Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 7: Archer

8 Nov

Archer is an FX cartoon by the creator of Adult Swim fixture Sealab 2021 about a super spy named Sterling Archer, voiced by H. Jon Benjamin, who works for a private intelligence company called ISIS, run by his mother, Malory Archer.  The other main super secret agent is his ex, Lana, and they work with accountant Cyril, HR director Pam, secretary Cheryl and mad scientist Doctor Krieger.  Archer is a giant unabashed self-centered asshole who everybody mostly can’t stand but who is constantly making hilarious sarcastic comments at the office and throughout his super agent missions.  Much of the humor comes from Archer’s dickishness, and it’s unquestioned that he’s the primary reason that the show is so high but the supporting cast is consistently entertaining as well.

I liked the first season or Archer – I watched it all in one day, but, with all due respect to Archer, it was more because I had absolutely nothing to do that day than because I was absolutely and wholly consumed by Archer.  That said, I enjoyed it.  It was funny, pleasant, fun, and starred the never overrated vocal talents of one H. Jon Benjamin.  I watched it, remembered a few jokes here and there, and put it away in my brain, figuring I wouldn’t think much about it until the next season started.

Some number of months later the second season started, and I started watching weekly, and at the beginning I felt more or less the same way.  But as the season got maybe a third of the way through, almost at once, I realized that the show had made a bit leap that some shows make around this point in time  (Parks and Recreation, yet to come on this list, might be the best other recent example of this).  It’s certainly not as if old Archer was bad, and I’m also curious if going back and watching the old episodes, they’ll seem better than I remember them being.  That said, this Archer has just reached another level.

My friend invented the phrase “hit the jukebox” to be an opposite of the internet adage “jump the shark.”  When “jumping the shark” refers to a TV going over the hill, like Happy Days did after Fonzie jumped said shark, “hitting the jukebox” in when a TV show (or anything else really) goes into overdrive and really hits its stride.  Archer hit the jukebox and has not looked back.

Why It’s This High:  It’s funny, and it’s quotable is which one of the best compliments you can give to a comedy of this ilk

Why It’s Not Higher:  We’re at the rank where there aren’t too many ways to bash these shows.  It’s pretty much a crapshoot, and I could change my mind any time,  It’s more because I had more reasons for the shows above it at the time.  I suppose if I have to say anything, it’s just because it didn’t quite hit its absolutely top form until a dozen episodes ago or so.

Best episode of the most recent season:  Looking over the list of episodes, I’m reminded of just how excellent the last season was.  Realizing I don’t remember more about each episode makes me want to rewatch the entire season, but just reading each of the descriptions make me laugh.  I wish I could take the three episode arc aired this fall about Archer’s capture by pirates as one episode, but that would clearly be cheating so I’ll go with “Placebo Effect,” about Archer’s dealing with his diagnosis of breast cancer.  After he finds out that the drugs he’s been on are fake, he goes on a rampage, dragging around his IV, to figure out who was responsible for the fake drugs.  He turns his rampage into a film with the working title “Terms of En-Rampagement.”

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One Response to “Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 7: Archer”

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  1. Fall 2012 Review: Go On « Television, the Drug of the Nation - August 16, 2012

    […] be open to the possibility of chatter that the show is really finding its legs or “hitting the jukebox.”  If I had to guess, I would guess that it won’t, but I’ve been wrong before. Share […]

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