My love of Archer has never been a secret, but the fact that I’d now count it as my favorite tv comedy is a new development. For those unfamiliar with the show, it is about super-spy Sterling Archer, codename: Duchess, and the rest of his selfish, hilarious, insane coworkers at ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service). To use some alliteration for a moment, the show is droll, dirty, and deranged. Also, delightful.
I still remember the first episode, when FX extended the listing for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to an entire hour so that DVRs would keep recording for folks to catch a special sneak peak of the Archer pilot. It was a few months before Archer actually aired in earnest. Right away, I was in love. The show’s smart, raunchy, irreverent, self-referential comedy, packed to the gills with pop culture references, is basically the sort of thing I would design if somebody asked me to sit down and create my dream comedy. All of my favorite tv comedies are like that, from Sunny to Bob’s Burgers to Community. And now, in my opinion, Archer has separated itself from the pack as the smartest and funniest of the lot.
Archer was created by Adam Reed, who tickled my funny bone in college on Adult Swim with Sealab 2021. I can literally watch this show over and over and over. And I do. Not counting the current season, I’ve seen every episode at least three times. Probably a lot more than three times. As is the case with the best comedies, in television and film alike, there are layers you only catch after repeat viewings. There are so many vague and obscure references in Archer that even a fairly knowledgable pop culture guy like me has no chance of catching all of the various references in every episode. It would be a fun group project to create a truly authoritative wiki that catalogues the references second by second for the purposes of allowing easy access in those moments when someone is watching and they just know something is a reference, but they’ll be damned if they could figure it out. The current Archer wiki only points out the most obvious references, which isn’t particularly helpful.
Anyway, the show has so much I love. The voice cast isn’t good, it’s perfect. Per. Fect. H. Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Amber Nash, Judy Greer, Adam Reed, Chris Parnell, Lucky Yates… each member of the cast couldn’t be any better. The guest stars are also always stellar, Burt Reynolds (as himself), Jeffrey Tambor, David Cross, Bryan Cranston, Peter Serafinowicz, Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant, Timothy Olyphant… the list goes on and on.
I love this show, and there are no signs quality is going to start slipping any time soon, last week’s episode ‘The Honeymooners‘ is one of my favorite yet!
Long live the king! Or, the duchess, I guess.