So what happens when you combine the clever comedic wit and perfectly timed one-liners of Community, the hilariously dry, dead-pan humor of Arrested Development, the crude and sometimes very raunchy jokes of Family Guy and the bumbling antics of Get Smart? You probably get one of the funniest and smartest adult comedies shown on television today!
I hate to be the one to say this, but I can be very critical of the shows I watch on tv. I’ve never been a huge fan of South Park mainly due in part that I’m just not a fan of their approach to humor. I always found the show, well, a bit too gross for me. I guess you could say that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to what makes me laugh. I’m all for crude and rude humor, but at the same time, I still want it to be somewhat tasteful, if that makes any sense. I love smart comedy. The kind where you can walk into a room and say something that makes you sound like the smartest person ever, but it coming off as if you’re the biggest moron. I like my jokes to be quick, smart and as dry as a Las Vegas martini.
With that said, why don’t put on some Kenny Loggins, dive right into the Danger Zone and talk about FX’s animated comedy Archer.
Created by Adam Reed (Frisky Dingo, Sealab 2021), Archer is set in a world which can best be described as a blend of 1960’s Cold War era (if the Cold War never truly ended) with some elements of contemporary 2010 thrown in, the shows follows the antics of ISIS, the International Secret Intelligence Service spy agency and the employees who are perhaps the most screwed up bunch of people who happen to be in charge of global security. The shows main character, Sterling Archer, is handsome, suave, and is a dead-ringer for Man Men’s Don Draper. Yet he is incredibly self-centered, a sex-addicted, alcoholic master spy who only takes his job seriously if there’s a chance of sleeping with a hot woman. The boss of ISIS, Archer’s mother, Malory, is a domineering, cold and hyper-critical woman who has a hard enough time trying to keep her son in line while managing her company. Working with Archer is his on-again-off-again girlfriend Lana Kane, wimpy company accountant Cyril Figgis, Human Resource Director and cage fighter Pam Poovey, dizzy security and pyro-manic Cheryl Tunt, mad scientist Dr. Krieger and gay and snarky intelligence agent Ray Gillette.
Each character comes to work and tries to get through the day while dealing with a whole laundry list of issues and a seemingly mutual dislike for one another. Issues such as Lana’s growing frustration with Archer’s childish behavior or Cyril’s feelings of insignificance around the office or Cheryl’s desire to burn the building to the ground just to get out of work early. To say that these group of agents could be considered the B-team of espionage would be putting it mildly. In fact, compared to their competition company, ODIN, it’s a miracle that ISIS is still in business. But somehow, despite their want to kill each other on a daily basis, the people of ISIS always manages to save the day with just enough tolerance to get to the bar.
And maybe engage in some regrettable pity sex later on.
The artistic style of the show reminds me of a 1960s comic book with 3D cell-shaded colors and dark black outlines. It’s a similar design to Reed’s previous work in Frisky Dingo. A notable fan observation is that Archer is rumored to take place within the same universe as Frisky Dingo and Sealab 2021 as characters from each series has made a cameo or two.
What I find most enjoyable about Archer is its dark yet witty sense of humor. I’ve said before that I enjoyed comedies where the jokes are quick yet intelligent, and this is chalk full of them. The banter exchange between the characters feels very natural and flows just like an actual conversation. Some of the best moments of the show is whenever the entire cast is together and they’re simply being mean to each other. The dialogue is so well written that half the time I’m wondering if the lines were actually written or if it was improv. It’s that good! The snappy one-liners and comebacks happen so quickly and they are only made all the more hilarious when it’s done by John H. Benjamin’s monotone voice and Aisha Taylor’s comedic timing.
And I’m not saying that the characters all hate each other. In fact as the series goes on, you will some clear growth going on. Especially with the relationship of Archer and Lana, who constantly fighting with each other that you just know that they were made for each other. While some don’t seem to grow at all, that fact doesn’t seem to be of any bother at all. The sheer insanity that comes from this show is so funny that without the character’s constantly picking on each other, it would get dull very fast. Luckily that never happens in Archer.
The series just wrapped up season 4 in April with the fifth season already in production. I honestly can’t recommend this show enough for those who haven’t seen it yet. As screwed up as these characters are, I love every one of them. I can honestly say that these are my people, These are the nut-bars that I would hang out with. I don’t know if that should be considered a good thing when talking about myself, but whatever. The humor was so fresh when I first saw it, and after seeing every episode several hundred times, it still makes me laugh out loud. The characters are all likable in their own f@&ked way that you’ll definitely have a favorite by the end of the first episode. I may sound bias saying this, but I honestly can’t find anything wrong with this show. Maybe I was laughing too hard to notice but it’s true. If you haven’t seen this show yet, you’re truly are missing out. It’s funny, it’s dark, and honestly, it’s just awesome!
Overall rating: 9.5/10