What To Watch On Netflix This Weekend: Archer by Alex Snider

What better way to follow up a recommendation for an immaculate, gorgeous, taut drama-thriller like The Hour than with one for a debauched, offensive, alcohol-soaked spy comedy like Archer. Now when I say offensive I mean my grandparents and maybe even my parents wouldn't be down with all the boner jokes (of course there are exceptions; who can deny the power of a well-crafted boner joke?), not offensive like I (socialist feminist, majoring in Indigenous Studies) find offensive. Archer is the show for everyone out there that cut their teeth on Simpsons, went through puberty with South Park, took Futurama to prom and can't say Bobby without prefacing it with a Hank Hill shudder.

It's hackneyed and clich├ęd to call it an animated show for grownups so instead I'll call it a animated show for grownups who like deadpan absurdity, extremely obscure but not-at-all topical references ("Whoa Charles Benedict Davenport...ah the father of eugenics? Seriously guys, read a book.") and the darkest of dark humour. And boner jokes.

The show is about ISIS, some sort of international spy agency for hire that may or may not be totally incompetent, and a rag tag cast of over-sexed acerbic sociopaths (not a 'straight man' to be seen) at the centre of which is the degenerate Sterling Archer. Archer is equal parts Maxwell Smart, Don Draper, Dennis Reynolds and Encyclopedia Brown – handsome, refined, terrifying, full of trivia and really good at shooting people (on purpose or not). If you love Monty Python, Leslie Nielson, Sarah Silverman and Christopher Guest but loath Seth MacFarlane, this is a show for you.

More reasons to watch Archer (as if what I just wrote wasn't enough):

1. It's basically a sequel to Arrested Development. Jessica Walters (Lucille Bluth) and Judy Greer (Kitty Sanchez) are part of the main cast and their characters, Malory and Cheryl/Carol, are essentially more extreme versions of Lucille and Kitty. Plus Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross drop in.

2. There is an ocelot named Babu. I cannot get enough of Babu.

3. Aisha Tyler.

4. Chris Parnell.

5. The characters are frequently sexist, racist and homophobic but the jokes aren't. When horrible comments are made, the characters are called out for them and they become the butt of the joke. Subversive!

6. The recurring jokes. Not necessarily funny in and of themselves but when combined with the deadpan delivery and the repetition are one the best parts of the series. There's ISIS' dedication to not getting ants, the constant calling out of hostile work environments, poor Woodhouse being forced to eat bowls of spiderwebs to name just a few.

7. "Karate? The Dane Cook of martial arts?"

8. The brilliant creation of the "Green Russian" cocktail. It's absinth and milk.

9. Don't know if you've noticed, but I've connected the style and/or humour to nearly all the greatest comedies time has ever known. So...

10. Kenny Loggins.


Alex Snider is a humourless feminist. Her website is What Fresh Hell is This and her Twitter handle is @what_freshhell. 


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