Shows You Should Be Watching: Archer
Turns out not just broke-ass people are forgoing cable TV for the web. Thanks to sites like Hulu and channels streaming their own shows, why deal with commercials and TV schedules when you can just watch for free on your own time. I’m not going to get into specifics on why cable TV is dying, but I will say that Hulu can be overwhelming itself as well. With so many shows, and no remote control, you can’t really just flip through them all. But when you do find one that gels, hours can go by before you realize you’ve been sitting in your sweatpants for 6 hours straight while the world goes by. One of my new favorite shows that’s buried in FX’s line-up is the cartoon spy series, Archer. You don’t have to be well-versed in James Bond movies to appreciate this dark comedy. While I usually dislike “adult” cartoon shows like Family Guy and most of adult swim, Archer pokes fun at spy cliches in the way The Office makes fun of cubicle culture.
The story centers around head spy Sterling Archer, code-name “Duchess” who’s part of a small, dysfunctional spy agency called Isis. Heading up the agency is Archer’s mother Malory, played brilliantly by the best TV mother of all time, Jessica Walter aka Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development. You’ll recognize other comedy stars in the rest of the cast with SNL veteran Chris Parnell as ISIS’s neurotic comptroller, H.Jon Benjamin (from Important Things with Demetri Martin) as Archer, and the most underrated sidekick actress of all time , Judy Greer as a sex-addict secretary with borderline personality disorder. Certainly a new Miss Moneypenny for our times. Each 30 minute episode features this crack team basically fucking up every mission all while leaving a trail of broken martini glasses, poisoned KGB agents and dead hookers in their wake. It’s a dark comedy for sure with plenty of gratuitous nudity, threesomes, and a body count. But what other spy shows have you seen that feature a Human Resources director as a main character?
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Walter and Greer aren’t the only Arrested Development alums who make an appearance. Other guest stars include Jeffrey Tambor, who lends his voice to a UN chairman, and Thomas Lennon aka Lt.Dangle from Reno 911 naturally plays a gay double-agent in Miami. The style of animation was obviously designed with a male audience in mind. Think lots of busty babes and big eyes. But the show manages not to box itself into the late-night stoner category. It’s funny, smart, and pokes fun at its own stereotypes. It reminds me of other adult cartoons like Daria and The Critic who managed to be subversive without depending on fart-joke humor and constant pop culture references. So if you’re a Hulu addict like myself or just looking for some fresh entertainment, check out the entire first season of Archer online and be prepared to be both disgusted and entertained at the same time.