Archer, or how I spent my sick day

I recently spent a day on the couch laughing so hard it made me cough up nasty stuff! Archer was the source of the laughter, my daughter the disease vector. I can not recommend Archer highly enough, skip the cold.

Archer shows us the inner workings of ISIS, a completely misguided intelligence agency. Archer, also the title character, and his uninhibited office mates entertain in a manner that reminds me of All in the Family meets Barbarella. Apparently set in a time-warp, the 60s world uses modern technology to great effect; it's odd and not confusing. H. Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler and the rest of the cast are brilliant.

Episode by episode things just seem to get more and more unhinged! I watched Seasons 1-3 over the course of 2 days.

Archer Season 1 via Amazon

Archer Seasons 1 & 2 via Netflix


  1. Archer is a pretty great parody of old school spy shows from TV, and adeptly parodies other conventions. Yes its very crass humor, but it’s always funny.

      1. That’s true, it’s not the entirety of the cast. But “Archer” itself has a pretty small cast, so two mains, one occasional, and guests are a significant proportion.

        1.  I wouldn’t call Archers main cast of 9 (Archer, Lana, Cyril, Ray, Pam, Cheryl, Mallory, Krieger, Woodhouse) a small cast. That’s fairly large for an average sitcom. And within that main cast you only have two actors who were on AD. I wouldn’t consider 25% a significant proportion.

  2. Creating a Pam Poovey cosplay was perhaps the highlight of my 2012 congoing season.  Especially since I discovered I can do a pitch-perfect “Holy shitsnacks!”

  3. Love Archer. Can’t wait for the next season. I don’t think however that the show is in the 60’s so much as it’s a present-day (or perhaps even near-future) where the USSR never broke up, and the cold war is ongoing. The American response has been to outsource their intelligence services to public-private consulting agencies, such as ISIS. It’s all fascinating alternate-timeline stuff to think about, and the action scenes are great and tense, but on top of all of that there’s side-ripping comedy. Fantastic writing. 

    1. As Archer himself said, “what day is it? The real question is what year?” He was born while the OSS was still around, which was dissolved on September 20th, 1945, and his butler served in WWI, the head of ISIS clearly has an Apple Lisa on her desk, the mainframe still has tape drives, but they have reasonably current cell phones, and are culturally fairly modern. 

      So it is some smear of the last 50 years.

  4. My wife and I absolutely love the show.  It’s not for everyone, though.  We bought the Season 1 DVD for some friends who enjoy a lot of the same quirky/raunchy stuff we do and they absolutely hated it.  The thing you have to know is that all, ALL of the characters are awful, awful people with not one redeeming quality among them.

    My favorite episode is when Cheryl lets coworker Pam get kidnapped in her place (actively encourages the kidnappers when they start to take the wrong person).  It is then revealed that Cheryl is actually heir to a billion dollar fortune (“Well, half a billion because I have to split it with my stupid half brother!”).  The contrast of the spy outfit positively drooling over the wealth of (and possible security fees for) one worker while simultaneously doing and spending as little as possible to rescue the other employee is hysterical.

      1.  “Who taught you how to punch? (spits blood)  Your husband?”

        Yep, this is when we first learn about Babou, the ocelot.  And that Cheryl had been late to work so often and with such bad excuses (“My ocelot was sick”) that she didn’t attend her parents’ funeral because she thought she would be fired.

      2. The back tat is from Byron’s “The Destruction of Sennacherib”:

        For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
        And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass’d;
        And the eyes of the sleepers wax’d deadly and chill,
        And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!

    1. I like show (the zeppelin episode may be my favorite so far), although some of the humor is just “raunchy for the sake of raunchy” (raunchy — what a lame-ass word), and since I’m generally jaded and unmoved by that it has flat moments for me.

      It’s like the end of Venture Bros. Operation P.R.O.M., or the South Park movie: I found them much funnier “bleeped” than the actual dialog, which is never quite as horrible as my imagination.  “Heard profanities are funny, but those unheard are funnier” as I believe the poem goes.

  5. My first experience of this show was an episode that may have allegedly been downloaded from the internet.  Unfortunately it was a DVD bonus version of the first episode, in which Archer himself had been replaced by a T-Rex who just made various roaring and moaning sounds.

    I was very confused.

  6. Any Archer fan should check out Frisky Dingo. It’s a little hard for some people to go to the less-polished animation, and it won’t seem as fresh, having already seen Adam Reed’s sense of humor in Archer (Archer and Frisky Dingo are much closer in tone and style than either of them are to Sealab 2021), but Frisky Dingo is an awesome send-up of Superheroes and Villains. Killface is just the best. 

      1. Totally agree.  It’s not bad, and it has its moments of brilliance, but it’s nowhere near as good as Archer.

    1.  Disagree! I love Frisky Dingo but am still trying to get into Archer. Different strokes for different folks though.

  7. Archer: I have to go. But if I find one single dog hair when I get back, I’ll rub…sand…in your dead little eyes.Woodhouse: Very good, sir.Archer: [pause] I also need you to buy sand.Woodhouse: Yes, sir.Archer: I don’t know if they grade it, but… coarse.

  8. It actually took me awhile to realize that Archer and Bob from BOB’S BURGERS were the same voice actor, H. Jon Benjamin.    

    1. Sadly (or not?), I can’t disconnect his voice from the character Archer.  Same with Jessica Walters, since I saw Archer before watching Arrested Development.

  9. God, I love Archer. Wittiest dialog on tv. I’m also waiting for the next season, which is…when? Justified returns next month, and those two usually ran back-to-back…maybe then?

  10. Erm. Aisha *Tyler*.

    Archer took a while to grow on me. I took it at face value at first, and it sucked. Then I realized the humor wasn’t really the stories/characters themselves per se.

    “Bloody mary, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and in the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen.”

    1. Exactly. I had a lot of trouble selling it to my feminist friends at first, too, because Sterling himself is borderline-rapey and there’s so much race and gender humor, some of which is pretty crass and sounds awful out of context. Hell, I had a little trouble selling it to myself, too. 

      But watch a few more episodes of Archer and it becomes pretty clear the writers have their hearts in the right places and are cheering for the right people. It’s hard to see Sterling as an authorial POV character after a couple of episodes. But Pam’s what really made that show for me. Cheap fat-lady joke to CELTIC WAR GODDESS in only three seasons! :D

  11. Archer fans should also check out the Australian show Danger 5. Very similar vibe with real people. =)

  12. You should also get your hands on “How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written”, it’s as if Sterling Archer is right there with you, drinking your booze, groping your significant other. Highly recommended.

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