Review: Archer - Training Day
by Annie Wu, posted Jan 15th 2010 3:02PM
(S01E02) FX, those bunch of sneaky so-and-sos. Their new hot piece of animated action was set to premiere Thursday night, but instead of airing the "Mole Hunt" episode that quietly previewed after It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia a few months ago, they pulled a fast one and showed an all-new episode first. I guess "Training Day" is to be considered the proper series premiere at this point? Even if it's really the second episode? Question mark?
If you'd rather hang on and revisit "Mole Hunt," our own Jonathan Toomey took care of that. Here, we're going to take a look at "Training Day."
In an attempt to keep Lana away from Archer, Malory decides to make Cyril man up and train to be a deadly field agent, under Archer's tutelage. Around this little adventure, we also got a lot of fat jokes, a deeper look into how high-maintenance/scary of a girlfriend Lana can be ("Hey, Jane. Y'gettin' a tampon?"), and Malory's zucchini eyes.
As I had mentioned in my Early Look for Archer, the best part of the show is definitely the writing. "Training Day" was a prime example of how ridiculously rapid-fire the conversations can get. Archer's oddly specific "hypothetical" situation to explain his underwear gun was particularly great ("Since when does it take three huge, surly Jamaican guys to deliver one bottle of champagne!?"). Actually, all of the parts between Archer and Cyril were very enjoyable, mainly because we get to hear H. Jon Benjamin yell at Chris Parnell for twenty minutes for, like, no reason.
I had also forgotten how much I love Jessica Walter's delivery, as it's been a while since I've watched any Arrested Development. She wins this episode (yes, that can happen) for her delivery of lines like, "Immigrants! That's how they do, y'know. Just drive around, listening to raps and shooting all the jobs" and this conversation:
Malory: I know you saw how she looked at Sterling last night.
Cyril: I think she was just shaken up --
Malory: Stirred up, Cyril. In the loins.
Cyril: You think her loins were stirring?
Malory: If not frothing!
Also, despite some of the Flash animation awkwardness, there are a lot of well-played, almost cinematic moments, which I didn't really realize until I saw this episode. They're not really details all viewers would immediately notice but little things like that place the show somewhere above and beyond a typical cartoon. I can imagine why this fits in better on FX and not a typical television home for an animated series. Archer is more like an action-comedy that takes advantage of the freedom provided by an animated world, rather than a cartoon that just happens to be about spies and dick jokes.
Also, also, I love that Milton Berle references still totally resonate.
This episode happened to be a pretty fair sampling of what a new viewer can expect from Archer's next few episodes, and hopefully it quickly attracts a loyal crowd. Only ten episodes have been ordered, including the two that aired on Thursday, so we'll see how that goes.