For graphic sexual content almost unbelievable in a cartoon, the March 5th episode of FX’s Archer (10:00 p.m. ET) is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
Since the advent of Family Guy on broadcast TV and South Park on cable, animation on television has gone from being family-friendly and aimed at children to being almost exclusively a home for graphic sex and violence…while largely still being aimed at children.
FX (and now, FXX)’s cartoon Archer is a perfect example of this trend. Sporting quality animation and a clever concept which would’ve made for a delightful “straight” spy or adventure drama alá the classic ‘60s series Jonny Quest, sadly the show’s creators instead chose to fill the program with ultra-raunchy “humor” and gore.
Some might protest that Archer isn’t aimed at children – it’s rated TV-MA, and airs at 10 p.m. However, FX and its spin-offs are all too clearly aware of the presence of children and teens online, and in fact have aimed their (even more explicit) ADHD programming at kids solely through the internet. In this day and age, where nearly every kid has a smartphone, or at least access to the internet at school or the library, Archer is easily available to kids.
Even beyond that is the fact that every cable subscriber, even if they’ve never heard of Archer, is forced to support it through their monthly cable subscription. (In fact, in one of the greatest scams ever, FX unilaterally announced it was splitting into three networks – FX, FXX, and FX Movies – and from then on, every cable subscriber was forced to pay for THREE networks, where before they’d only been paying for one. Thus, FX instantly TRIPLED its monthly income, while delivering no more original content than it had previously.)
What is so exasperating and truly insulting about this situation is the explicit nature of what subscribers are forced to pay for. For example, on the episode of Archer in question, subscribers (even those who didn’t watch) were funding the following:
Sterling Archer and his fellow spies are ordered to incapacitate the prince of the Middle-Eastern nation of Durhan, so the CIA can tap his communications. At the briefing, a picture of the prince’s mother, the queen is shown. A sound of stretching fabric is heard.
Lana: “I just HEARD you get hard!”
At the prince’s home, Archer’s ex Lana complains about the “ridiculous” French maids outfits the plan requires her to wear. Her overweight associate Pam disagrees.
Pam: “I think these uniforms are awesome. Here, lemme get some pix of ya.”
Lana: “To masturbate to?”
Pam (snorts) “Oh, please.” (Pause, then plaintively): “Please?”
Elsewhere, Archer yells at fellow spies Cyril and Ray.
Cyril: “What the heck got into him?”
Ray: “More like, what he wants to get into. Which is obviously the queen’s vagina. Or wherever else. Although she didn’t look like a back door-thy.”
Cyril: “Well, we’ll just see about that. Uh. The part about Archer having sex with the queen. Not the part about the queen being into anal sex. Who knows?”
Later, the queen slaps the disguised Pam, then walks off.
Pam: “What a hate-slapping bitch.”
Archer: “I know. I’ve gotta have sex with her!”
Pam: “So, you’re gonna bang the queen just to make Lana jealous?”
Archer: “No. That’ll just be icing on what I assume will be an extremely moist cake. Because I’ve had sex with a baroness, a marchioness, a vicountess, the two princess sisters, a duchess…”
Pam: “Your mom’s dog?”
Pam: “The wife of a duke?”
Archer: “Yes. But I’ve never had sex with a queen. It would be my greatest masterpiece, my…”
Pam: “Moaning Lisa?”
Archer: “Damn it! I was going to say that.”
Meanwhile, Cyril tells Lana what Archer said about the queen.
Cyril: “I just figured you’d want to know.”
Lana: “No, you didn’t. You just figured it would make me jealous. But spoiler alert! I don’t give a sh*t who Archer bangs.”
Cyril: “Well, yeah, but if you did, and you wanted to make Archer jealous…”
Lana: “Then I’d go break my p*ssy off on that hot little prince’s merguez. Which, come to think of it, would be what my vagina refers to as a win-win.”
Cyril: “Wait a minute –“
Lana: “Love to, can’t. Got a p*ssy to break.”
Cyril: “Well, that backfired.”
After incapacitating the guards with “the world’s most powerful laxative spray” (scenes of all the guards squatting on toilets grunting and farting follow), Lana attempts to seduce the prince. The whole plan falls to pieces – but not before the viewer hears more foul-mouthed sex dialogue, sees Ray with his arm torn off and spouting blood, and Archer and Lana nude having graphic intercourse in a bathroom, as armed security guards search the house for them.
Archer: “It’s like the danger makes it hotter!”
Lana: “That, and your **ck!”
Sadly, such content has become de rigueur for animated television in our day. More interesting is the question: who actually watches this program? The prime sponsor – which even receives a special shout-out at the show’s first commercial break – is Just for Men’s Fast & Easy hair coloring, “For a natural, gray-free look.” One has to wonder: are gray-haired, middle-aged men really Archer’s key demographic? Are these men who grew up watching too many James Bond movies, and now have semi-pornographic secret agent fantasies? (Come to think of it, that may describe the show’s creators even better.)
But while some tiny audience of middle-aged geeks may be getting their jollies from this show, there is no reason why every cable subscriber should have to fund it. For forcing everyone to pay for sexually explicit cartoons, FX’s Archer is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
Combe Incorporated (Just For Men) sponsored this program. To contact them with your concerns, click here