Archer – Season Three
The Season Three premiere of Archer found the eponymous man-child spy face-to-face with his idol, Burt Reynolds. Much to Archer’s chagrin, Reynolds is dating his mother, the boozy/floozy, Malory. In order to break up the couple, Archer engages in a number of immature maneuvers, only to realize, during an excellent car chase sequence, that Reynolds may just be the man for his mom. In the episode, “El Contador,” Archer and Lana are back in the saddle as they strike out on a mission to capture a Latin American drug lord and claim the reward money. It seems even secret agents are feeling the economic crunch, and ISIS could use the cash injection. If only Archer and Lana hadn’t forgot to pick up the receipt when they turned the drug lord over to the authorities…
As a newcomer to the series, I feel a certain amount of regret over not having already become a regular viewer of Archer. The show is jam-packed with sharp wit and laugh-out-loud jokes. And while the show lacks the cultural insight of other animated comedies such as South Park, it doesn’t flounder about in low, nonsensical humor the way Family Guy tends to do. At some points the dialogue between the characters in Archer may remind you of dry Apatowian humor, even Seinfeld at a stretch.
As Archer and Burt Reynolds are riding a slow elevator, en route to save the crew, their conversation devolves into idle chitchat about garbage chutes and the price of “bat poles.” It’s this sort of diversionary talk that highlights the ineptitude of Archer and reinforces the running gag of the show: The world’s best spy is a completely self-centered momma’s boy who’s more interested in the glamour and the toys of the spying world rather than the job itself.
If it sounds like I’m being critical of Archer, I’m not. So often spy spoofs rely on the machismo and sex appeal of the Bond caricature. Sure, Archer has got that, but his sexuality is so ridiculous, so absurdly moronic, that no one feels the least bit jealous of his position. If anything, we cringe at his stupidity and the overblown misogyny on display. In “El Contador,” Archer and Lana are held captive by the drug lord and are subject to witness the execution of a tiger. Lana, in an attempt to beat him to the punch, wonders if Archer will ask to have sex, in light of their dire situation. Archer, still reeling from the tiger’s death, says his heart wouldn’t be in it…but he’d be willing to watch her masturbate…like right now. It’s this sort of unearned bravado that makes Archer so likeable, and somehow charming and human. Somehow.
Archer is surely a sleeper hit; by far one of the funniest shows on television right now, and not just among the animated set. Archer does successfully what so many shows before it did – puts despicable characters in outrageous situations, spoofs pop culture and gets away with it. Go Archer, Go.