indecent Proposal:
  • Hud: Mentioned by a film critic that says it makes it look like...
  • C.H.U.D.: See above, he also mentions that he loved C.H.U.D.
  • Edward Scissorhands: Parodied as Edward Plungerhands.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Parodied as Honey, I Laminated the Kids.
  • Shelley Long:
  • Lethal Weapon:
  • Leonard Maltin:
  • Love Story:
  • Eraserhead:
  • Dan Quayle:
  • The New Yorker: The man from the cover of the first issue of The New Yorker says "Bravo, Mrs. S!"

Memorable Moments