h jon benjamin
In the current comedy constellation, the wonderful 'Archer' (10PM ET Thursday, FX) occupies its own little niche, one that didn't really exist until the show invented it.
Sure, there have been spy parodies before, but none this clever, surreal or obsessed with timing and wordplay.
'Archer's' willingness to be both smutty and smart means it fits right in with FX's burgeoning comedy brand, but the fact that 'Archer' is animated allows the show to go bigger with its characters and plots. There's bloodshed and international mayhem, sure, but it's easy to focus on the comedic aspect of any situation when the characters are not only shooting bad guys but also complaining about their expense accounts.
(S01E10) Whoa, whoa, whoa. Did 'Archer' just get sentimental on us for a split second? It was an almost stealthy move. Sure, the season finale wrapped up with Mallory calling her son an ass but it was... sweet. Considering the whole super-spy nature of the show, the rest of the finale wasn't very action-packed. Instead, the focus remained on Archer and Mallory's relationship and the sick, twisted world of ISIS office romances. I think the picture accompanying this post pretty much sums that part up.
Overall, though, this was one of my favorite episodes from the series so far, with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. And I'm sure you didn't realize we needed a new "Schwing!" but let's pretend that's what "Sploosh" (with the little hand motion) is going to be.
(S01E09) Just one more episode to go before 'Archer' wraps up its ten-episode run. It will be interesting to see if FX brings it back for another season. The show's super-spy universe really lends itself to further exploration, but the characters' tangled web of sexual tension and missing fathers may not hold up for another ten episodes. It's a small cast of main characters, and the back-and-forth nature can only last so long. [Edit: 'Archer' has been renewed. I knew that. I was totally just testing you guys. Totally.]
Maybe some new problems will be introduced in the finale, leaving us begging for more. Or maybe everyone will die in a fiery, sexy explosion. Y'never know.
(S01E07) In this kind of, sort of action-packed episode of 'Archer,' the screwed-up relationships between characters really picked up speed. Drama is always heightened when you're stuck with your ex and your unfaithful current beau in a ticking time bomb of a blimp -- er, rigid airship.
It will be interesting to see how much longer they can go on without addressing Cyril's affair with Cheryl/Carol/what's-her-face. The show is only set to run for ten episodes, so it's not unimaginable that they could leave the big reveal for the final episode. And we can assume it will be big because we all saw what Lana did even when Archer and Cyril were just training together.
(S01E06) This week's episode involved yet another super-spy mission and drugs and chocolate fountains, but the main focus was really the always-hot drama bubbling under the surface amongst the employees of ISIS.
So, Lana's off to take on another mission, this time with the extra-hairy arms dealer, Skorpio. Malory has also scampered away under some business-y business pretenses but she's really hanging out with her KGB lover, Nikolai, on his Chum Guzzler. That leaves Cyril and the rest of the ISIS crew to hang around in the office and not do work. Of course, office gossip ensues and we're left knowing a little too much about certain characters.
(S01E05) Y'know the way you've been frantically scribbling in your diary for the past few years about how badly you want to see Thomas Lennon and Ron Perlman voice animated characters together? Yeah. I bet you thought you would keep writing forever. But 'Archer' sensed the secret wish in your tear-stained pages and made it a reality.
This episode wasn't quite as rapid-fire funny as some of the previous ones but it was still fantastic. It's clear that the writers are having a lot of fun with the characters, even the ones that pop up for only one mission.
(S01E04) Ah, yes. Yet another fine episode of Archer. This show has been steadily funny, which is good. I'm still waiting for it to do something outrageous and surprise us with a particularly extra-hilarious or an especially terrible episode, but I don't mind watching something that I can rely on for decent laughs, even if it doesn't leave me rolling on the floor.
(S01E03) Considering Archer's previous episodes, the title "Diversity Hire" should have allowed you plenty of time to prepare yourself for lots of groan-worthy racial jokes. And yeah, that was definitely what we got. Overall, it was a pretty solid episode; the thirty minutes really went by in a blur because those jokes came rapid-fire.
This week, the ISIS lost yet another non-white agent and needed to make a diversity hire to get some sweet tax action (or not get tax action, I guess). Enter, Conway Stern, a black Jewish agent who is so nice and efficient, it is borderline suspicious.
(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."
There is only one really bad thing about Archer, and that's the fact it's going to make my Thursday viewing line-up very, very full. Way to not anticipate my needs, FX. Geez.
I just sampled five episodes of FX's new animated offering, including the pilot that quietly aired a few months ago (reviewed by Jonathan Toomey here), and I already love it. There are a lot of appealing things about Archer: It's 60s-style super-spy adventures plus hilarious writing that maintains a great pace for the entire half-hour. Oh, and puns. Lots of puns.
(S04E07) Wow. And wow again. Not only did we actually get closure on a few issues that had the potential to drag on forever (Archie and Betty/Veronica style), but we got one the best episodes of the season. I carefully considered whether my love for the Order of the Triad was making me a bit biased, but I honestly think this episode was a perfect example of advancing characters without sacrificing the comedy that made us fall in love with The Venture Bros. in the first place.
Also, they introduced the hottest VB lady yet, and I dare anyone to try and convince me otherwise.
Martin is a talented comedian whose act is built around offbeat one-liners (in the tradition of Steven Wright and, later, Mitch Hedberg). But he's also an artist and musician, incorporating his drawings (through and easel onstage) and songwriting into his stage act. Important Things is a great extension of that, allowing Martin to animate some of his drawings or pay attention to details that couldn't be seen onstage (like a view of the letter "R" from behind that shows its tiny "R" butt), in addition to musical pieces and sketch comedy.
The biggest compliment I can pay to comedian Eugene Mirman is that he's my favorite comedian now that Mitch Hedberg is dead. That may seem like a back-handed compliment, but there's nothing wrong with second place, especially when you're first.
Anyway, a post on CC Insider hepped me to Eugene's new Web series on SuperDeluxe.com called "Space Talk from Dimension Eugene." If you've never experienced the indescribable comedy of Eugene Mirman, watching his videos should help you not understand him just a little bit better. If you have a penchant for smart and weird (or as I call it, "smeirdt") comedy, Eugene has exactly what you need. Also, many of these videos can be found on his Web site, and on YouTube. Really, if you don't watch at least one of them, you're just being lazy.
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