Guest Blogger Jays on his favorite cartoon of the moment (borderline NSFW). Filing this under the "cartoon roundup" because... well, because I can.
I don't have a lot of appointment television shows – the rise of online reruns and DVRs has pretty much killed my need to build any kind of a schedule around what's on TV. That said, every now and again a good show crops up that resets that particular urge. The latest example of this for me is Archer.
Sexy, sexy explosions!
Archer is an animated comedy on FX about the missions of the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), specifically agency super spy Sterling Archer. In addition to the rogues gallery of soviet-era ne'er-do-wells and the occasional modern day terrorist, Archer must also contend with his chief rival at the office (and ex-girlfriend) Lana Kane, a variety of office pencil-pushers more concerned with bureaucracy then saving the world, and his boss who also happens to be his inattentive, abrasive and over-sexed alcoholic mother, Malory Archer.
Archer combines the visual style of the 1960s James Bond movies with modern technology (GPS, cell phones) and conventions (the staff is forced to endure sensitivity training) to frankly hilarious result. It's sort of like what would happen if Mad Men took itself less seriously and featured more espionage and stereotypical eastern European super villains. You know, aside from Betty Draper. <Rimshot> In tone, it's a spiritual successor to Arrested Development, both for its irreverent sense of humor and its casting; Arrested Development alums Jessica Walter, Judy Greer and Jeffrey Tambor all play lead characters.
The title character himself is played with dripping nonchalance by H. Jon Benjamin, who also voices the lead in Bob's Burgers. Sterling Archer is renowned as the most dangerous spy in the business, despite being only moderately bright and way more concerned with his own hedonism than with anything else. He also has the unfortunate distinction of having the least threatening codename in the world, "Duchess". We later learn this was the name of his mother's favorite dog. Additional leads are played by Aisha Tyler as Lana Kane, top female agent and light years more competent than Archer but still not as highly recognized as him, and Chris Parnell as nerdy Cyril Figgis, the ISIS Comptroller and Lana's new boyfriend.
The show takes every trope of a classic spy movie and runs so far with it that it ends up in another genre. The James Bond references are intentionally mashed into the more modern dysfunctional family sitcom. And like its predecessors from that oeuvre, the show doesn't shy away from visual sight gags that are intentionally suggestive. The show has yet to meet an entendre that it couldn't double or triple.
Yup. That Photo of Malory and her dog is referencing exactly what you think it is.
Where the show's standard stock in trade really is, however, is the sex. There's no shortage of people talking about it, people having it and people doing weird things with it. Secretary Cheryl makes no secret of the fact that she enjoys asphyxiation and is often drawn with red finger marks around her neck that go uncommented on by her uncomfortable coworkers. HR Director Pam states on many occasions that her goal is to get one of her coworkers to sleep with her and she's not terribly particular on which one. And it's the rare episode that goes by without someone mentioning Sterling Archer's repeated prostitute addiction, courtesy of lines like these:
Archer: Oh my God, Cyril, you killed my hooker!
Cyril: Call girl! She was a call girl!
Archer: No, Cyril – when they're dead, they're just hookers.
And then there's the bondage, which occurs more often than you'd think…
There is actually a point to this scene, but it doesn't end up where you want it to.
Just finishing its second season, Archer has officially been renewed for season three, which will begin next year. Season one is available for instant watch on Netflix.