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Worst Cable Content

Archer on FX

Release Date: 1/1/1900


To fans of animation and hard-core spy fantasy buffs FX s Archer (Thursdays 10:00 p.m. ET) is a tremendous disappointment. The program s art style is innovative and achieves a look similar to (if less detailed than) classic comic strips like Steve Roper and Mike Nomad. The opening title sequence in particular is a masterpiece of design. And the program s concept a team of agents including the Bond-ish Archer and gung ho Lara go on espionage missions for the secret organization ISIS is sufficiently open-ended to allow for action characterization romance and clever plotting. Had these aspects been handled seriously Archer could easily have become the centerpiece of the Cartoon Network s line-up or even on a broadcast network. With the unparalleled success in prime time of humorous cartoons like The Simpsons cartoons are no longer considered kid stuff clearly the time is ripe for a straightforward drama using animation. Unfortunately the creators of Archer failed this last crucial test of farsightedness ambition and nerve and chose to follow Seth MacFarlane s wellblazed and tiresome trail instead. As a result Archer s high-octane setup is reduced to being nothing more than an excuse for non-stop profanity and sniggering adolescent sex jokes which is why the January 26th episode deserves the title of Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

Brief plot recap: with ISIS the victim of budget cuts the agency s director (and Archer s mother) Malory tasks Archer Lara and former desk-bound accountant Cyril to abduct a South American drug dealer then hand him over to the DEA for the reward. While Archer and Lara are captured Cyril poses as the drug lord s ally. Ultimately the drug kingpin decides to hunt Archer and Lara leading to a retread of the venerable story The Most Dangerous Game. Meanwhile ISIS scientist Krieger uses the announced upcoming drug tests to test his own drug on the office staff.

Well and good; such a plot if unremarkable is serviceable for a spy program. It is what Archer does with such a plot that is despicable. In the field Archer and Lara endlessly heckle one another with expressions like dumbass and dickhead and at one point Lara admonishes Archer and Cyril to shut your dickholes. Encountering a land mine Lara warns Cyril that is blasts steel pellets at dick level or ass level which would also take off your head. And after their capture Lara remarks that since they are in danger of death no doubt Archer will proposition her for sex as he always does. Archer replies that he is not in the mood but if you want I can watch you masturbate. Go ahead start!

Meanwhile back at the base the staff is hallucinating under Krieger s drug. Cheryl tries Krieger s drink and remarks It tastes even worse than it smells to which the obese Pam replies If I had a nickel for every time I heard that Gay agent Ray hallucinates dancing in his underwear surrounded by similarly-clad men and Pam imagines she is melting into a pile of goo following which she rips a toilet out of the wall and runs off; Krieger draws a pistol and pursues her with intent to shoot her. Meanwhile Cheryl graphically vomits into a toilet strips off her clothes and ends the episode lying naked in a puddle of her own vomit while in a drug-induced haze.

Though they were definitely not family-friendly an argument can be made that when cartoons like South Park or Family Guy first premiered they were edgy and pushing the boundaries of humor. But Archer has no such excuse. A decade later the pubescent smut and graphic language of such programs is both offensive and tiresome. Bad enough that fans of animated action-fantasy fare have been deprived of what could have been a top-notch program but in addition every cable and satellite subscriber in America is being forced to subsidize Archer s sleazy sick humor.

For further lowering the bar of cable programming FX s Archer is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.