Jay was adopted by Franklin and Eleanor Sherman as a baby, the two of them originally mistaking him for a monkey. After this confusion was cleared up, he continued to live with them throughout childhood, and went to the New York School for the Performing Arts for primary education. According to a book Eleanor wrote about Jay in A Pig Boy and His Dog, Jay had supposedly dropped out of law school to pursue film criticism. He graduated with a PhD in film from the New York Film School.
His first marriage came about after getting into a terrible accident. Jay was rushed to the hospital and put in a full body cast, where his nurse, Ardeth, immediately fell in love with him. They were quickly married, however Ardeth was disgusted by his appearance once his cast was removed. Their marriage grew increasingly sour, and shortly after having a child together, they got a divorce.
In both seasons of the show, Jay runs a TV show called Coming Attractions. Although a lot of merchandise is made for it, as seen in a few episodes, and the fact that it's is dubbed into seven different languages, the show doesn't seem to be all that popular and has been mentioned to be even be less popular in its time slot than shows on "The Dryer Channel."
Jay is supposedly of Jewish ethnicity, but this is only heavily hinted at/joked about. It is most likely true due to his design bearing semblance to his voice actor, Jon Lovitz, who is Jewish.
Jay Sherman is a short, overweight man. He often wears a green dress shirt with sleeves rolled up halfway, a brown sweater-vest with argyle print, dark brown pants, and brown loafers. Jay is also rapidly balding, and on occasion will attempt to wear a toupee or use spray-on hair to compensate for it.
In Uneasy Rider, we are shown Jay's driver's license, which reveals that he is 5'6" and was born on January 26, 1958 (which corresponds with the release date of the Pilot). This makes Jay around 36 years of age in the first season.
Jay is highly critical of many movies, and is considered to be cynical. Because of this, he is looked down upon by others.
Jay has a limited pool of friends, one being Jeremy Hawke.
In other countries, his show hosts disclaimers, such as "Jay Sherman is an escape patient from a mental hospital" as a result of his often manic rants about films.
Jeremy Hawke Jeremy is (one of) Jay's only friend(s).
Alice Tompkins is Jay's girlfriend.