Archer is an animation that genuinely deserves the prefix “adult” – full to the brim with profanities, violence, sex and booze, this cheeky comedy is riotous fun.
Whilst it does involve some espionage plot lines, the series is essentially a workplace comedy – Archer is a secret agent in a company of misfits, headed up by his terrifying, dictatorial alcoholic mother. This merry band of agents get sent off on various missions, where they usually end up causing more danger than was originally there, and wasting large amounts of time by shagging each other and getting hammered.
The animation style is artistic and yet classic, reminiscent of popular 1960s and 70s comics, 2D pop art, with bulbous boobs and chiselled jaws, perfectly matching Archer’s role as the stereotypical spy. He’s James Bond in the Sean Connery era, just with far more swearing, and way more boner jokes. He shags his way round the globe, shooting bad guys and necking booze, selectively picking missions based on how much fun he can have whilst doing them. Naturally, his version of fun is top-of-train shoot outs, or playing with big guns, which obviously, get him a bit too excited.
Nothing is off limits, no joke too crude, no storyline too ridiculous. The creators truly make the most of the freedom of their art form, taking Archer to the furthest corners of the planet, and beyond. But whilst the locations may be ever changing, one thing that never falters are the quality of the writing – the gags keep coming, caustic, sharp, and keenly self-aware.
The Guardian’s Phelim O’Neill says the series is “as filthy as it is funny,” a “jaw-droppingly improper comedy.” Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times agrees, noting that “everything about these characters is incorrect” and whilst that might not be for everyone, it “has brought the show a dedicated fan base.” That is likely thanks to what The LA Times’ Chris Barton calls “rapid-fire comic exchanges, giddily obscure references and surrealistic flourishes.”
First shown September 2009. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.