Jan 11 2011

Yeah, So You Should be Watching Archer

Published by at 12:00 pm under Reviews,Television

In the endless parade where I watch every show that’s ever been recommended to me, I’ve now landed on Archer, an FX series that looks more like a newspaper comic than an actual animated cartoon. But this is no Mary Worth, rather Archer is something all its own, and is one of the most unique shows on TV right now. Oh, and did I mention its absolutely hilarious?

The concept is simple, it’s an office environment like the one you might find at Sterling Cooper Draper Price in the early sixties, which also happen to be the Golden Years of Mr. James Bond. Combine the two, and sprinkle decidedly M-rated humor on top of it all, and you have Archer, and this really is one of the better finds I’ve made in quite some time. Errr, since Spartacus three weeks ago I guess.

Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is an all-star agent with a massive ego and a penchant for screwing up a mission, but finishing it anyways. He works for Isis, a boutique spy agency that earns off contracts, and it happens to be run by his mother (Jessica Walter).

Just jealous.

He works alongside his ex and fellow super spy Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), now currently dating the dweeby office drone Cyril (Chris Parnell). He occasionally bangs his secretary when he’s bored (Judy Greer) and much to her displeasure, never the chubby head of HR, Pam (Amber Nash).

TV enthusiasts will make a very quick spot after listing that cast, two of its members, Jessica Walter and Judy Greer were part of the Arrested Development crew as Lucille Bluth and Kitty respectively. If that wasn’t enough, Jeffrey Tambor (George Bluth Sr.) shows up to do a guest voice practically every other episode. Walter’s Mrs. Archer pretty much IS Lucille, in looks and mannerisms, and it’s inherently hilarious to see her running a spy agency here.

If that’s not animated Lucille Bluth, I don’t know what is.

The only one funnier than his mother is Archer himself. H. Jon Benjamin is a veteran voice actor who has been on every animated show from The Venture Bros. to Family Guy to Aqua Teen to Dr. Katz. Yes, Dr. Katz. But his oblivious, vain and immature Archer is the highlight of this series, and the could hold the show solo if he needed to. But he doesn’t.

The show works because it restricts itself to a tight supporting cast, only bringing in recurring characters every so often. The writing is incredibly smart for a show that often deals with lowbrow subject matter, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed so loud or so often at a comedy in the last few years. With all your current favorites getting older and more stale, The Office, 30 Rock, Always Sunny, definitely check out Archer for a breath of fresh air and a truly original show in an era where that rarely happens anymore.

The animation is sharp and distinctive, the lines are smart and cutting, and I can’t imagine a more cohesive voice cast. Season one is only ten episodes long, so you can knock it out in a weekend if you wanted to, and I’m really looking forward to see what they do with season two.





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15 responses so far

  • MajorTool

    You forgot to mention another one of H. Jon Benjamin’s voice acting works Home Movies… which I highly HIGHLY recommend.

  • http://themediaexperiment.wordpress.com/ Suppes

    The only problem I have with Archer is how they’ve put what seems like 2 years in between a relatively short Season 1 and Season 2. FX can be such a Mancy sometimes.

  • Laura

    I can’t believe you’re just getting to this little gem! DANGER ZONE!!

  • Megan

    As much as I love Archer…I’d still rather they made the Xtacles series…”you mean…there’s an even rapier ape than rape ape?” sad boosh…

  • Andy

    I thought it was funny how the first related post was “Archer was good but not great” from Nattyb.

    Also, please recommend more shows, your taste is pretty solid. I’m not sure if you’ve seen Burn Notice (I don’t recall seeing it mentioned on this site), but it’s pretty good. It’s like Monk mixed with MacGyver and a little Bruce Campbell thrown in for good measure.

  • Andy

    Nevermind, I found the search bar. It appears that I’m way behind the times.

  • L4NkYb

    Suppes,

    The last episode aired on March 18, 2010, so it’s only been about 10 months, but I know what you mean. When a show this good takes a hiatus, it seems like forever until it’s back on the air.

  • crazybirdman

    that part where they are diffusing the bomb is the funniest thing I’ve seen on TV in a long time

  • Levance

    Archer is awesome, had it recommended to me awhile ago and checked it out, have seen season 1 probably 5 times and about to rewatch to get ready for the new season on the 27th

    I agree with the poster about Home Movies, it is an excellent show by Brandon Small (metalocalypse) and has H Jon in it and also the creator of Lucy, the daughter of the devil, whos name exscapes me at this time.

    def check out Home movies and def check out Archer if you have not already

  • Jamie

    “As much as I love Archer…I’d still rather they made the Xtacles series…”

    +1. I miss Ronnie.

  • Sylky

    Yes this show is awesome. I wish they would hurry up with a new season as Ive dried up all the good comedies available on Netflix. DAMN YOU Netflix Get Californication season 2 streaming!

  • Rob J

    Might have to download Archer tonight so as it doesn’t seem to play on any Irish or UK channels.

    I would also recommend Burn Notice if you wanna give it a shot. It does get a bit procedural at times which you do not seem to like but its certainly never boring.

    Also…Chuck!

  • Megan

    Ronnie wuz here…cry he was my favorite. damn those giant pants! i’d also recommend Neighbors From Hell…Patton Oswalt as Pazuzu is total win…and who doesn’t love dog golfing?

  • agon23

    man i wish frisky dingo was back. Boosh! and or Ka-Kow!

  • Murderbot

    I’m having real trouble deciding how I should watch Season 2.

    I really want to wait ’till the whole season has aired, then watch it all back-to-back, but I don’t think I have the patience to wait that long!!

    It’s going to be excruciating waiting for episodes to trickle in, one week at a time, regardless. /:(

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