“Archer” came out swinging onto the adult animated comedy scene six years ago. At its best, the Emmy-winning show can give “South Park” and “The Simpsons” a run for their money. Season Seven premieres at the end of March. The show’s appeal is rooted in a time-tested bag of original tricks.
Sterling Mallory Archer is a brilliant character. His clash of brains and juvenility embody the show’s smart blue comedy aesthetic. Voice actor H. Jon Benjamin’s comic timing is impeccable, and he skillfully fleshes out an original superspy character.
Jessica Walter is absolutely in her element as Archer’s Hitchcockan mother Mallory (yes, her first name is his middle name). Walter is best known as Lucille Bluth on “Arrested Development.” Mallory and Lucille are more or less the same character, but she works too well in both cases to criticize anyone for it.
All of the voice actors on the show are excellent, as is the absolutely original cast of characters. About half of them seem to be angry all the time. The comedic vibe of the show is much more manic than it is relaxing.
A favorite game of the writers is to toss out an obscure reference, leave a heavy pause and then have the character who originally made it explain said reference in exasperated detail. It sums up the show’s humor style pretty well; they’re ready to show off how smart they are while mocking themselves for it.
The show has aged well. They’ve built up their own mythology with style and humor. Each individual episode stands alone, but there is some actual continuity and development as the series advances. Later episodes follow through on earlier plots left untied and continuously redefine the relationships between the characters.
Another charming oddity is how anachronistic the show is. The characters make cell phone calls between bouts of fighting the KGB.
“Archer” is a star among Adult Swim’s lineup. The creators have a lot of leeway and room to keep growing. I’m curious to see where it goes.
Christopher McDermott is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.