Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Archer" Season One (2009) [FX]

"Archer" Season One (2009) [FX]
Starring H. Jon Benjamin, Chris Parnell and Aisha Tyler
Created by Adam Reed and Matt Thompson

Oh, my.  "Archer" is an animated spy comedy that focuses far, far more on the comedy aspect.  The character types are about as bland as they come, but the characters themselves are absolutely absurd.  H. Jon Benjamin stars as the voice of Sterling Archer, an agent with international spy agency ISIS.  His mother Malory (Jessica Walter) runs the agency with a drunken iron fist.  His ex, Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) is the agency's best agent, and dating milquetoast analyst Cyril (Chris Parnell).  Along with office drones like sexual deviant Carol (Judy Greer), and frustrated gossip Pam (Amber Nash) and all kinds of ludicrous other side characters, the show careens along at a breakneck pace.

There isn't a lot of action in the show; the comedy comes mostly from the cast's excellent, energetic delivery of all the absurd dialogue.  I don't know what this show's writers are smoking when they break these stories, but it must be good and cost a lot of money.  Every conversation in this show is offensively ridiculous. 

It's hard to describe, or even to review, because of this fact.  But the situations on "Archer" are just absolutely freaking hilarious.  In one episode, Archer boards a helium-filled zeppelin and immediately begins to flip out at people who smoke, or mis-speaks the names of nearly every room as the "Led Zeppelin suite."  In another, the KGB implants a microchip in his brain to force him to assassinate his mother, but it's unfortunately susceptible to interference from cell phones.  Of course, this means that because his mother calls him 80 times a day, Archer is thrown into a near constant state of raving, painful lunacy.  In that same episode, displaying his usual infantile tendencies, he demands his mother make him a grilled cheese, and then throws it away because "THIS IS SWISS!" 

Even with the low-rent vector animation, "Archer" is a fine show.  The comedy is fast, furious and utterly hilarious.  The absurd characters, storylines and dialogue are as inventive as they are offensive.  There are only ten episodes in this first season, which aired on the FX cable network.  I can't wait for a second season.