How do you top the kind of unspeakably crude and equally unspeakably funny work of your first brilliant season? If you’re Adam Reed, creator of Archer [FX, Thursdays, 10/9C], you dig deep and go for a situation that’s so uncool that even Sterling Archer is compelled to show some discipline!
In the season two premiere of Archer, Swiss Miss, we learn that ISIS is broke. In an attempt to keep the third-rate spy agency open for business, Malory Archer [voiced by Jessica Walter] courts funding from Swiss billionaire by protecting his daughter from being kidnapped. The thing is, she’s both gorgeous and underage – and she has the hots for Sterling Archer [H. Jon Benjamin].
In such a situation, what does Archer, the libido-on-legs, do? Unbelievably, he shows restraint and discipline – neither of which does him a bit of good when she throws herself at him, then cries molestation when discovered. Naturally, no one believes his protestations of innocence – not even his mother. Finally, just when things couldn’t possibly get worse – the billionaire orders Archer off the case – there is a kidnapping attempt!
One of the best things about Archer, the series, is that it goes there. The characters may be extremes [see: libido-on-legs/walking id], but they have no hesitance when it comes to saying every little thing that crosses their minds. In that, they offer a bit of wish fulfillment for the audience. Then there’s the show’s overt sexuality –Archer frequently fails to get the job done because he’s been distracted by some gorgeous woman – including, frequently, fellow ISIS Agent Lana Kane [Aisha Tyler], or other; director of Human Resources Pam [Amber Nash] is sexually omnivorous and a shameless gossip; Malory’s incompetent secretary Cheryl/Carol has had sexual liaisons with most of her co-workers, and Archers father is one of any number of Malory’s conquests.
These things – and any number of running gags [Danger Zone!] – have created a world of espionage unlike any we’ve ever seen before – and make it possible for us to understand why, for instance, no one believes Archer when he claims the billionaire’s daughter jumped him! Then there’s the action – no, the other kind! Swiss Miss features a riff on a James Bond chase on ski-doos that is both inventive and hilarious. The series’ animation continues to be beautifully drawn if limited – though there is extra fluidity in action sequences.
Future episodes keep the funny coming: Malory’s efforts to keep ISIS afloat lead her to turn to former [and possibly current] lover, Len Trexler [Jeffrey Tambor]; we learn Woodhouse’s [George Coe] story and we in also learn how Lana became a part of ISIS – and that’s just the tip of hugely dysfunctional iceberg.
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