Sunday, 2 September 2018

THE LEIGH SPENCE MOMENT: ARCHER


81. “Seriously Lana, call Kenny Loggins ‘cause you’re in the Danger Zone.”



02/09/2018




Usually, if I have a dream, it will be about something mundane, like my coat hangers being stolen, but because I am a film student, it will be cut together really well. The last two seasons of “Archer” have been in the same dream-like state, only more eventful – the next one, which may also be the last, will be in the same vein. With arch spy bro Sterling Archer in a coma, after being shot at the end of the seventh season, “Archer: Dreamland” and “Archer: Danger Island” have follower wildly different scenarios from the retro spy work-group banter and “phrasing” that beat “Bob’s Burgers” and “The Simpsons to an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 2016.

However, that Emmy was for “Archer’s” seventh season, which still followed the standard spy set-up, even if the action had been transplanted from New York to Los Angeles for that year. Bythen, there had already been a season where Bondesque spying had given way to selling a mound of cocaine, and when the characters returned to work, plotlines included more about Archer and Lana Kane’s child, and an episode that caught most of the cast in a stuck lift.


The show that “Archer” reminds me most of is “Cheers,” a sitcom where the “sit” is merely an excuse to get that particular set of characters interacting in the same space, rarely having any further effect on what is happening. In an interview for The AV Club in June 2018, Adam Reed, the creator of “Archer,” stated that he sees his characters, from Lana to Krieger, from Cyril to Pam, as being the same people, especially in how they relate to Archer. Therefore, Lana can be a special agent, a nightclub singer, or an African princess, but Archer will always misjudge her worth as a person, and likewise, Pam Poovey can be a head of human resources, a male detective, and a burly co-pilot, and still be ridiculed in the same way.

Thankfully, I love these characters, so I have continued to watch “Archer,” but the curse the show has taken inevitably leaves questions: with Archer still in a coma, when will this be resolved, and if it does, will the show end, and if it doesn’t, what form will subsequent seasons take? With the cast based on what Archer thinks of them, when will we find exactly what he thinks of himself, or will the show end if we get to that? Why does the changing plotlines remind me of “American Horror Story,” but with Jessica Walter instead of Jessica Lange?

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