Laura Tormos ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Archer follows the employees of the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS)―namely, the suave and profoundly self-centered master spy Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), his domineering, emotionally-distant mother and CEO Malory Archer (Jessica Walter), and his fellow agent (and ex-girlfriend) Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler). The other employees vary from completely incompetent to messed up to being actually good at what they do (if they actually put effort into it, that is), and are constantly trying to navigate the world of espionage without killing each other or getting themselves killed.
Think of Archer as James Bond meets The Office meets Arrested Development, which altogether makes for incredibly fantastic and hilariously sharp television that more people need to be watching.
So, if that small snippet didn’t quite get your attention, here are eight more concrete reasons as to why you should be watching this show, like, right now:
Sterling Archer is probably one of the most self-obsessed, arrogant, obliviously annoying characters on television―but he is also one of the most lovable and entertaining. He is constantly putting missions in jeopardy due to his slightly delusional over-confident nature and tendency to take the fact that he’s supposed to be “under cover” as more of a suggestion than an actual requirement. Despite the countless ridiculous situations he has gotten himself (and the entirety of ISIS) into due to his admittedly more-often-than-not poor judgement, he always manages to get them out of it and save the day (while actually being a Huge Nerd).
2. The Humour
Archer is definitely Cards Against Humanity-esque in the way of it’s humour: it’s sharp, quick-witted, and absolutely teeming with politically incorrect statements. If that’s not your thing, then maybe Archer is not too up your alley. For those who are a little less sensitive and can handle a smart edge to the comedy they regularly consume, Archer is a fantastic choice with great comedic timing and an even greater cast.
3. The Inside Jokes
Another huge part of what makes Archer so addicting is it’s employment of countless inside jokes (really, there are a lot of them.) The writers’ do a really fantastic job of consistently bringing them back throughout the entire series in really fantastic, laugh-out-loud funny ways.
4. It is a GREAT Spy Spoof
It’s a spy spoof fit for total nerds and admirers of perfectly executed quick wit and sarcasm that always packs a punch. Archer, thankfully, doesn’t rely on the typical, overused slap-stick tropes that most spy spoofs rely on. This is a smart, entertaining, and bold show that doesn’t shy away from the punchline―especially the more risqué ones.
5. The ISIS Employees Are Literally Terrible At Their Job
Well, individually they’re mostly pretty competent, but when they all come together they always manage to take the absolute least convenient route towards their desired conclusion possible, and it’s hilarious. For the “World’s Most Dangerous Spy,” Archer really isn’t the most discreet, and that usually ends up with their covers being blown and having guns point at them prematurely. Archer usually takes it in stride, but whenever he makes too much of a mess of himself Lana is always there to kick ass and just be generally way more efficient and tactical. ISIS, in fact, is generally seen as somewhat of a joke―and despite them more or less succeeding in their mission, it’s usually not in the most ideal way and often ends up costing them millions, much to the stingy CEO Malory Archer’s great displeasure.
6. The Cast
The show’s characters have impeccable comedic timing, which is, of course, due to the amazing cast, which include actors such as Judy Greer and Jessica Walter in their main cast, as well other guest stars including Jeffrey Tambor, David Cross, Darren Criss, Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, Burt Reynolds (who plays himself), and the list goes on. Even the show’s creator himself―Adam Creed―voices a character.
And if any of these names sound a little peculiar when put together, it’s because Adam Creed employed some actors from the very popular show, Arrested Development. Judy Greer, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, and David Cross all used to star in the critically acclaimed Fox series, and they now work to keep the essence of all those rivalry disputes alive through Archer, which is a perfect fit for the kind of dynamic employed by the characters on the show.
7. The Animation
The animation has always been brilliant―the comic-book feel of it and the vibrancy of the backgrounds really add to the story and allow for the imagination and the constant traveling in the scripts come to life. In the sixth season, however, they got a slight budget increase, and when watching it in comparison to the other seasons it really shows: there’s a sort of fluidity to the animation that wasn’t there before that allows for a much more believable and impressive range of motion. It’s understandable that some people might put shows like this on the back burner due to the fact that it’s a cartoon, but it would definitely not work as well, otherwise. The story truly fits its medium.
8. The “Time Period”
Adam Reed, the show’s creator and one of the executive producers, purposefully muddled the show’s chronology so that he didn’t have to deal with current events. This decision means that the show could take place anywhere between the 60’s (that with the aesthetics and the fashion choices) and the present. Soviet Russia and the KGB is still a thing, yet they also employ some pretty high-tech technology in their day to day operations, which makes for a pretty hilarious divergence in the way one can go back and forth between what’s current and what’s outdated in just a single joke within the Archer world.
9. Lana and Archer
By far one of the best aspects and dynamics of the shows is that of Sterling Archer and ex-girlfriend and fellow agent, Lana Kane. The two are teamed up a good 90% of the time when on missions, and the amount of bickering like an old married couple they do is hilarious and is one of those things that you’d think would get old but really, it does not.
Despite them constantly straddling the line between loving and loathing, deep down they really care for each other, and it shows. Archer usually goes to great lengths to save her, and just when you think they’re having a super sweet moment, Archer says or does something stupid and then they’re back to quarreling. It’s truly one of the most entertaining will-they or won’t-they relationships on television right now, and is also one of the biggest reasons their missions always almost fail.
Archer’s season 6 finale airs April 2nd at 10PM on FX.