Archer: Season 1 Review

I'm not normally one for animated shows, but Archer is funnier than almost anything on TV right now. Sterling Archer is living the good life. In Season One, we meet the dreamy international spy who takes, and has, whatever he wants. He's inadvertently the best agent around, constantly saving the day by virtue of his mistakes. As Archer willingly admits to those around him, he's "a huge douchebag," yet, despite his personality, he's quite the lady’s man.

While Archer thinks he’s the best spy in the world, he couldn’t get by without constant support from his friends and family. His ex-girlfriend, sexy super-spy Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) is his partner in crime, and the two are constantly battling each other as they fend off the bad guys. And all too often, Lana is saving Archer’s ass. Lana is the sex kitten on a show riddled with sexual innuendos and animated sex scenes. The ISIS agency is an incestuous workplace full of raunchy, under-appreciated employees.

Each character's distinct personality is clearly established right away, from the ditsy, sex-craved Cheryl (Judy Greer) to Pam, the gossipy head of Human Resources. And then there's Archer's mom. Jessica Walter plays Malory Archer, head of the ISIS agency our hero works for. Mama's boy Archer battles with his Oedipus complex as he attempts to defy his mother in everything he does. Not only are Archer and his mother out for each other, but every operation is an excuse for ISIS agents to physically and psychologically torture one another.

The sexual tension between characters becomes more palpable with each episode of the series. Lana is dating Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell), the nerdy comptroller for ISIS. Archer takes any opportunity he can to turn Lana against Cyril, going to far as convince Cyril to sleep with the ISIS secretary. Cyril is the communal toy that the woman of ISIS take advantage of when they’re in the mood for lovin’. He may not be the best looking guy around, but he’s there and despite his love for Lana, he just can’t say no. Chris Parnell lends his voice to the show, along with an incredible cast of comedians.

The actors involved in Archer are what make the show really stand out. Archer is voiced by comedian H. Jon Benjamin, who has been involved with shows like Family Guy and Aqua Teen Hunger Force for years. He does a brilliant job of bringing a shallow, spoiled James Bond-type to life. Archer’s mother, Malory Archer, is voiced by Jessica Walter, known best for her role as Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development. Her animated self bares a striking resemblance to the real life Walter, and is reminiscent of Lucille Bluth in her blatant disregard for anything or anyone around her. The relationship between Archer and his mother is hilarious. Archer compensates for deep-seated feelings of abandonment and neglect by repeatedly disobeying his mother’s orders and making missions as complicated as possible. She strikes back by putting her son in compromising positions and pretending not to care about his well-being. The writers play on Malory’s sexuality as well, making her the harlot of the spy world. She’s had affairs with the leaders of every major spy organization, from the KGB to the CIA.

The beauty of the FX network is their ability to get away with swearing, violence and sex on cable TV. And Archer is full of twist and turns and a whole lot of sex. Spend some time getting to know Archer in Season One and you’ll be eagerly anticipating the upcoming premier of Season Two. As Sterling Archer puts it, be careful because when you mess with Archer, you’ve entered “The Danger Zone.”

DVD Bonus Features

Disc 1 includes the “Original Unaired Pilot” of Archer, which turns out to be Episode One starring Archersaurus the dinosaur. You can also get a peek of FX’s raunchy fantasy football comedy with “More From FX: The League Pilot Episode.”

Disc 2 includes a short “Unaired Network Promo,” Deleted Scenes and “More From FX: Louie.” You can also find detailed behind-the-scenes action with “The Making Of Archer.” Animators from Trinity Animation explain how the show is conceptualized and animated.

"Archer: Season 1" is on sale January 11, 2011 and is not rated. Action, Comedy. Directed by Adam Reed. Written by Adam Reed and Matt Thompson. Starring Aisha Tyler, H Jon Benjamin, Jessica Walter, Judy Greer.

Melissa Kovner • Staff Writer

After graduating from Boston University with a degree in Film & Television, Melissa moved to New York City to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Melissa currently works as an Associate Producer and Production Coordinator for Brooklyn-based video production company Dig For Fire, where she helps create live music entertainment.


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