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April 12, 2012 4:52 AM   Subscribe

Johnny Bench Called The Ten Most Obscure Archer jokes, explained.

Only runs through the show's first two seasons, but If you're a fan of the show (and if you're not your airboat needs to be commandeered) who's puzzled over some of the show's jokes even after 100 viewings, it's all laid out right here.
posted by PapaLobo (194 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
sorry only the show's FIRST season is covered, guess you'll just have to puzzle out the other two seasons on your own. With your big Lincoln Loggy fingers.
posted by PapaLobo at 4:54 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you have to explain the joke, there is no joke.
posted by crunchland at 4:59 AM on April 12, 2012


Archer
posted by DU at 5:02 AM on April 12, 2012


The idea that these are obscure jokes makes me feel all well-read and culturally-literate.

Or else very old, one or the other.
posted by box at 5:05 AM on April 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


The Checkhov's gun joke was what originally sold me on the entire show. Even though I don't think it's all that obscure a reference, it did make me wonder what else I was missing. Now I know!
posted by KGMoney at 5:05 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


8. You’re just a dog in a manger (S01E07)
I had always just assumed that this was a completely random insult, but it turns out it is one of the most ancient references in the entire show!


Ha ha, you're dumb!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:14 AM on April 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Does obscurity really imply the trope? I disagree. Strongly.
starts humming Kenny Loggins
posted by PapaLobo at 5:15 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Could we please stop going off about the gun? My ears are ringing.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:16 AM on April 12, 2012


I initially read this as the top ten Archers jokes and got confused because other than putting ferrets down Joe's trousers ... oooh nooo! ....there really isn't much humour in it.

Well, apart from the yokelshire accents, of course.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:17 AM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I actually like the obscure literary references in "Archer" because they make a certain amount of sense in context. My favorite thing about the show is that they've resisted making their protagonist funny by making him stupid. Instead, they've made him funny by making him hugely immature. But not stupid. And he was abandoned by mother to ridiculously expensive prep schools as a child, so a familiarity with the mustier corners of literature wouldn't be entirely unexpected.
posted by Ipsifendus at 5:21 AM on April 12, 2012 [25 favorites]


there really isn't much humour in it.

Oo, don't forget about me Tiger!

Also, Ian and Adam's lunches in various local gastropubs where Ian "knows the chef" always seem like a missed opportunity for a Fast Show sketch.

Has there ever been a 'The Archers' post on Metafilter? Is now the moment for it to happen?
posted by howfar at 5:24 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


And he was abandoned by mother to ridiculously expensive prep schools as a child
Sure Sterling attributes his desire to be a secret agent to Burt Reynolds, but I contend he was a Milford man. Sorry, manboy.
posted by PapaLobo at 5:25 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


They missed the most awesome one of all: a stanza from "The Destruction of Sennacherib" by Byron, tattooed on Pam's back.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:38 AM on April 12, 2012 [28 favorites]


A Melville reference that is explained in-episode counts as obscure?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:39 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is prime time television we're talking about here. A reference to any specific work of literature is rare. A reference to any specific work of literature more than five years old is damn near unheard of.
posted by Ipsifendus at 5:42 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


This kind of stuff is exactly why I love Archer. Easily one of the best-written (at least in terms of dialog) shows on TV right now.

It really off-putting, though, to hear Benjamin's voice on Bob's Burgers. 'Cause, it's still his Archer delivery and voicing.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:48 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


They missed the most awesome one of all: a stanza from "The Destruction of Sennacherib" by Byron, tattooed on Pam's back.

Possibly my favorite episode ever.

It's like...meow-schwitz in there.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:49 AM on April 12, 2012 [24 favorites]


Now do Frisky Dingo!
posted by frenetic at 5:58 AM on April 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also worth mentioning is the show's title sequence. It's cool.

Also, what's a gill vis a vis a unit of measure?

And if we're going to go on about references/jokes made post-season one. Cheryl/Carol/Cristal is obviously a Vandertunt, and her ocelot is owned by Dali.

HE REMEMBERS ME!
you fox-eared asshole!

posted by PapaLobo at 6:02 AM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you have to explain the joke, there is no joke.

So how do people that don't get the referential jokes respond to their presence. There must be young folks out there that have never heard of the 6 million dollar man and thus wonder at Barry's constant track suit jokes right? Or is it just like water under a bridge for them...
posted by Chekhovian at 6:02 AM on April 12, 2012


I'VE NEVER SEEN AN OCELOT! HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS LOOK AT HIS LITTLE SPOTS! LOOK AT HIS TUFTED EARS!
posted by jph at 6:04 AM on April 12, 2012 [20 favorites]


Huh! I'd never heard the Dog In The Manger metaphor before. How did that one slip by me?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:06 AM on April 12, 2012


So how do people that don't get the referential jokes respond to their presence.

I grew up watching shows like Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures (and, to a lesser extent, Looney Tunes and so on) and those are absolutely rife with references. There's an episode of Animaniacs, for instance, that's a parody of ApocalyPse Now. Tiny Toons had parodies of Citizen Kane, The Birds, Sunset Blvd, and a bevy of others. And these were shows meant for children, unlike Archer. You get them or you don't, or you get them years later, or, if you're like me, you get infinitely frustrated by things that are clear allusions and end up watching way, way too many movies.
posted by griphus at 6:06 AM on April 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Actually, that was a good segue back to your question Chekhovian, since I think that culturally illiterate folks who don't giggle at a Chekov's Gun or a Mellville joke can still enjoy the show because so much of the comedy in Archer is just absurdist humor - like my ocelot above. These things just get lumped into the "omg Archer be soooo crazy" category.
posted by jph at 6:08 AM on April 12, 2012


Could we please stop going off about the gun? My ears are ringing.

Archer also has some of the most-consistent and accurate use of firearms of any show on TV.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:09 AM on April 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


They missed the most awesome one of all: a stanza from "The Destruction of Sennacherib" by Byron, tattooed on Pam's back.

[Season 2 Spoilers]. The story arc where Pam easily stands up to kidnapping and torture because she used to be a prizefighter is one of my favorites. I'm pretty sure those tally marks on her back are the amount of men she killed in the ring, as the flashback indicates she did that at least once. I think Pam and Cyril get all the character development on that show.
posted by griphus at 6:11 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Archer also has some of the most-consistent and accurate use of firearms of any show on TV.

Maybe in terms of their potential for damaging your hearing, yes. But there are a lot of people getting shot very, very casually in "Archer" without any long term ramifications, so I'm not sure your point stands. Lana has shot Archer just out of pique on at least one occasion, and there's a nameless guy in the office who's been shot many, many times as a running gag.

Come to think of it...they've also made a point of how bad for your hearing specifically a grenade can be, but simultaneously shown three people in a tiny stone chamber surviving the detonation. "Now, no grenade is a good grenade..."
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:17 AM on April 12, 2012


you get infinitely frustrated by things that are clear allusions and end up watching way, way too many movies.

I wouldn't say I get infinitely frustrated, but there definitely are books and movies I've read/watched just because I knew there must be references I was missing.

I've also started my kids on a program of classic books, movies and TV shows just so they will get references. Even the little kids love shouting out "that's a reference to Mission Impossible!" or even "that's definitely a reference to something." When they don't know the reference but I do, we gather around the fireplace and I tell the tale of When Spock Had A Beard or How MacGyver Made a Flamethrower from a Bicycle.
posted by DU at 6:21 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


"A dog in a manger is actually a reference to an old fable of unverified origins, sometimes attributed as one of Aesop’s fables but more likely hailing back to the ancient Greeks."

Um.
posted by Casuistry at 6:23 AM on April 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


This supports my conviction that Archer will absolutely be a thing to watch with grudging acceptance but a paradoxical sense of cosmic injustice when Community is cancelled.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:25 AM on April 12, 2012


What was meant by by most-consistent and accurate use of firearms is this. I know next to nothing about guns, so this kind of blew my mind a little. It's amazing how rarely they stray from real life in both design and how many bullets are actually in a given gun.

Then again there is this thing called 'situational awareness'...
posted by Freon at 6:25 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'll clarify: the mechanics, technical limitations, and design of firearms. Not their effects on the victims.

"Somebody answer the damn phone!"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:31 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Best show on television. *sploosh*
posted by ColdChef at 6:32 AM on April 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Not highbrow enough for these references, but not lowbrow enough for the other humor in the show. *sigh*

I'm not sure why I really don't get Archer, as I loved Sealab, (some) Tim and Eric and even Xavier: Renegade Angel (which is pushing the boundaries of my low-brow)...

But what is it about Archer that's so great?

Sell me.
posted by symbioid at 6:38 AM on April 12, 2012


symbiod, all I can sell you with personally is that it's replaced Arrested Development as my favorite scabrous comedy of all time.

And it's always grammatically correct.
posted by PapaLobo at 6:44 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


But what is it about Archer that's so great?

I think you have to have an affinity or desire to watch a number of things: Cold War-era spy aesthetic, action films, puerile humor, obscure references, Arrested Development, blatant metafiction and so on. I am completely convinced that Archer is one of those shows that if it doesn't grab you in the first few episodes, you probably won't develop a taste for it. Everyone I know who enjoys that show was hooked from the first moment.

Emily Nussbaum, the New Yorkers' TV writer, writes about it here and makes a much better case for it than I ever could.

(Also, can I please gush about how great of a TV critic Emily Nussbaum is? She's starting to beat out Anthony Lane in my what-to-read-first calculus.)
posted by griphus at 6:45 AM on April 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Not highbrow enough for these references, but not lowbrow enough for the other humor in the show.

Methylviolet put it better than I can in a comment about metafilter, but that's precisely what I love about Archer.

Esoteric references, absurdity, utterly filthy vulgarity, and perfect comedic timing. Also I'm pretty entranced by Pam and Cheryl, who just keep getting better and better as the series progresses.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:45 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, as far as depictions of women's sexuality on television is concerned, Pam and Cheryl, while complete caricatures, are a high point. They're lecherous, amoral and completely unapologetic about themselves and that is something you don't see a lot in women characters, at least not without some Wrath descending upon them in Act 3.
posted by griphus at 6:47 AM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


But what is it about Archer that's so great?

It's like an old-timey radio ensemble comedy show, with witty dialog and sharp, smart editing to match, but in televisual form.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:48 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wonder if there is significant overlap between people who like, say, Archer, Community, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, and other similar shows.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:48 AM on April 12, 2012


Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
posted by ColdChef at 6:50 AM on April 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


I, too, have troubles with Archer. I'm a fan of Sealab and Jon Benjamin and animated funnies. I think it might be the show's style of animation that throws me - it looks like a turn-of-the-millennium web cartoon. Is that part of the gag? I ended up loving the holy hell out of Xavier once I got used to the way it's presented.

Ok. Next chance I have alone with the TV and some time, I'm going to sit through the first 3 or 4 episodes and see where we go from there. I think what I'm saying is that this comment has served no real purpose other than to let you watch me convince myself to look at a cartoon.
posted by item at 6:50 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The story arc where Pam easily stands up to kidnapping and torture because she used to be a prizefighter is one of my favorites.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!


Pam's totally badass. And the great thing is that her character has no filter whatsoever, so the writers can use her for almost anything.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:51 AM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh god do I love Archer all out of proportion but it really seems like something that has to hit your personal sweet spot.

Hey Kroger are you still doing bum fights?

No, no now I'm into something ....darker.
posted by The Whelk at 6:51 AM on April 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Oh and yeah the animation is ...super cheap, and since almost none of the jokes are visuals, I just treat it like a radio play.
posted by The Whelk at 6:52 AM on April 12, 2012


Archer, Community, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development

I like/love all those shows, but I don't think P&R really fits into the rubric. It's not quite as absurdist as the others, and I'd say it has the most heart.
posted by kmz at 6:53 AM on April 12, 2012


It's like an old-timey radio ensemble comedy show
...
I think it might be the show's style of animation that throws me - it looks like a turn-of-the-millennium web cartoon.


Yeah, the voice acting is god damned sublime, but the animation isn't all that great. I've actually watched a lot of episodes while cooking, where I'm only half-looking at my computer but listening intently, and it works just fine; ninety percent of the show's humor is in the dialogue.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:54 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Archer, Community, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development

Yes, no, no, no for me.

But 30 Rock. Omg. Talk about puerile humor and obscure references. Have you ever listened to anything Tracy says?
posted by Chekhovian at 6:55 AM on April 12, 2012


since almost none of the jokes are visuals, I just treat it like a radio play.

I've actually watched a lot of episodes while cooking, where I'm only half-looking at my computer but listening intently, and it works just fine; ninety percent of the show's humor is in the dialogue.

Well, that makes three of us.

This van is, like, rolling probable cause.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:57 AM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Actually now that I think about it one of the draws of the show is how gleefully amoral and hedonistic everyone is. Combined with the retro aesthetic it's a bit Venture Brothers minus the angst.
posted by The Whelk at 6:57 AM on April 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


"How much did Dodge kick in?"
"Not as much as you'd think"

Great breaking the fourth wall to comment on the ever-increasing amount of in-show advertising. And Sterling bites the hand that feeds him by constantly bitching about Dodge.

There. Another reason I love the show.
posted by PapaLobo at 6:57 AM on April 12, 2012


it looks like a turn-of-the-millennium web cartoon

Yeah I think this is my issue with it as well. I love Arrested Development, Community, Sealab, all the other stuff that it gets compared to, and while I've *enjoyed* Archer, I also don't have a lot of love for it (and I haven't watched any of season 2, as I feel no real need to see any more of it). I don't mean this as a your-favorite-thing-sucks thing, I'm not sure what my problem is with the show. Q: Am I broken?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:58 AM on April 12, 2012


Chris Parnell is on both 30 Rock and Archer, so you have that.

I also spent like, days wondering if that was his voice in big Mountain, yelling at James Urbaniak via a floating brain jar.
posted by The Whelk at 6:58 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


IMAGINE SHUTTING UP
posted by The Whelk at 7:00 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Has there ever been a 'The Archers' post on Metafilter? Is now the moment for it to happen?

Years of listening to The News Quiz had me vaguely convinced that Lord Jeffrey Archer was famous for writing The Archers before becoming a corrupt Tory MP.

Archer the cartoon spy show is also very funny, and Aisha Tyler is awesome. She had an interview with the AV Club where she correctly used "exsanguinated" in casual conversation, which puts me forever in her corner.
posted by Diablevert at 7:01 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


My only experience with Archer were the commercials they ran leading up to this season's launch, which made the show just horrible. They managed to convey the whole "immature" thing, but failed to promote any of the wit, literary references or metafiction.

Now I'm off to buy Season One on DVD. So glad this thread got posted!
posted by bpm140 at 7:01 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


That'll do pig boy
posted by The Whelk at 7:02 AM on April 12, 2012


And for those of you who think the show has no visual contribution to the humor ... really? The time period in which Archer takes place--which is enforced by the blend of style and technology from the 50s through the modern day--is a constant running joke.

"What year is this?" is a question often posed. The question always has an obvious answer, and then the subtle one ... given the deliberately vague amalgam of visual elements.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:02 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


The question always has an obvious answer, and then the subtle one ...

Danger Zone!
posted by middleclasstool at 7:04 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the animation is limited, but they definitely put a lot of thought into the visuals. The set of the episode that takes place on the blimp was gorgeous. Also, telexes everywhere.
posted by griphus at 7:04 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


there's a subtle MST3K joke in the background of this clip
posted by The Whelk at 7:04 AM on April 12, 2012


Although this thread had something to say about Archer and watching/enjoying it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:04 AM on April 12, 2012


Since when is "obscure" an appropriate way to describe LORD OF THE RINGS?

Seriously? Folks, those films have grossed like a billion dollars and rising. Something tells me that the portion of the population who might not have read the books has been pretty well covered at this point.
posted by trackofalljades at 7:05 AM on April 12, 2012


I wonder if there is significant overlap between people who like, say, Archer, Community, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, and other similar shows.

Yes.
No.
Sort of.
Ugh, NO.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:05 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the consistency across the show, but you're going to get that when one person write 90%+ of the entire run. Adam Reed is the Aaron Sorkin animated-cold-war-spy pastiches.

As for the animation, one thing to keep in mind is that it's done by a handful of animators here in the States and not farmed out to Korean studios. They do (most) everything in Illustrator and After Effects I believe, and recycle like crazy to meet deadlines with a skeleton crew. This was brilliantly lampshaded in the Burt Reynolds episode with the "Wait, was that the same footage?" line. But that "Made In Georgia" tagline at the end is completely true. The entire studio is there to take advantage of state subsidies.
posted by Freon at 7:05 AM on April 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


It really off-putting, though, to hear Benjamin's voice on Bob's Burgers. 'Cause, it's still his Archer delivery and voicing.
I wouldn't call it off-putting. But it's definitely weird! Still on the fence about Bob's Burgers.

Pam getting kidnapped and Archer on chemo going after the Irish mob are favorites.
(But I might give Venture Brothers the slightest edge overall. Need more episodes. "Everybody Comes to Hank's" still kills.)
posted by Glinn at 7:07 AM on April 12, 2012


The lampshading on the show is brilliant. Everything that happens on the seaplane in "Heart of Archness" is wonderful. Sky Captain of Yesteryear!.
posted by griphus at 7:08 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


My favorite running gag is Archer's unendingly inappropriate series of cell phone rings.
posted by The Whelk at 7:09 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The ringtone is different parts of a single song called Mulatto Butts.
posted by griphus at 7:10 AM on April 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


The ISIS mainframe runs on Linux
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:10 AM on April 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Processes: 72 total, 7 running, 1 stuck, 64 sleeping, 447 threads, 99 problems, 0 bitches
posted by griphus at 7:12 AM on April 12, 2012 [25 favorites]


Since when is "obscure" an appropriate way to describe LORD OF THE RINGS?
Not Lord of the Rings.

Mithril.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:14 AM on April 12, 2012


In terms of obscure jokes I always appreciated "OH THE HUMANITY!" Though apparently I'm the only one I know who's heard of the Hindenburg amongst my friends.
posted by Carillon at 7:15 AM on April 12, 2012


(Thinking about it, the idea that Chekhov's gun and Aesop's fables are obscure, and indeed that somebody is proudly declaring that they struggled to get through Bartleby the Scrivener - not Moby Dick, even, but Bartleby - is making me cry inside. But one should never judge a show by its fandom.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:17 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It really off-putting, though, to hear Benjamin's voice on Bob's Burgers. 'Cause, it's still his Archer delivery and voicing.

That's just Jon Benjamin. If you haven't seen Home Movies, he plays a high school soccer coach and his delivery is identical.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:18 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


there's a nameless guy in the office who's been shot many, many times as a running gag.

His name is Brett.

I want to make a solo thrash metal album solely so I can call it Terms of Enrampagement.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:28 AM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


and recycle like crazy to meet deadlines with a skeleton crew
There's almost no recycled footage that I can recall other than the establishing shot of the ISIS headquarters that opens many episodes.

The "was that the same footage?" remark doesn't refer to the two car crashes presented in the show: the first featured two of the three vans chasing Our Perverts and the second featured the third. And I'm pretty sure many Burt Reynolds films did have recycled footage but I'm not caffeinated enough to plow through all the OMG MICHAEL BAY RECYCLES FOOTAGE crap on YouTube to find it. Also, all of the stunts performed in "The Man From Jupiter" are almost all exact replicas of stunts from a wealth of Reynolds movies.

Krieger's three vans have had elaborately drawn tributes to Rush album covers airbrushed on them.

The Grand Pricks is, as far as I can tell, an exact replica of the actual route run through Monaco. And the two chyrons displayed during the race scenes are in-jokes in themselves.

god it's just turtles all the way down, isn't it?

The attention to detail in Archer's visuals can't be underestimated. They do a fantastic job given the constraints.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:35 AM on April 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Exit Van Left, Vanispheres, and Caress of Krieger.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:38 AM on April 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


While I agree with everyone about the various highlights of Archer, I think Reed must really have spent a long time with those Cold War spy dramas.
Schmoe: And you have no trace of Cuban accent.
Archer: Yeah, it’s called tradecraft, genius. I blend.
Using "tradecraft" that way is right out of Le Carré. And not unlike the suburban spy ring of a year or two back, it even makes sense on its own terms.
posted by aurelian at 7:39 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Combined with the retro aesthetic it's a bit Venture Brothers minus the angst.

So I was trying to find the clip from Burn's Heir where Marge fantasizes about Lee Majors and he bionic jumps her off screen while wearing Barry's track suit, but instead I found this through the bionic man reference in the Venture Brothers.

The Secret of Bigfoot

An actual episode of the bionic man where he fights bigfoot, and discovers that bigfoot is actually a robot controlled by aliens that live inside of a volcano...WTF!?!

I mean, I love pop culture references, but I sort of wish I hadn't found out this bit of prehistory. Good god, I mean there were some bad TOS episodes...but robotic bigfoots? No.
posted by Chekhovian at 7:41 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Didn't meant to impugn the job they do at all, PapaLobo. What I meant by recycling is that the animators have said they do as much as possible as vector art in Illustrator so they can reuse assets with minor tweaks in different scenes/episodes. South Park takes this to the extreme which is why they can bang out an episode in under a week, but Archer has far more hand-drawn backgrounds and attention to detail. I was just contrasting it with traditional hand-drawn cel animation.
posted by Freon at 7:42 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am almost certain that Archer refers to the gun ad a "Checkhov" early in S01E02 when he gives it to Cyril, so the name doesn't come out of nowhere as the writer implies.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:42 AM on April 12, 2012


Jesus, Lana, read a book once in your life!
posted by eamondaly at 7:47 AM on April 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Archer really is a completely brilliant show. It's a funny pastiche of a outdated genre and aesthetic that is neither too serious nor too self congratulatory. That the humor generally works on multiple levels is a testament to how well it works.

Even the visual style allows them to experiment in a variety of ways that I don't think would ever work in a live action TV show. I like the fact that it's essentially a workplace comedy that manages to not feel like every other workplace comedy out there currently. Even as brilliant as Parks and Rec can be it doesn't have some of the same biting humor that Archer exhibits.
posted by vuron at 7:47 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pam getting kidnapped and Archer on chemo going after the Irish mob are favorites.


This is just an educated guess, but... Zima?
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:48 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


God, I wish I had a van just so I could paint "Caress of Krieger" on the side of it.
posted by aramaic at 7:49 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah it's a workplace comedy that due to setting and animated accident can pull off things a more typical, live action show couldn't, everything from strangling fetish jokes to going to SPACE
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the static-ish visual style counterpoints the dense, witty dialog perfectly. And, really, when you think about it, if this were a typical live-action show, most of the actors would be relatively immobile while delivering their lines, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:56 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


MANCY!?
posted by infinitewindow at 7:57 AM on April 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Illustrated radio drama then!
posted by The Whelk at 7:58 AM on April 12, 2012


It really off-putting, though, to hear Benjamin's voice on Bob's Burgers. 'Cause, it's still his Archer delivery and voicing.

Imagine how I feel about Coach McGuirk becoming a secret agent.
posted by yerfatma at 8:00 AM on April 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


My favorite running gag is Archer's unendingly inappropriate series of cell phone rings.

A gag also used to great effect in Frisky Dingo, by the same folks.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:03 AM on April 12, 2012


So how do people that don't get the referential jokes respond to their presence. There must be young folks out there that have never heard of the 6 million dollar man and thus wonder at Barry's constant track suit jokes right? Or is it just like water under a bridge for them...

either?
posted by slapshot57 at 8:04 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, one of my favorite things is the fact that, in D&D terms, Archer is the perfect example of a character with high INT and low WIS. He's clearly highly educated, and very skilled and capable (e.g. killing all a shitload of pirates without blinking, destroying an entire platoon of snowmobile-mounted terrorists, killing an attempted assassin with a candle and canned deodorant) and yet he will almost always make the worst possible decision when prompted.
posted by griphus at 8:04 AM on April 12, 2012 [22 favorites]


I haven't watched any of "Bob's Burgers" yet. But I have watched "Dr. Katz", "Home Movies", and "Archer". Jon Benjamin does basically the same voice in all three, and still manages to create entirely distinctive personas. I think the guy is a hugely underrated talent.
posted by Ipsifendus at 8:06 AM on April 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think the guy is a hugely underrated talent.

Yeah Coach McGurk sounds nothing like Archer, his tone, cadence, intonation, all different. He's a very talented voice actor.

And sexy bastard.
posted by The Whelk at 8:07 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


BTW, another way to find out what an obscure joke on Archer means... is to ask the cartoonists who work on the show.

Also, a day or two before each episode is released they announce the "drink of the episode"; not necessarily featured in the episode, but in their opinion, appropos.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:11 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't totally get the dynamic of reference-as-joke. Where precisely is the laugh? The tension?

I know the usual reading is that it is like in conversation, where you reference something you know they know but you know they know you know and everyone knows it is only known strictly within the relationship, you know, what is otherwise called an in-joke. So, you tell it, they laugh. And they must laugh so as not to be misperceived as an amnesiac, a shell of a human, a clone of your friend, so they laugh, you laugh! Identity confirmed.

But, I am suspicious. I do not think on the television it works the same. I am beginning to suspect that the heart of the laugh is in the fact that it is even being referenced at all.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:15 AM on April 12, 2012


I gotcha Freon. Where are you getting all the information about how the show is created? The DVDs? Coz I got the Blu-Rays of the first two seasons ... but my PS3 is brokens so I just rip the episodes so I can watch them on my TV and my Fire and my PC over and over *sobs*I think I have a problem

Also, way to eschew traditional animation business models Archer!
posted by PapaLobo at 8:16 AM on April 12, 2012


When the butler showed up and was named Woodhouse, that's when I knew I liked this show. I figured, anyone willing to give PG Wodehouse, creator of arch-butler Jeeves, that kind of shout-out must be awesome.

As a further Wodehousian bonus, the boy Woodhouse was fond of in school, killed in the War, etc, was named Reggie. Reggie is Jeeves' first name. Coincidence?
posted by palindromic at 8:19 AM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


The first two seasons of Archer are on Netflix. The first season is pure genius, like a foundling, carved out of onyx. It's smart, doesn't pull any punches and gleefully mocks everything.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:25 AM on April 12, 2012


TwelveTwo, I think the reference-as-joke thing works exactly the same way a pun does. There's a moment of frisson as two disparate things/words are juxtaposed based on a common theme/situation/homophone/etc and when your brain resolves it you laugh. Or don't. It doesn't work if you don't know the reference, a pun doesn't work if you don't know both words and neither of them work if you just plain don't have a taste for that kind of humor.

Paplobo, a lot of the stuff I've gleaned from hanging out in the subreddit IAmBroom links to up above. The people who work on the show are pretty vocal and love discussing their creation.
posted by Freon at 8:27 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


MANCY!?

That one the one moment in my watching of Archer (haven't started season 3 yet) that made me literally laugh out loud. I might have even rolled on the floor a bit. (No ass-offing though.)
posted by kmz at 8:34 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe no one has mentioned the H Jon Benjamin vehicle "Lucy, Daughter of the Devil", starrting Benjamin as a cosby-sweater-wearing slacker devil.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:34 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am beginning to suspect that the heart of the laugh is in the fact that it is even being referenced at all.

Well, the literary allusion is a technique as old as time. Many regular phrases we use in the English language, we only use because the Romantics really liked Shakespeare, or because almost every big-name author between the 17th and 20th centuries grew up on the King James bible. Hell, Chinua Achebe references Tennyson in an offhanded bit of narration in Things Fall Apart.

Meanwhile, Archer's relatively obscure references take it to a metafictional level. People who know the obscure reference also know that it's plenty obscure, and the show plays with this. Take the Bartelby the Scrivener gag for instance: Archer, under cover, tries to crack a joke (that happens to be a Melville reference, because Archer is well-read) and gets a bunch of guns drawn on him because the people don't get the Melville reference. Then he has to openly explain it, ruining the entire point of trying to seem both witty and learned by way of alluding to literature.
posted by griphus at 8:45 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


It really off-putting, though, to hear Benjamin's voice on Bob's Burgers. 'Cause, it's still his Archer delivery and voicing.

It's hearing Benjamin Katz as Archer that I find a little strange. On the other hand, I have no problem believing that he grew up and became Bob.
posted by malocchio at 8:47 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


that made me literally laugh out loud.

I don't think I've laughed harder at the show than at "Start slacking off".
posted by Greg Nog at 8:48 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Arrested Development also played with this when, in an heavily-meta episode stemming from impending cancellation due to, among other things, the fact that the show constantly alluded to cultural ephemera the average Fox viewer had no idea about, had Tobias make a reference to a member of a band, had the other characters tell him they did not understand the reference (in those exact words,) and then had the narrator pull up a photo of a Village People-style band that was made up for that single gag, and highlight the individual Tobias was talking about.)
posted by griphus at 8:49 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mr. Ford from Frisky Dingo showing up on Archer is the best thing. I have this little dream in the back of my head that Archer ends with Sterling and Carol/Cheryl assuming the identities of Mr. and Mrs. Crews, soon-to-be-murdered parents of Xander and Nearl. In this dream, the Stan clones from Frisky Dingo are the result of a Krieger experiment. And OBVIOUSLY Ronnie is Nikolai Jakov's assistant.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:49 AM on April 12, 2012


Oh man it JUST hit me how much Sterling Archer and Rodger Sterling are the same characters.
posted by The Whelk at 8:51 AM on April 12, 2012


"Immigrants! That's how they do, you know. Just drive around listening to raps and shooting all the jobs." - Mallory Archer

Favourite quote. Sums up a subsect of the GOP.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:55 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man it JUST hit me how much Sterling Archer and Rodger Sterling are the same characters.

You might enjoy Sterling Archer Draper Price.
posted by rewil at 8:59 AM on April 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


It really off-putting, though, to hear Benjamin's voice on Bob's Burgers. 'Cause, it's still his Archer delivery and voicing.

That's just Jon Benjamin. If you haven't seen Home Movies, he plays a high school soccer coach and his delivery is identical.


I didn't have much interest in finding another animated series to watch...until you said that. Coach McGuirk was one of the funniest characters ever created.
posted by emjaybee at 9:00 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


He also does the voice to Orpheus's Master on The Venture Brothers.
posted by painquale at 9:03 AM on April 12, 2012


You might enjoy Sterling Archer Draper Price.

*shudders in delight*
posted by The Whelk at 9:04 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow rewil, that's Sterlin Archer Draper Price is fantastic.
posted by Carillon at 9:05 AM on April 12, 2012


This one is perfect.

Just perfect.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:09 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


De rigueur: what is this I don't even
posted by clvrmnky at 9:09 AM on April 12, 2012


OH GOD
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on April 12, 2012


My favorite Archer joke is how in Season 1 (the pilot, even?) Archer is totally slacking off on his torture-resistance training, and then the payoff over a year later in Season 2 when he's actually being tortured (in the same manner, by an identical torturer), and he makes an off-hand remark about how he really should have paid more attention to his training. Brilliant.
posted by xedrik at 9:15 AM on April 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Thorzdad: "It really off-putting, though, to hear Benjamin's voice on Bob's Burgers. 'Cause, it's still his Archer delivery and voicing."

That's pretty much just H. Jon Benjamin's voice. The only time I've heard him do anything other than just his regular voice was in Home Movies where he did a higher pitched, nasal version for Jason and some other variations for different characters he played. Home Movies also had what I'm going to have to say is the best literary reference of all time: The Franz Kafka Rock Opera.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:16 AM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


You might enjoy Sterling Archer Draper Price.

Oh, god. My sides hurt from laughing so...damned...hard.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:17 AM on April 12, 2012


I guess I shouldn't have stopped to watch the videos…
posted by ob1quixote at 9:18 AM on April 12, 2012


100% Perfect
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm conflicted about Archer. The writing is consistently witty and incredibly dense/fast-paced. The cumulative effect of running gags over the course of a season makes it feel a lot like Arrested Development, or Venture Brothers meets Mad Men.

But damn. The rampant casual sexism that's such a baked-in part of the characters is hard to take. I get it, it's making fun of sexism! Just like it's making fun of hookers! And promiscuous women! And man-whores! It just wears after a while, despite the consistently hilarious meta.
posted by verb at 9:27 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't watched any of "Bob's Burgers" yet. But I have watched "Dr. Katz", "Home Movies", and "Archer". Jon Benjamin does basically the same voice in all three, and still manages to create entirely distinctive personas. I think the guy is a hugely underrated talent.

He's also Carl on Family Guy (flash, probably US only) or this youtube video of a similar scene with someone filming their TV screen.

One weekend I got Benjamin on Bob's Burgers, Family Guy, Aqua Teen, Archer, Venture Bros and Titan Maximum. Yes, 99% of the TV I consume is animated.

I've loved Archer since day 1. I found the season 3 finale two-parter excellent with all the nods to Aliens, Star Wars, 2001, etc. The art direction on Archer is amazing. It may not have the animation chops of a Disney classic, but background detail is incredible. And Jessica Walter as Mallory is sublime.

Also, I re-watched Frisky Dingo for the umpteenth time and love it more than ever. That Ray and Xander Crews are voiced similarly by Reed. And the Pam and Valerie are both voiced by Amber Nash is icying on the cakes. Boosh. It is currently playing on Adult Swim late Sunday nights, on DVD or via your favorite piracy emporium.
posted by birdherder at 9:29 AM on April 12, 2012


I have finished both Season 1 and 2 of Archer and I have to admit that I did not deduce any of this.
posted by RedShrek at 9:32 AM on April 12, 2012


Black astronaut. That's like killing a unicorn.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:35 AM on April 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Bear Claw! RAAAR!
posted by Kimberly at 9:43 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I get it, it's making fun of sexism! Just like it's making fun of hookers! And promiscuous women! And man-whores!

I don't think the show is making fun of any of those things. It just does bawdy, dark humor 'cause it's funny.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:49 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bear Claw! RAAR!

YouTube of Amber Nash (Pam) recording that line.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:50 AM on April 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


in Season 1 (the pilot, even?) Archer is totally slacking off on his torture-resistance training

Not only that, it was the bit in the pilot before the credits. It is literally the first gag the show ever did. I laughed when they revisited it, too.

More like lemon party chairman.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:54 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I get it, it's making fun of sexism! Just like it's making fun of hookers! And promiscuous women! And man-whores!

Not exactly. I mean, they're treating it in a humorous way, the writers go to lengths to show how each character's individual attitude toward sex -- and every single character on the show has a well-defined attitude toward sex -- is a character thing and not a broad stroke on the gender.
posted by griphus at 9:56 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


So how do people that don't get the referential jokes respond to their presence. There must be young folks out there that have never heard of the 6 million dollar man and thus wonder at Barry's constant track suit jokes right? Or is it just like water under a bridge for them...


Well, I enjoyed old Looney Tunes as a kid despite not really understanding the Al Jolson, Marlene Dietrich, and Clark Gable jokes that peppered so many episodes. Or references to "yes we have no bananas" "Moonlight Bay" old radio show gags, etc.

I didn't know the plot of any Wagner operas when I saw "What's Opera, Doc?" but I liked it all the same.
posted by emjaybee at 9:59 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


So how do people that don't get the referential jokes respond to their presence.

Most of them are obvious enough that you get the intent or meaning without needing to know the specific reference. The ones I don't get are easy to Google or simply ignore, which is an interesting counterpoint to Chekhov's Gun.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:06 AM on April 12, 2012


Another thing to love: the season 1 DVD bonus where they just replace Archer with a velociraptor for the entire pilot episode, and all of his dialogue is velociraptor noises.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:06 AM on April 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh man. Velociraptor Archer sounds Ah-Mazing!!!

Also: "Why is this a subpoena?!"
posted by that's candlepin at 10:09 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


THAT IS HOW YOU DO VALUE-ADDED, PEOPLE
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


So how do people that don't get the referential jokes respond to their presence.

Most of them are obvious enough that you get the intent or meaning without needing to know the specific reference. The ones I don't get are easy to Google or simply ignore, which is an interesting counterpoint to Chekhov's Gun.


That is what I do. I actually enjoy it when I don't get the reference, then go look it up and then come back to the joke with an "ahhh, now I get it" moment. Yes, I actually might learn something watching this show.
posted by birdherder at 10:11 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not exactly. I mean, they're treating it in a humorous way, the writers go to lengths to show how each character's individual attitude toward sex -- and every single character on the show has a well-defined attitude toward sex -- is a character thing and not a broad stroke on the gender.

Oh, I get that. But at some point you have to say, "OK, this is a show where all of the male characters treat women horribly, and jokes about whores and women being in the office as sex toys are baked into the premise."

I'm conflicted, because I know a number of people who think that stuff in particular is hilarious, because killing hookers is hilarious. Archer's awesome, but I'm still conflicted.
posted by verb at 10:36 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've seen an episode or two of "Archer". Really clever writing, sharp delivery. I would like to enjoy it. Bu the ultra-limited, stiff animation just keeps giving me flashbacks to working on a choose-your-own-adventure cartoon about a dudebro named Jake trying to score with women back around the turn of the century.
posted by egypturnash at 10:36 AM on April 12, 2012


"I know a number of people who think that stuff in particular is hilarious, because killing hookers is hilarious."

I think it's more meta than that. I.e., "The characters in old spy series frequently killed hookers, and there's a subset of the audience who thinks that's hilarious, and the fact that people still exist who would find that funny is insanely funny. What a bunch of rubes."
posted by aurelian at 10:44 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Who are you, Comrade Questions?" (ok so now I'm one episode in to a re-watch)

Also, re: the weird attitudes towards sex, I feel like it's implied that ISIS, ODIN, etc deliberately use the sexed-up James Bond workplace to attract talent that's a little morally gray (especially ODIN, that's spelled out clearly what with Trexler talking about the Scotch-Guarded couch in Archer's new office). And then you've got Cheryl, who is a whoooole other thing.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:54 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It really off-putting, though, to hear Benjamin's voice on Bob's Burgers Archer. 'Cause, it's still his Archer Ben Katz/Coach McGuirk/Carl the convenience store guy/Bob delivery and voicing.

Seriously, if Archer is what you think of when you hear Jon Benjamin's voice, you live in a sad world with not nearly enough crudely-drawn cartoon slackers in it.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:59 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's more meta than that. I.e., "The characters in old spy series frequently killed hookers, and there's a subset of the audience who thinks that's hilarious, and the fact that people still exist who would find that funny is insanely funny. What a bunch of rubes."
...
Also, re: the weird attitudes towards sex, I feel like it's implied that ISIS, ODIN, etc deliberately use the sexed-up James Bond workplace to attract talent that's a little morally gray (especially ODIN, that's spelled out clearly what with Trexler talking about the Scotch-Guarded couch in Archer's new office). And then you've got Cheryl, who is a whoooole other thing.

Yeah, I get that, and it's what I say when someone asks about it. It's hard to keep saying it eventually, though. "All these sexist jokes are really a way of making fun of how sexist sexists are" is kind of a hard sell, like ironic racism or something. I'm not trying to dump on Archer, since I do like it, but it seems odd that MeFi in particular is untroubled by it.
posted by verb at 11:07 AM on April 12, 2012


But at some point you have to say, "OK, this is a show where all of the male characters treat women horribly, and jokes about whores and women being in the office as sex toys are baked into the premise."

Meh, nobody in that office is anything resembling a moral figure to admire, including the women.

Except Brett. Poor, poor Brett. Maybe Fisto Roboto.

but it seems odd that MeFi in particular is untroubled by it.

Mefi isn't just one person and the show is so outlandishly absurd it's impossible, IMO, to take seriously or be troubled be it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love this show so much! There's an Archer's Danger Zone Soundboard.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:14 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, despite the rampant sexism, it's fairly easy to see that all the women in the office are as strong, or stronger, than the men. They may be a tad unhinged, but they're definitely strong.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:19 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


A friend showed me a few episodes while I was partially looking at the Internet, and every time I looked up, I was disappointed Archer did not look like McGuirk. GET IN THE GAME, BRENDAN

OK, I'll try to watch some more episodes and leave the past behind.
posted by ignignokt at 11:21 AM on April 12, 2012


er, BRENDON.
posted by ignignokt at 11:21 AM on April 12, 2012


This thread confirms what I'd always expected. I must watch Archer! Damn.
posted by Capricorn13 at 11:24 AM on April 12, 2012


When the butler showed up and was named Woodhouse, that's when I knew I liked this show. I figured, anyone willing to give PG Wodehouse, creator of arch-butler Jeeves, that kind of shout-out must be awesome.

As a further Wodehousian bonus, the boy Woodhouse was fond of in school, killed in the War, etc, was named Reggie. Reggie is Jeeves' first name. Coincidence?

Oh, god, palindromic, I so totally owe you... something... unmailable.

You ever end up on a layover in Pittsburgh, low on cash and desperate for a regrettable night of boozing it up - I'm your huckleberry.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:31 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another thing to love: the season 1 DVD bonus where they just replace Archer with a velociraptor for the entire pilot episode, and all of his dialogue is velociraptor noises.

That was actually the first Archer I ever saw. (A confusion on filenames.) I was really really really confused.
posted by kmz at 11:37 AM on April 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Archer's awesome, but I'm still conflicted.

Just a tip: it's just a cartoon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:33 PM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just a the tip
posted by adamdschneider at 12:56 PM on April 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Phrasing!
posted by Babblesort at 1:08 PM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Archer's awesome, but I'm still conflicted.

I've had good results with ether.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:24 PM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just a tip: it's just a cartoon.

Jesus. I want to not be conflicted, but playing sexism bingo is not helping me here. Work with me?
posted by verb at 1:27 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, we get it. You're conflicted. Don't watch it, maybe? Or don't laugh? Just hold it in.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:29 PM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Work with me?

It is totally OK if you don't like the show for its sexism. If you fail to see the humor, that's fine. Watching the show is not mandatory.

I don't get the hubbub about zombies and Dr. Who. But I'm not posting in those threads asking for help trying to understand the appeal.
posted by birdherder at 1:33 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not a bumblebee, is it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 PM on April 12, 2012


Jesus. I want to not be conflicted, but playing sexism bingo is not helping me here. Work with me?

Oh, put it back in the deck.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:37 PM on April 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


One thing that's great about the show is that it goes to greater lengths than most T.V. shows to be realistic, in highly select ways; part of its meta charm, I guess. The accuracy of the guns, Linux running on the server, and close attention to continuity (e.g. if someone gets a black eye early in the show, it stays there for at least a few scenes) all help it to function well as just an action series.

I'm sure that six year old me would enjoy Archer as an awesome straight up spy adventure without realizing it was supposed to be funny - just like I actually did enjoy the '60s 'Batman' T.V. show.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 1:38 PM on April 12, 2012


"Wow, you don't get along with your neighbors anywhere."

Love the little Arrested Development references.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:40 PM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Work with me?

For me, it's that while the characters are often sexist, racist, clueless, and generally clueless, the show itself is structurally set up so that the viewer is never encouraged to believe these are admirable qualities. The show reminds me quite a bit of Randall Graves in Clerks, or the protagonists in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, just a bunch of thoroughly reckless and self-centered ids caroming off of each other like so many vile pool-balls. Everyone's so obsessed with their own pet issues that it ends up being a compellingly balletic dance of dysfunction.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:43 PM on April 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't get the hubbub about zombies and Dr. Who. But I'm not posting in those threads asking for help trying to understand the appeal.

No, I totally get the appeal and I binge-watched two solid seasons of it, laughing my ass off all the way. My disappointment with the article linked in this post is that it barely even scratched the surface of the show's layered humor.
posted by verb at 1:44 PM on April 12, 2012


I love Archer, but this thread makes me a little sad. A few years ago and we'd be talking about The Office as another wacky and hilarious comedy along with Archer/Arrested Development/Frisky Dingo/etc. Not anymore.
posted by that's how you get ants at 2:29 PM on April 12, 2012


that's how you get ants

Fetch the minivan.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:47 PM on April 12, 2012


another wacky and hilarious comedy along with Archer/Arrested Development/Frisky Dingo

Does anybody actually watch 30 Rock? Archer's great, but its not "Tracy Jordan discovers he's descended from Thomas Jefferson by Sally Hemmings, loses his confidence in his black identity, and recovers it by trying to make a Jefferson movie where he plays all the parts"
posted by Chekhovian at 3:05 PM on April 12, 2012


I watched the first couple of seasons of 30 Rock but somewhere along the way I just stopped finding it funny. Except and always for Alec Baldwin.
posted by PapaLobo at 3:08 PM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I dunno... maybe it's just that Archer has so many fewer episodes so far, but 30 Rock just feels so tired these days. Oh look, it's Jenna and Tracy being all weird again. Oh look, Liz is eating bad and being pathetic and doesn't like sex. Oh look, Kenneth is being a weird rube.

I guess you can pare down the Archer characters similarly, but they haven't wore out their welcome yet.
posted by kmz at 3:11 PM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bartleby the Scrivener is a short story by Herman Melville and it really is a hard read, or at the very least a tedious read.

And this is the guy who got a fuckin' job as a writer? is a living, breathing individual who exists in the world? Dear god.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:58 PM on April 12, 2012


Huh! I'd never heard the Dog In The Manger metaphor before. How did that one slip by me?

Same. After Idiot-Face explained it, though, I do dimly remember the story from childhood. There were a lot of odd fables and fairy tales about animals being assholes to one another.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:08 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Best Show on TV at the moment. Hands down. Consistently great acting, writing and gags. The animation (which is not what the show is about [always bugs me when people say they can't watch it because the animations bad]) has actually gotten better as the show has gone on.

Just brilliant. I love Pam. Shes the best female character on TV.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 4:44 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


30 Rock has had a great run, but this season the cracks are really starting to show.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:09 PM on April 12, 2012


I don't totally get the dynamic of reference-as-joke. Where precisely is the laugh? The tension?

I'm not saying this is you, but I've heard people argue that about Archer ("It's just references!") and then you throw on any episode of Family Guy and they absolutely SPLIT THEIR SIDES. I'm totally the opposite - Family Guy actually fills me with contempt and disgust on every level, but Archer is a firm favourite.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:17 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Archer is one of my favourite shows, but I can understand the complaints about its use of references and meta-references. A prime example, in my opinion, is the frequent calling back of the "That's how you get ants" line. Making repeated references to a line that wasn't funny to begin with does not magically make that line funny. But it's a minor quibble as long as the show continues to deliver stuff like this.
posted by Lorin at 5:29 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also I liked that scene where a bunch of them are in the lunch room and Pam's lunch is AN ENTIRE PRESSURE COOKER FULL OF MEAT.

(I should probably admit that if I was a cartoon-person I would have a major thing for Pam.)
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:32 PM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Making repeated references to a line that wasn't funny to begin with does not magically make that line funny.

That was a gimme to Frisky Dingo fans, I think.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:11 PM on April 12, 2012


tumid dahlia The problem with Family Guy is it is all gags, it is like watching Airplane! or Scary Movie: "funny", at times clever, but no point. Archer is all jest, in that regard it is like Shakespeare's comedies: there is plenty of wit, but no edge. What I hunger for are jokes with an edge, and a point. Sincerity that hurts.

That said, wit is great, jests, quips, and repartee, all wonderful, in a person. But there I think is where I was misled in my morning comment. Much of the show is about it being written by one guy. Part of the laugh is a laugh of recognition, recognition that you would enjoy hanging out with the show creator, and by getting the joke, maybe they would enjoy hanging out too. This would certainly explain what you've observed: Anyone watching Family Guy with this mindset would hate the show, you just know its creator is a huge fucking jackass.

It is not much surprise. Wit has always been, in a way, a warm experience, like a wood fire, in time you get used to it, no longer feel the radiance, and to go without feels cold, chilly. Gags, wacky jokes, they are fine in small doses but are, like sugar, ultimately cloying. But a sincere joke, this ideal I am referring to is that sight of pain in the eyes of a stranger that you recognize as your own, between isolated souls some unacknowledged injury shared, and you only know because no one would laugh if they didn't understand.
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:18 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


What I hunger for are jokes with an edge, and a point.

I feel you brother, and take your point. While we're here, may I interest you in a selection of works by one Chris Morris?
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:41 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


...
posted by adamdschneider at 6:46 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It makes me very happy that metafilter loves Archer because none of my friends get it.

Krieger is my favourite. Dropping acid, killing interns, mourning goat boy and genuinely thinking that Archer wanted to implant a rabbit inside a person's head. "It'd suffocate."
posted by slimepuppy at 6:57 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I grew up watching shows like Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures (and, to a lesser extent, Looney Tunes and so on) and those are absolutely rife with references. There's an episode of Animaniacs, for instance, that's a parody of ApocalyPse Now.

I never saw Animaniacs until well into adulthood and I was stunned by the references. It really made me wonder how kids took episodes like the Apocalypse Now parody since there's so much about it that they--in the US anyway--wouldn't be able to put into any kind of context and I doubt their parents would have wanted to explain much of it.

You might enjoy Sterling Archer Draper Price.

Oh, thank you so much. The particular reference that started me to watching Archer (which I think I picked up on Reddit and still don't understand) was in there. And hey, didn't Roger actually say this (or something close to it)?
posted by fuse theorem at 7:01 PM on April 12, 2012


It makes me very happy that metafilter loves Archer because none of my friends get it.
I am happy too, not because my friends don't get it but that this thread has been pure entertainment and education from start to finish.

All over a cartoon. :-)
posted by PapaLobo at 7:57 PM on April 12, 2012


Sometimes I kinda wish the show was about Ray. I really, really like Ray.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:32 PM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ray and Archer's turtleneck exchange, the scene in which I realized Ray had untapped depths of comedic genius.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:52 PM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I know Miss Gillette is voiced by Adam Reed so it may seem vainglorious to include himself in the opening credits twice but dammit the absence of Ray's silhouette is ... annoying.
posted by PapaLobo at 11:23 PM on April 12, 2012


Comic book artist Adam Hughes went as Pam to Dragon*Con, eliciting a real life sploosh from Amber Nash on twitter.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:55 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bartleby the Scrivener is a short story by Herman Melville and it really is a hard read, or at the very least a tedious read.

And this is the guy who got a fuckin' job as a writer? is a living, breathing individual who exists in the world? Dear god.

No, tumid dahlia, this is the cartoon character who got a fuckin' job as a spy in his mother's spy agency.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:32 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Try not to remember that there's sink in her office.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:45 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


er, NO sink...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:54 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, tumid dahlia, this is the cartoon character who got a fuckin' job as a spy in his mother's spy agency.


The words quoted are a riff by the writer of the article on the statement by the TV show character Sterling Archer that Melville is not an easy read.

Thus:

Primary source: I would … prefer not to? Bartleby, the Scrivener? Anybody? Not a big Melville crowd here, huh? He’s not an easy read.

Secondary source: Bartleby the Scrivener is a short story by Herman Melville and it really is a hard read, or at the very least a tedious read.


HTH
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:37 AM on April 13, 2012


Archer's great, but its not "Tracy Jordan discovers he's descended from Thomas Jefferson by Sally Hemmings, loses his confidence in his black identity, and recovers it by trying to make a Jefferson movie where he plays all the parts"

That is exactly why it's great.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:44 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


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