“Archer”: The Best Cartoon on TV

Written by Guest November 08, 2011

Amongst the rise of Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy knock-offs series seemingly premiering every other week, I initially took no notice of FX’s animated series “Archer” amongst all these other mediocre cartoons.  I kick myself everyday for waiting until its second season to start watching it. This show is without a doubt the best animated show currently on TV.

“Archer” is a comedy about the missions of a maverick secret agent named Sterling Archer voiced by the always hilarious H. Jon Benjamin. His lavish lifestyle of destruction, whoring and partying causes his coworkers, be them other spies, HR reps, his boss/mother or accountants, become  infuriated with his antics. The show takes place in an odd world where everyone dresses in 1960s style while fighting in the Cold War with GPS devices and cell phones. The plots usually focuses around Archer but the rest of the characters usually are just as involved in the comedy as the lead. Example plots include Archer getting pegged with a paternity suit and his terrible attempts at being a father such as tattooing the baby, the characters protecting a blimp from a bomb, Archer and Lana protecting a pipeline from a ecoterrorist while plenty of Deliverance and Burt Reynolds jokes get made, as well as the most recent plot line of Archer running away from the spy agency and becoming the King of Somali pirates.

Creator Adam Reed (of Frisky Dingo and Sealab 2021) takes the concepts of a spy show, like 24, and a workplace comedy, like The Office, and mashes them together with glorious and always hilarious results. There is not a single dud episode so far in the shows entire run and the rewatch value is exhilarating. The writer’s for this show are probably the smartest comedic writer’s in the history of television. Minor literary or movie references to authors such as Herman Melville or to movies like The African Queen are dropped so frequently and quickly that either you have a hearty laugh or it flies right over your head and you just prepare yourself for the next joke in a few seconds. Unlike shows like Family Guy, this show does not rely on previous pop culture knowledge to be able to comprehend a scene or joke, Archer instead uses these smaller jokes to enrich the pop-culture junkies viewing experience while still providing a good, refreshingly original ride for the ones who won’t get every joke.

The animation and voice acting are top-notch as well. Despite being an animated show, the two separate departments are so good at what they do that a sense of on-screen chemistry is created between characters that is necessary in a quality live-action show but is usually always missing in cartoons. H Jon Benjamin’s perfect voice-acting as Sterling Archer is rounded out with the voice talents of such actors as Jessica Walter (Arrested Development), Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock), Judy Greer (Arrested Development), Aisha Tyler (Ghost Whisperer and Friends) and Jeffery Tambor (Arrested Development).

“Archer” is set to return in early 2012. The first two seasons (as well as the “Heart of Archness” three-part mini season) are definitely worth catching up on before it makes it’s glorious return. Even if you are not a fan of spy shows, workplace comedies or cartoons this show has something to offer everyone (if you are the right age to watch shows with swearing and lots of blood). This show is one of the best current shows on TV and you will do yourself a great service by watching it.

Best episodes to test if you like the show: ‘Heart of Archness’, ‘Pipeline Fever’, and ‘Skytanic’.

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