Follow TV Tropes


Characters / The Critic

Go To

The characters of The Critic

    open/close all folders 

    The Sherman Family 

Dr.note  Jay Prescott Sherman
"It stinks!"
Voiced by: Jon Lovitz

New York's #3 (early morning Cable TV) film critic, and host of his own show, Coming Attractions. Jay generally struggles with his lack of popularity both on television and with other people, due to his cynical attitude and less-than-handsome appearance. Outside of work, he's a single father to his son Marty, after his bitter ex-wife Ardeth divorced him. As a baby, he was adopted into an extremely wealthy family, and he has a somewhat vitriolic relationship with his mother Eleanor.

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Jay is a constant victim of this.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The closest to resolving this ambiguity occurs in "Every Doris Has Her Day", when Jay visits the orphanage he was adopted from and asks if he was Jewish. The priest answers, "Oh, what do you think?" Jay crows, "I knew it!" and immediately launches into a fake Hebrew song.
  • Amusing Injuries: Every time Jay gets hit on the head by a blunt object, he’ll swerve around and fall like a bowling pin. Even the sound effects are added in.
    • This is one of the reasons Alice's daughter Penny seems to really like him. Jay ended up endearing himself to her when blunt objects kept falling on his head and she thought it was funny.
  • Animated Actor: Jay did this trope a few times.
  • Art Evolution: As of season 2, Jay's eyes were made slightly larger to make him more charming.
  • Balloon Belly: Jay balloons himself by turning into a giant blueberry when he steals a certain stick of gum from Willy Wonka, is shown having one in a picture inside Alice's diamond locket, and from eating a giant bagpipe-playing potato.
    • In another episode he becomes morbidly obese after an image consultant advises him that the public loves people who are "big and jolly" like Santa Claus and Rush Limbaugh. It then cuts to Jay getting liposuction for over a year.
  • Berserk Button: Exploiting children is a huge sore spot for Jay. Two memorable moments highlight this quality:
    • In "Uneasy Rider," when Duke forcibly advertises chewing tobacco on Coming Attractions, Jay sticks to his integrity and defiantly leaves the studio. Beforehand, Jay adamantly refuses the product placement, being concerned for his show's influence on children.
    • In "Frankie and Ellie Get Lost," he has a tobacco company executive arrested for encouraging children to smoke and have sex. Jay is clearly holding back his anger throughout the preceding confrontation. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you remember Jay is a father so of course these examples would piss him off. invoked
  • Big Eater: Jay's obsession with food is so massive that his restaurant bills are what keep Vlada's restaurant afloat. When Jay goes on a diet to train for the New York marathon in "Marathon Mensch," Vlada despondently cuts his son's college fund and disconnects his mother's life support.
  • Bumbling Dad: At times toward Marty, but Marty knows he means well.
  • Butt-Monkey: 90% of the show's humor revolves around the comical mishaps and misfortunes that befall him at every turn.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: He and his son get extremely drunk when they each drink a quarter of a glass of wine while in France. After they drink half each, they're hungover.
  • Catchphrase: Jay has several:
    • "It stinks!"
    • "Hotchie motchie!"
    • "Achhum!"
    • "Ha-haaa, how awkward!"
    • And a fourth was added in the 2nd season, though only in 2 episodes - "Hi guuuuuuuy!"
  • Caustic Critic: Jay Sherman hates just about every movie he sees. If he mentions a movie he DOES like, it's always so that another movie can be compared unfavorably to it.
    • The highest score he ever gives a movie is a 7 out of 10.
    • It's revealed that the only movie Jay likes that isn't foreign and/or artsy is Citizen Kane.
    • It seems this trait of his isn't as bad in season 2. He'll actually say he enjoyed the films he reviews pretty often, even if what was just shown to the audience was just as stupid and goofy as any of the trailers from season 1.
    • It's also been revealed that he and Jeremy Hawke became friends because Jay was the only critic who liked his first movie, the illogical and borderline blasphemous Crocodile Ghandi.
  • Character Blog: Jay has a Twitter account.
  • Character Development: For the second season, Jay's character design was tweaked to give him a friendlier appearance, and most of his harshness and down-and-out traits from the first season were taken away, giving him a warmer, more likable personality.
  • The Chew Toy: Almost constantly.
  • Compassionate Critic: He wants movies to be good, but his intellectual tastes and abrasive personality clash with the movie-going public. Unlike him, they chiefly want mindless action or comedy to take their minds off the world.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The universe really has it in for Jay. In the episode "Lady Hawke," when he was sent to go on the balcony so that Jeremy and his sister, Olivia, could have a private discussion, the weather suddenly turned stormy and a strong wind blew off the towel he was wearing. When Jay finally got back inside and it was Jeremy's turn to wait on the balcony...the weather immediately cleared up and became sunny and beautiful, and two French twins suddenly appeared to entertain him.
    Jay: (watching as this happens) That hardly seems fair.
    • Jay gives us this gem from the first episode:
      "Oh, my therapist was right, God does hate me!"
  • Dodgy Toupee: The intro shows a bird snatching away a rather obvious toupee. In the show itself, he's only seen wearing one a handful of times; in the first episode, again in episode 4 when Duke makes him wear it for the show to make him more appealing to the viewers and a third time in a flashback when he tried hiding his baldness with a judge wig. When Duke pulled it off, Jay was wearing a curly, orange wig in the style of Little Orphan Annie underneath.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: A minor Running Gag in the series is that he wears boxer shorts with movie titles on them (promotional merchandise sent by the movie studios), and tends to lose his pants at times when he's wearing comedic ones such as Rear Window or For The Boys. It extends to his socks, such as My Left Foot and Tootsie.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: He trips, he falls, has things fall on his head, and especially regarding a bungee jump attempt in the first season.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: While rarely seen, he used to have a full head of black hair. It's unknown when exactly he began losing it, but he still had it during the earliest days of his marriage, as shown in flashbacks.
  • Happily Adopted: His adopted family's quirks aside, it's clear that they love each other.
  • He Panned It, Now He Sucks!: What the in-show public thinks about him. invoked
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jeremy.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: While not abusive on purpose, his mother was an emotionally distant woman (one flashback reveals that Jay's overeating was caused by Eleanor having trouble feeding him during toddlerhood) who became increasingly controlling and demeaning as Jay got older, and his father was an alcoholic Cloud Cuckoolander who once dropped Jay on his head... for an entire day. It's also revealed that at one point, Eleanor and Franklin briefly considering returning Jay to the orphanage. They also originally adopted him because they thought he was a pet monkey.
    Eleanor: His original name was Mr Bipp!
  • Holding Both Sides of the Conversation: In season 1, Jay often does this by pretending to be his secretary Ethel with a British nanny accent.
    • Manages a three-way conversation at one point while also pretending to be Al Johlson.
  • Honorary Uncle: Penny calls him "Uncle Jay."
  • Hypocritical Humor: This series was built on it. Anytime Jay makes a denying statement about himself, expect him to immediately afterwards do something like it.
    Jay: I've suffered every ailment known to Man. Except delusions of grandeur. Which is why God chose me alone to do His work ON EARTH!
  • Informed Deformity/Informed Flaw: One of the show's running gags is that Jay is considered almost monstrously ugly by most people, as well as being enormously heavy due to his informed obesity problem, despite being relatively average looking, and while he is slightly overweight, his short stature means he couldn't possibly weigh more than 250 pounds.
    Freight Helicopter Pilot: I don't understand. This thing is supposed to lift a tank.
    • In "Sherman, Woman, and Child", Alice decides to change up his wardrobe a little a bit and he becomes more popular and confident which implies a part of the problem were his outfits. But although while his outfits were never fashionable, they weren't impossibly tacky enough to make that much of a difference.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Jay is very clearly Jon Lovitz with a different hairstyle.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite the running gag of women finding him hideous, he has had a surprising amount of luck with women INSANELY out of his league. To be fair, though, some of these apparent successes are only because the women had ulterior motives. The biggest exceptions was the woman who turned out to be the actress behind Humphrey The Hippo (we never find out her real name but the attraction was genuine), Olivia Hawke, and finally, Alice Thompkins who becomes his official girlfriend.
  • Large Ham: On occasion. Being voiced by Jon Lovitz, who lives on this trope, certainly helps.
  • Loser Protagonist: Most potent in the first season.
  • Love Confession: To Alice at the end of "Lady Hawke."
  • Mistaken for Gay: Jay's boss is convinced Jay has a crush on him, despite Jay's insistence that he's straight.
    Jay: Duke, where's your bedroom?
    Duke: (chuckling) You people never give up.
    Jay: I am not gay! And if I was gay, I would do something about that wallpaper. Plaids and florals? Oh, puh-lease Dukey-Dukey.
    • In Siskel, Ebert, Jay & Alice, however, he reveals that he knows Jay isn't really gay, and just does it to give him a hard time.
    • It's not just Duke. There's also Cyrus, who immediately assumes Jay is Alice's gay friend shortly after meeting him. Jeremy Hawke also says at one point that Jay's attraction to his twin sister, Olivia Hawke, is just an outlet for Jay's homosexual attraction to him.
  • The Movie Buff: But only for snooty art house films. Lessened somewhat in Season 2 when he occasionally mentions having enjoyed mainstream Hollywood fare.
  • The Napoleon: Downplayed; he's a very impassioned film critic, but that's where his ill-temper is concentrated most. Outside of his job, he's mostly a mild-mannered man, but he won't tolerate anyone's nonsense.
  • Nice Guy: Jay, especially in season 2. In season 1 he's more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • No-Respect Guy: Not an ounce of it.
  • Official Couple: With Alice in the second season.
  • One-Liner Echo: "If the movie stinks, just don't go!"
  • Organ Autonomy: Jay's stomach.
  • Rousing Speech: In "Eyes on the Prize."
    "I am a movie critic by trade, and until recently, I got paid to tell you people which movies merely stink and which ones you shouldn't screen near an open flame. Well, I'm putting the burden of lousy movies back on you. It's very simple: if you stop going to bad movies, they'll stop making bad movies. If the movie used to be a TV show, just don't go. After Roman numeral II, give it a rest. If it's a remake of a classic, rent the classic. Tell them you want stories about people, not a hundred million dollars of stunts and explosives. People, it's up to you. If the movie stinks, just don't go."
  • Sealed with a Kiss: With Alice in the end of "Lady Hawke."
  • Shirtless Scene: Has had a few of these.
  • Straw Critic: Jay. In a minor subversion, however, he's essentially a decent guy; in his defense, most of the movies he has to review are horrible. Still, he does attack some noteworthy films and/or performers — he once sucker-punched Mister Rogers! — and this is one reason he's so unpopular with the public.
    On Oscar-winner Haing S. Ngor in The Killing Fields: "If you ask me, he should have gone to the acting fields."
    "And that's why I'm glad The Beatles broke up."
    "And that's why Goldie Hawn should be shot."
    • He was basically the Yahtzee of his day.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: (Non-villain) Jay usually feels like he is the only one with an IQ in a room.
  • This Loser Is You: Jay in the first season, although more intelligent and sensitive than most, but somewhat toned down in the second.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After putting up with so much crap from his job, his parents, women, the general public, and the universe at large, Jay manages to get a steady girlfriend in Alice at the beginning of the second season.
    • More generally, if the Crossover with The Simpsons is canon, then Jay has a long string of awards. He's also had actresses come on to him in the hopes of getting good reviews, and he's also had off-screen meetings with various celebrities, which suggests that he's well-thought of in the film world, at least. He also seems to make a pretty comfortable living in general.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the first season, he was a film critic who was a bit snarky at times with depths, but in season two, this is toned down and is given more of a Nice Guy streak.
  • Unlucky Everydude
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: In the first season.
  • Vocal Evolution: Jon Lovitz had the nasally tones in his voice exaggerated for Jay in season one, but in season two, while exaggerated, it's more subtle.

Martin "Marty" Sherman

The son of Jay and his ex-wife Ardeth. Much like his dad, he struggles with his weight, and isn't very popular at school.

  • Athletically Challenged: He put on an embarrassing performance at his school's field day. He fails in the group effort to squeeze a giant ball into a goal net, instead having the ball roll him over. He only manages to throw a ball only inches away from him in the long throw (being greatly outclassed by the Bulgarian girl he was competing with). And in the long jump, he somehow manages to go back a few feet. His lack of skills could be attributed to being fat and out-of-shape. Another episode has Marty participating in the President's Fitness Test and he couldn't even manage to do one sit-up.
  • Belly Dancer: In the episode "A Day at the Races, a Night at the Opera."
  • Big Eater: Just like his dad.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: He and his dad get extremely drunk when they each drink a quarter of a glass of wine while in France. After they drink half each, they're hung over.
  • First Father Wins: Averted somewhat. While Marty is shown to love Jay very much, his mother's current boyfriend, Alberto, is super rich and lets him fly around in a helicopter and fire a machine gun. Jay obviously can't compete with that, but Alberto and Marty only share a few seconds of screen time, so their relationship is almost entirely off-screen.
  • First Kiss: Marty and Carmen in the episode "Marty's First Date."
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Marty in the episode "From Chunk to Hunk." He and Jay attend a weight-loss camp which results in Marty to lose a lot of weight and gain a lot of popularity at school. However, he gains it all back by the time the episode ends.
    Soda Jerk: Our freezer is broken. We need someone to eat 50 gallons of ice cream.
    (Marty immediately runs in.)
    Soda Jerk: It's Jay Sherman's kid! We're saved!

Margo Sherman
Voiced by: Nancy Cartwright

Jay's sister, and the biological daughter of Franklin and Eleanor Sherman. Unlike her mother, her relationship with Jay isn't at all strained, and the two of them genuinely love each other like a brother and sister should.

  • All Girls Like Ponies: Owns an actual horse that she loves riding.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In "A Song For Margo," she dated a grunge rocker. She later dumps him upon discovering he cheated on her.
  • Art Evolution: Her character design changes a lot between season 1 and season 2.
  • Big Brother Worship: She's one of the few people who treats Jay with any respect in Season 1, to the point where she remarks that he and her horse are her two favorite people in one episode.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Deeply cares for her horse.
  • Nice Girl: A sweet girl who loves her horses and her brother Jay.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: When Margo is forced by Eleanor to attend a debutante ball.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Didn't want to attend a debutante ball because it violated everything she stood for. After being forced to go, she eventually rushed the stage to chastise the ball as "a tasteless contest to see who can waste the most money."
  • Surprise Pregnancy: A flashback in "Every Doris Has Her Day" revealed that Margo was this.
  • Tomboy: Her mother threatened to kill her horse before she would attend the girly debutante ball.

Franklin Sherman
Voiced by: Gerrit Graham

Jay's adopted father, and the wealthy former governor of New York. Franklin has a very loose grasp on reality due to his alcoholism. He has a tendency to say and do insane things on a regular basis, much to the embarrassment of his family.

  • Alcoholic Parent: He's usually seen with an alcoholic beverage in his hand.
  • Bungling Inventor: He's shown to have invented device called the Fishmobabywhirlamagig. It drops a never ending stream of fish onto a conveyor belt, which drops them down a chute into a pipe organ. This causes the pipe organ to play music, which makes a swing ride full of babies spin. The exact use of this device is only known to him. He may or may not have also invented something called the "Badger Blaster."
  • Closer to Earth: Subverted. Franklin is completely insane, but he's also a generally pleasant and upstanding guy.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Oh, where to begin.
    • When running for Vice President of the United States:
      Franklin: As the first black female head of the Ku Klux Klan, I'd like to say... America stinks!
      Duke: (watching) This may hurt us more than it helps us.
    • Another instance:
      Geraldo Rivera: I understand you can say your name backwards.
      Franklin: Nilknarf.
      Geraldo: What's your favorite food in the whole wide world?
      Franklin: Nilknarf.
    • At dinner with the family:
      "Oh, son, if I've said it once I've said it a thousand times...Who are all you people?"
    • His recollection of his first date was himself in a 1930's black and white rubber hose cartoon.
    • His family try to write this off as senility, but it's made clear he's been like this for a long, long time.
    Jay: (To a dinner guest) My father had a stroke a few years ago.
    Eleanor: (Bluntly) He didn't really. We just say that to explain his personality.
    Franklin: The peanut is neither a pea nor a nut.
    • According to the video reel from "Frank And Ellie Gets Lost", he became this way after having his first taste of alcohol at his wedding in 1955.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: When he married Eleanor, Franklin was a serious, thoughtful Rhodes scholar who never had a drink in his life. Then Ted Kennedy spiked the punch at the wedding reception...and it was all downhill from there. Franklin's a chronic drinker, and it's implied that the booze is what turned him into a living cuckoo clock.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Goes hand-in-hand with his Cloud Cuckoo Lander status. Such as hearing Jay's Rousing Speech of "If the movie stinks, don't go" and interpreting it as "If the movie stinks, do-si-do".
    Jay: Dad, for the last time, are you sure you want to run for Vice President?
    Franklin: {completely serious} Jay, can I do a worse job than Spiro Agnew? Or Aaron Burr? Or William Rufus DeVane King? He died in Cuba six weeks after being sworn in!
    Jay: Wow. Maybe you do know what you're doing.
    Franklin: {He slips a nylon sock over his head.} Yeah! Now, let's rob that bank!
  • Corrupt Politician: He was apparently arrested for corruption while serving as governor of New York. Bizarrely, he keeps the the newspaper that announced it as a memento.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Only because he sees the road as a crazy game of Donkey Kong where his car horn is the jump button and he needs to swerve wildly to avoid barrels.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Franklin is a billionaire. He also has so many screws loose his wealth is probably the only thing keeping him out of the mental hospital.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Franklin jumps out of Jay's birthday cake in the second season's opening credits.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When Franklin and Eleanor are stranded on a deserted island after their plane crashes, you might expect him to be The Millstone. Except he becomes scarily competent, building a house from the bottom up, gathering food and even training an ape to be a tennis pro and butler.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Modeled after Franklin D. Roosevelt, sharing his name and former office of New York governor.
  • Official Couple: With Eleanor.
  • Sleeping Single: Thanks to twin beds and Eleanor protecting hers with barb wire and dobermans.

Eleanor Sherman (née Wigglesworth)
Voiced by: Judith Ivey

Jay's adopted mother. She's very bitter and critical of Jay's career and lifestyle. She also isn't a fan of Margo being a tomboy with no interest in the life of a debutante. While she's generally shown to be a Rich Bitch, deep down she does love her children, and only wants the best for them.

  • Closer to Earth: Subverted. Eleanor is sane and wise, but she's also shown herself to be rather spiteful and cold-hearted.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Eleanor can be a bit of a Rich Bitch, as well as cold and aloof. Despite this, she cares very deeply for her family.
  • Kill the Poor: Jay's mother wants to blast the poor into outer space. She even wrote a book ("Why The Poor Should Be Shot Into Space.")
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Eleanor is named after Franklin Roosevelt's wife Eleanor Roosevelt. Her voice also resembles that of Katharine Hepburn.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: A hunky Chippendales-esque handyman attempts to seduce her, rubbing oil on his bare chest at one point. She takes the hint: she shoves a cookie in his mouth and pushes him out the door.
  • Official Couple: With Franklin.
  • Rich Bitch: Elaeanor shows this on occasion.
  • Sleeping Single: If Franklin wants to try anything, he's going to have to get through a pack of wild attack dogs that Eleanor keeps around her bed.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Despite Eleanor's austere demeanor, she does show instances of having a heart.


Voiced by: Brenda Vaccaro (season 1) and Rhea Perlman (season 2)

Jay's ex-wife, who despises him more than anyone. She generally only shows up to demand money from him, or to spend time with Marty.

  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Ardeth had this when she first met Jay while he was in traction. That all changed when the bandages came off.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: She is VERY very irritable to say the least.
  • Jerkass: Towards Jay. She's also tried to give spooky warnings and put hexes on Jay's girlfriends.
  • One Head Taller: Inverted. Ardeth is taller than Jay and she doesn't even like him.
  • The Resenter: Towards Jay and their marriage. This doesn't affect her parenting of Marty, however. She even goes as far as to admit to Jay's face that they've both raised a great son after Marty becomes the talent-show star with his belly virtuoso act, implying she doesn't completely resent Jay.

    The Tompkins Family 

Alice Tompkins

Voiced by: Park Overall

A single mother from Tennessee who moved to New York to make it on her own away from her cheating ex-husband, Cyrus. She is eventually hired as Jay's assistant, and the two of them become an Official Couple.

  • Betty and Veronica: Alice was the Betty to Olivia’s Veronica for Jay's Archie in "Lady Hawke."
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Jay tries to anonymously slip money under Alice's apartment door to prevent her from getting evicted (he actually mistakenly slipped the money in the apartment of the "crazy postman" across from hers). Alice finds out about it and is not pleased about being given charity. Jay then offers her a job to be his personal assistant. At first she doesn't want to take the job because he feels sorry for her, but then decides to take it.
  • Girl Next Door: She has a plain but sweet appearance. Her personality is also very warm and pleasant.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Alice and her Southern Belle sister Miranda.
  • Love Confession: To Jay near the end of "Lady Hawke."
  • Nice Girl: One of sweetest people ever.
  • Official Couple: With Jay in the second season.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: With Jay at the end of "Lady Hawke."
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Alice and her sister Miranda.

Penny Tompkins

Voiced by: Russi Taylor

Alice and Cyrus' daughter. She's always very upbeat and cheerful, and takes a liking to Jay when she meets him, calling him "Uncle Jay".

  • The Cutie: An adorable little bugger if ever there was on.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: A lot of humor involving her comes from her saying age-inappropriate things, but still remaining cute in the process.
    Penny: What's the matter, Mama?
    Alice: Oh, sweetie. You wouldn't understand.
    Penny: Are you afraid the man you love has left you for another?
    Alice: What?! Where did you learn to talk like that?!
    Penny: It's "Men Are Scum" week on Ricki Lake.
  • Satellite Character: Didn't get nearly as much development as Marty.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: In a funny way rather than a disturbing way. Due to Penny initially having no school to go to, unlike Marty, and Jay and Alice having no babysitter for her, she comes to work with them and hangs out with Doris on her off time. The two of them play mahjong together, and Penny ends up talking like an old lady, much like Doris. This and Doris' constant smoking are what spur Alice into finding her a preschool.
    Doris: Oy, my hip is killing me.
    Penny: Hey, at least ya don't have diaper rash, mahjong.

Cyrus Tompkins

Voiced by: Sam McMurray

Alice's cheating husband. He's a country music star who uses his sweet, sultry voice to charm Alice into staying with him, at least until Jay comes along. He appears in the season 2 episode "Sherman, Woman and Child."

  • Aroused by Their Voice: The only reason Alice has trouble leaving him until Jay comes along. Every time she talks about leaving him, he starts singing to her, causing her to lose all reason and fall for his charms.
  • Jerkass: He cheats, feels no shame in it, and is not even subtle about it.
  • We Will Meet Again: After Jay manages to break Cyrus' spell on Alice and she kicks him out, he says he won't give up...before immediately moving on to another woman.
    Alice: Cyrus, it's not workin'. It's over, darlin'. Don't ya come back now, y'hear?
    Cyrus: I'm never gonna give up! (To a woman offscreen) Hey, gorgeous, what's your name!?

Miranda Tompkins

Alice's sister, who always outshines Alice at everything she does. She arrives in New York in order to find a rich husband. She appears in the season 2 episode "Dukerella."

  • Always Someone Better: She was this to Alice, until Miranda arrives in New York City. Alice has spent some time in the city, and knows how to get around quickly and safely. Miranda takes one step outside alone, and comes back a few seconds later with cement shoes and covered in graffiti.
  • Attention Whore: She would always try to upstage Alice at everything. She wore a wedding dress to Alice's wedding, and then promptly took it off in front of everyone. She also tries to get attention from Jay when he starts kissing Alice.
  • Country Mouse: She's a southern girl who has trouble adjusting to life in New York City.
  • Friend to All Living Things: A clip from Alice and Miranda's childhood shows her to be this. After Alice attempts to sing a song to a mockingbird, it flies away from her and towards Miranda, who is surrounded by other woodland creatures while she performs a Disney-esque musical number for them.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Alice resents Miranda for constantly outshining her at everything and being a general Attention Whore.
  • Gold Digger: Sort of. She wants to find a husband mainly for their money, though she clearly wants them to like her as well. She clearly falls in love with Duke for more than just his money.
  • Southern Belle: Outright called this by Duke Phillips. She's much more glamorous compared to the more plain looking Alice.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The girly girl to Alice's tomboy.

    Other Characters 

Duke Phillips
Voiced by: Charles Napier

The owner of Phillips Broadcasting (Formerly Duke Phillips' House of Chicken and Waffles), which broadcasts Jay's show. He is an egotistical billionaire businessman, and constantly pesters Jay to either make changes to his show or threaten his job.

  • Aroused by Their Voice: Birds like the sound of his voice, to the point where one flew into his mouth while he was talking at one point.
  • Dirty Coward: Leaves Jay and his family and friends to fend for themselves when they get attacked by terrorists.
  • George Jetson Job Security: If Duke hasn't fired Jay for the episode, then he's threatening to pull him off the air.
  • Hunk: Let's face it. As much of a jerk he usually is, he's still quite a handsome older man with a large barrel chest.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Gets angry even at the idea of anyone considering him to be an illiterate country bumpkin because of his southern roots, but still gleefully fulfills several Southern stereotypes.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: It's uncanny how much Duke resembles his voice actor, Charles Napier.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Moreso in the first season - he's fairly quick to point out why Jay's show has low viewership and isn't interesting to the general populace, such as when he points out that Jay repeated the same joke about Tom Cruise being on "Cruise control" three times.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Is kind of a jerk to his employees, especially Jay. However, he's shown instances of the "Heart of Gold" part. One example is when Alice had problems enrolling Penny in preschool, Duke builds his own preschool for Penny to attend. Though in all he did this on a dare. He also becomes dismayed to the point of desperation whenever Jay temporarily leaves the network.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: His bid for the Republican nomination is scuttled because Bob Dole had footage of him as this, contrary to his public perception, forcing him to run as an Independent.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: The "justice" part varies between episodes, but Duke has a nice manly jawline.
  • Mean Boss: Tried to force Jay to endorse both tobacco and alcohol on Coming Attractions despite a large part of their viewership being children, and chained him up in a dungeon while negotiating a dental plan.
  • The Nicknamer: For Jay.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Duke is modeled after Ted Turner.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When one of his employees is really in trouble, he doesn't yell; he's nice to them.
    Duke: Hello, handsome! (Kisses Jay on the top of his head) How's my special little guy?
    Jay: That's it, I'm doomed!
  • Self-Made Man: Phillips Broadcasting started out as a small fried chicken franchise, which Duke somehow transformed into a media juggernaut. Hilariously, it still serves fried chicken, except the customers now walk into Duke's office to order.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter:
    • He built "Duke Phillips Hospital," which includes a giant statue of himself chanting "All hail Duke. Duke is life."
    • While campaigning to be President for the '96 election, Duke flashed messages of "VOTE FOR DUKE" in the middle of an airing of Coming Attractions.
  • Shipper on Deck: Surprisingly, despite constantly giving Jay a hard time about possibly being gay, he's actually aware of Jay and Alice's feelings for each other, and feels bad that neither one of them seems to be able to express it.

Jeremy Hawke
Voiced by: Maurice LaMarche

One of Jay's closest (and only) friends. Jeremy is a highly attractive actor from Australia who generally makes movies that Jay dislikes. Despite this, Jay gave a good review to Jeremy's first movie, Kegger Party at Hanging Rock, and was the only critic to do so, thus beginning their friendship. Jeremy also has a twin sister named Olivia.

  • Awesome Aussie: He is one, and almost always plays his characters like this...even if he's playing someone who isn't Australian, like Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Jay was the only one to give his first movie (Kegger Party at Hanging Rock) a good review. They've been best friends ever since.
  • Chick Magnet: No matter what he does, he attracts women. He's tried not shaving, not bathing, and talking in a goofy voice, but none of it stopped women from being attracted to him.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: As Margo discovered in one episode, Jeremy actually wears lifts and high-heeled shoes to look taller, he's actually shorter than she is.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jay. Even with the uneven tone of their respective lives, he genuinely cares for him, even saving his life from a crazed fan even as an actor and not a trained cop or soldier.
  • Land Down Under: Jeremy and Olivia's country of origin.
    • Bonus points for Olivia actually singing it in the shower.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: He's not nearly as handsome as it seems, as shown in L.A Jay when he accidentally ruins his plastic surgery and is revealed to have huge ears, a pig nose and hanging jowls.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: He completely opposed Jay dating his sister, Olivia, though this was actually out of concern for him rather than her. Much as he loves his sister, Jeremy is well-aware of her history of Really Gets Around and was worried Jay would end up getting his heart broken.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jeremy is a mix of Mel Gibson and Paul Hogan. Vocally, he's reminiscent of Kirk Douglas.
  • Odd Friendship: With Jay. He's an actor, and Jay's a critic, one who doesn't like most of his films. However, Jay was surprisingly the only critic to give a positive review of Jeremy's first movie, Kegger Party at Hanging Rock. According to him, Jay's the only decent person he's met in America.
  • Older Than They Look: Jeremy is 43 years old. When Jay blabs this out, everyone is so shocked that it's a front-page headline. By contrast, Jay is 36. Would you ever guess Jeremy is the older one?

Doris Grossman
Voiced by: Doris Grau

Jay's elderly, chain-smoking makeup artist. She's generally snarky and takes pleasure in seeing Jay suffer, and also has a crush on Duke Phillips, much to his disgust.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Towards Duke Phillips, especially in season two.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Despite Jay and Doris becoming friends in "Every Doris Has Her Day", she doesn't treat him any differently in following episodes.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: She was allegedly cast as a dancer in some old cigarette commercials, but her career came to an end when she was knocked up by the Fruit-of-the-Loom banana.
  • Must Have Nicotine: Doris is hardly ever seen without a lit cigarette in her mouth. Duke once snatched one out of her mouth in an attempt to make her quit smoking, only for a new lit one to immediately pop out of it, with a cash register "Ka-CHING!" sound effect. He repeated the act a few more times, only for the same result to happen every time.
    Doris: I can do this all day.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: She and Jay start an Intergenerational Friendship when evidence pops up that Doris may be Jay's biological mother - though the DNA test they both took proved that to be false, they remained friends at the end of the episode. This still doesn't stop Doris from snarking at Jay and vice-versa.

Vlada Veramirovich

Voiced by: Nick Jameson

The owner of Jay's favorite restaurant, L'ane Riche (French for "The Wealthy Jackass"). He's something of a friend to Jay, though Vlada is only interested in him because Jay's Big Eater tendencies account for most of his profits. Not that Jay doesn't know.

  • Alliterative Name: Vlada Veramirovich.
  • Ambiguously Gay: He has somewhat effeminate mannerisms, and rejects the affections of Olivia Hawke. With that said, though, he's never shown to be interested in a man, and he does have a presumably biological son.
  • Demoted to Extra: Though he was the only other character from the first two seasons besides Jay to appear in the webisodes, he plays a much more minor role in them compared to before.
  • False Friend: Vlada to Jay. He's honest about it, though.
    Vlada: I love you, too!
    Jay: Oh, you just love my money.
    Vlada: This is true, but it is a love that will never die.
    • This is to the point where Vlada actually gets scared when Jay tells him he's on a diet.
    Jay: Hello Vlada. Tonight, I'm on a diet.
    Vlada: (picks up the phone in disappointment) Tell Vlada Jr. no Harvard.
    Jay: In fact, I may just have coffee.
    Vlada: (sadly back to phone) Pull the plug on Mama.
  • Funny Foreigner: He's a bit quirky, and he's Eastern-European.
  • Lethal Chef: Zig-zagged. His restaurant is quite popular, though there's several times where he's shown to be very lazy and dishonest with preparing his food. Once, he served soup to Jeremy Hawke with a large HAM radio in it. Instead of making a new batch, he swaps it with his mother's foot soaking water, with a stocking still in it. He also wanted to serve Jay's dog as food, and he would serve him raw to save on electricity.
    Vlada: Ignore them, Mr. Sherman. Vlada is still your friend.
    Jay: Thanks, man.
    Vlada: (To his waiter) Serve him the tainted clams.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Apparently, Vlada's souffle hasn't risen in years.
  • Shout-Out: Vlada is from Pottsylvania.

Zoltan Veramirovich

Voiced by: Nick Jameson

Vlada's possibly transgender son. He attends the same school as Marty.

  • Ambiguously Gay: Much like his father, he has very effeminate mannerisms (Though this may be justified if Principal Mangosuthu's comment about him being transgender is true).
  • Funny Foreigner: While Vlada doesn't quite fit this, his son Zoltan's performance in the UN Talent Show runs on this.
    Zoltan: Hello. I would like to dance and sing my country’s national anthem. *Singing* Eepee-Teepee Peepee Poopee.
    *Audience laughs*
    Vlada: You don’t understand. He's singing of all the people who died in the earthquake, fire and famine of 1805.
    *Audience is successfully shamed*
    Zoltan: *Glares, then sings* Eepee-Teepee Peepee Poopee.
  • Shout-Out: Zoltan is from Pottsylvania.
  • Trans Tribulations: Principal Mangosuthu makes an insensitive remark about Zoltan being trans while introducing him at a talent show in "A Day at the Races and a Night at the Opera."
    Principal Mangosuthu: And now the boy who used to be a girl - Oops, that used to be a secret...


Voiced by: Maurice LaMarche

The butler to Franklin and Eleanor Sherman. He hates working for them, due to being subjected to Franklin's insane tendencies and Eleanor's general unpleasantness. He doesn't like Jay either, usually greeting him as "Adopted Master Jay".

  • Burn Baby Burn: Said word for word as the Sherman Estate goes up in flames due to Franklin leaving the stove on in one episode!
  • Butt-Monkey: Is often subjected to Franklin's whims, such as being smacked over the head with a guitar while Franklin was acting as El Kabong. He's also had to clean Jay's clothes from time to time, which is presented as a punishment in itself.
  • Expy: Modeled after the butler character Hobson from the 1981 film Arthur (1981).note 
  • Hidden Depths: Has a knowledge of and love for various rock and roll musicians, apparently having worked for them in the past.
  • Identical Stranger: In "Frankie and Ellie Get Lost", Franklin finds a replacement butler on their deserted island; an ape who looks exactly like a simian version of Shackleford, whom Franklin calls Shackleape.
  • Servile Snarker: Mostly towards Jay, though he will have his revenge on Eleanor and Franklin if he can, whether they know it or not.
  • Stealth Insult: Shackleford refers to Jay as "Adopted Master Jay," but in this case he says it right to Jay's face.
    • In "Every Doris Has Her Day," after finding out Doris may be his mother, Jay tells him his adoption jibes can't hurt him anymore.
    Shackleford: (with a tear in his eye) They can't?

Principal Mangosuthu

Voiced by: Maurice LaMarche

The principal of the UN School that Marty attends. He's generally very rude to people, pointing out their faults and letting out a loud, boisterous laugh.

  • Brutal Honesty: Generally all he does is point out other people's flaws or mistakes, and laugh at them.
    Principal Mangosuthu: Our next event is the long jump.
    (Marty jumps in slow motion, but falls backwards)
    Principal Mangosuthu: I'm afraid you've actually gone back a few feet. You would have been better off just standing there! Haaa-hahahahahaha!
  • Expy: Shares the mannerisms and laugh of Geoffrey Holder.
  • Helium Speech: When a helium leak occurs offscreen, Mangosuthu is heard talking like this.
  • The Hyena: He's known for letting out big laughs, mostly at other people's expense.
  • Jerkass: He spends all of his time laughing at other people's misfortune.
  • Signature Laugh: "Haaa-hahahahahaha!"

Easter Island Kid

One of Marty's classmates. His had is a large, heavy Easter Island statue, which makes life very hard on him.

  • Bit Character: Never has a speaking role, and exists only for jokes about the weight of his head.
  • The Voiceless: He never gets a speaking role, and exists mainly for gags on how heavy his head is.

Humphrey the Hippo

Voiced by: Tress MacNeille

An Expy of Barney the Dinosaur whose rating beat Jay's, much to his annoyance.

  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Humphrey is a green hippo.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Humphrey is actually played by a very attractive woman who has the hots for Jay at one point.
  • Smoking Is Cool: One of the companies that Jay's parents own, Phlegm Fatale Cigarettes, hires Humphrey the Hippo to peddle smoking to children, and tell them what happens when you get a lung removed (You get ice cream!).
  • Rated G for Gangsta: Following a popular 90's trend, Humphrey recorded a rap video for preschoolers called "Hug Da Police".

Orson Welles

Voiced by: Maurice LaMarche

The legendary director and actor himself, who might have passed on by the time the show takes place, but still makes a few appearances through his infamous latter-day advertising and narration work.

  • The Alcoholic: Drains an entire jug of wine during one commercial shown.
  • Big Eater: Grabs a handful of frozen peas even while storming off the set, is elated to find a french fry stuck in his beard, and goes off on a tangent about Ms Pell's Fishsticks during an unrelated video will narration.
  • Evil Laugh: Gives an impressive one during his introduction to Franklin and Eleanor's video will, or as he calls it, "The Living Will!"
  • Friendly Ghost: Makes a brief appearance as a ghost to an utterly confused Margo, proclaiming his love for Ms Pell's Fishsticks even in death.
  • Lighter and Softer: His "Rosebud Frozen Peas" commercial isn't nearly as profanity-ridden as the work it parodies, his infamous 1970 Findus frozen peas recording.
  • Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe. Like his real-life self, he's been forced to accept demeaning voice work and ad shilling for money.
  • Posthumous Character: Dead for about a decade by the show's time setting, appearing only in old video recordings (with one exception).
  • Rage Quit: Walks off the set of the Rosebud commercial taping, infuriated by the godawful script.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ms Pell's Fishsticks, almost to Companion Cube levels. According to his ghost, his reward in the afterlife consists largely of these, and apparently they're even better when you're dead.

Jennifer (webisodes only)

Voiced by: Valerie Levitt