• Worst Cable TV Show of the Week: Archer on FX

    by  • March 12, 2015 • Advertiser Accountability, Profanity, Sex, Violence, Worst Cable Show of the Week • 11 Comments

    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: “Seriously?”

    Archer: “What?”

    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?”

    Archer: “NO!”

    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



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    11 Responses to Worst Cable TV Show of the Week: Archer on FX

    1. ArcherFan
      May 30, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      Are you kidding me, Chris? Archer is an amazingly well-written, clever, and hilarious show! It’s quite obviously not directed at children. I, for one, don’t own a television, so nothing that I watch on-line is at its original broadcast time. But it doesn’t logically follow that just because there are no broadcast times on the Internet, therefore everything on the Internet is directed at or appropriate for children. It also doesn’t mean that everything on-line is necessarily accessible to children: There are parental blocks and – more fundamentally – I wouldn’t give an 8 year old a smartphone.

      You should watch some more episodes and give the show a chance. You’ll absolutely love it and – since I notice you have a Ph.D. from CUA – you’ll be able to appreciate its intelligent humour. You might like season 4, episode 11, “The Papal Chase” which is set in Vatican City. It’s not as funny as some other episodes (and I wished they’d done more theological or Rome/Vatican-specific jokes/puns), but there are a few scenes and lines that will be sure to bring a smile to your face! :)

    2. Haywood Jablome
      December 20, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Best Show Ever

    3. Elias
      August 26, 2016 at 2:57 am

      This blog is completely ridiculous I also have a 3 y/o who watches specific shows on occasion, and I to control what she watches and when she watches it. Sure some day she will come across other content I don’t technically deem appropriate but that’s just the way of life doing things your parents don’t technically agree with until they find out. We can’t completely control what our children do in its entirety for you over protective control freak parents I hope you’re sleeping well because honestly Archer is and should be the least of your worries. Hope you enjoy raising the next generation of bullied kids. “If you love them, set them free”

    4. Angel
      December 2, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      Mate, look. When I was a child, my mother made sure that I restricted access to television and that she kept a supply of videos for me to watch. When the TV went on, she made it clear that I was only to watch something educational, and so I stuck to PBS. She had several movies on VHS, and on special nights we’d sit down and watch one.

      My point here is that no one is FORCING you to pay for television. Buy some DVDs and box sets, monitor how much time your child spends in front of the TV and when, and I guarantee they won’t see stuff like this. Complaining that shows air for adults in the daytime is absurd. I have as much right as anyone else to watch programming I find enjoyable, and I have just as LITTLE right as anyone else to tell someone else when they may watch their shows. There are TV guides online, and several other resources to determine which channels are good for your child at which times. And complaining that your package pays for channels you don’t like is also pretty stupid. I don’t like having Nickelodeon but I don’t complain about it. That’s the nature of cable, you buy a package of channels and inevitably some get thrown into the mix you won’t like. So… don’t use those channels.

      I can offer an example of when monitoring might be in order. There is a popular online game entitled League of Legends, and just today I simply typed in a character’s name and got pornographic images. I of course had disabled safe mode, as I’m an adult. But it was not GOOGLE’S fault that I had not taken proper precautions ahead of time, and if I had taken offense to the imagery I would have done it to myself.

      What you are doing is the equivalent of trying to bubble wrap every knife in the world, instead of keeping your child away from knives until they know how to handle it responsibly. It is completely, one hundred percent doable to keep your child from watching inappropriate shows on the air. If you but monitor what shows come on when, and make sure to orient your child’s schedule around that, you’ll have an easier time of it.

      It’s one thing to discuss something inappropriate on a child’s show. It’s another thing to discuss an adult show that plays on adult channels and be upset that it was not oriented for children. And if your best argument is that “They put it online where the kids can see!!” then you’re past the point of ridicule. What is your alternative? They DON’T put it online? How is that NOT supposed to read as censorship? And if you don’t want your kid seeing this stuff online, there are so many parental protection programs and apps out there that I can’t even begin to list them.

      Yes, companies do put the shows up to be watched on the Internet. That’s what shows are for. And you know what parents are for? To guide their children and help them avoid seeing stuff they shouldn’t.

      Finally, it’s a good rule of thumb that if your child isn’t old enough to know which content they should see, they shouldn’t be left alone with a remote. Or a computer. Or a smartphone. Get your kid a LeapPad or something.

    5. Peter
      September 27, 2015 at 1:31 am

      So….If its aimed at children via the internet, we should what? censor the internet? This isn’t china. Do you have any idea how much porn is just a click away that your kids probably already watch? Maybe you should be be a better parent and educate your children on these kind of shows instead of trying to seal them in a little box and pray the world wont get in. The information age is a VERY different place and we’re all trying to hold on while our children dive right in. You cant stop it (unless you want to go Amish) so try talking to your children and TEACH them YOUR values instead of screaming at the world for not catering to bigotry.
      P.S.- I honestly cant think of any shows or advertising on Comedy Central, FX, or FXX that have led me to believe their programing is “Family Friendly” :D

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        September 30, 2015 at 3:52 pm


        You insist on shrieking “CENSORSHIP!” when in fact, all the PTC wants is 1) a little bit of programming, on the public airwaves the American people own, that’s appropriate for families, instead of nearly everything being filled with dangerous content; and 2) not to be forced to pay for adult content, when we’re just trying to find something our kids can watch.

        You sneer at “not catering to bigotry,” but apparently you’re perfectly happy to allow the anti-family bigots who control media to program for everyone. You don’t want me forcing my beliefs on you? Fair enough. So why is it okay for Ryan Murphy and Kurt Sutter to force THEIR beliefs into my home — force me to PAY for it, even — when I’m just trying to get programming safe for my kids?

        And by the way: you love to say “be a better parent.” I’m trying to improve the world and create a safer, saner environment for my childen. In other words, by trying to protect all children from content scientifically proven to be harmful to them, I AM being a better parent. That’s what good parents do: try to make a better world for their children.

        • Sanity
          December 4, 2016 at 4:03 pm

          You aren’t making the world better for anybody, including your children. Most TV set ups nowadays allow for parental controls, as do most if not all computers. If you are so concerned about your children seeing things that you consider inappropriate, then use these controls.

          But you need to understand that in this day and age, your children already likely know more about everything you are concerned about than you could ever imagine. A very large percentage of kids already know about sex before their sex ed classes. Some already watch porn. That’s reality. Trying to push the outside world away in all honesty just makes things worse, because now you’ve got kids that are somewhat confused by whisperings about the real world while mommy and daddy are still talking about storks. If you want to help your children out, and want to make their lives better, talk to them. Explain reality to them. Don’t hide them from everything. Ease them into the world and explain your viewpoints to them. They can take it, and they’ll be better off with a parent that is willing to prepare them for the world than a parent that wants to wrap a dark tapestry over their eyes while taking that old child’s belief “if you can’t see it, it’s not there” to heart.

          And nobody is forcing you to buy cable, you’re doing that. If you really hate what’s in your cable bundle, cancel it. You’ll save money, too. Or better yet, don’t watch those shows. With the parental controls your TV likely has, you can even block those channels. Do that. Turn the dial. Nobody is forcing you to watch Archer. Nobody has a gun to your head. If you hate Archer and are watching it anyways, you’re inflicting that upon yourself. You’re sitting down and watching something you don’t like just so that you can be mad about it. Congratulations. You actually deserve no sympathy whatsoever. You are like the parent that listened to George Carlin’s ‘Seven Dirty Words’ routine on the radio with their kid and forced the radio to censor its content instead of twisting the dial a fraction of a degree. Sure, you aren’t asking that these people not be allowed to make this stuff, but you are asking that a whole ton of restrictions be put in place so that it’s extremely difficult for anybody to see it, which is about as bad. You’re still trying to stifle them.

          Also, animation isn’t just for kids. Ever heard of Watership Down? The Plague Dogs? Akira? There has been adult-oriented animation for decades, and those aren’t the oldest examples… not by far. Archer in no way presents itself as kid friendly, and just being accessible isn’t the same thing as marketing itself for kids. If a kid gets on a computer, they can claim they are 18 and watch people screw in numerous inventive positions, some of which one would have to be a very flexible gymnast to get into, no doubt. Does that mean that is also targeted towards kids? Oh sure, it has that 18 and over warning, but Archer is TV-MA. By your logic, triple-X sites are also aimed at children.

          As long as there is television, there will be TV shows that you won’t like. Nobody likes everything that is on TV. There is a lot of trash there. In fact, there is a shortage of quality programming right now. But I have no right to demand that Two Broke Girls or whatever get pulled off the air just because I don’t like it and think I shouldn’t have to pay for the privilege to maybe watch it. TV/Cable isn’t some tailor made suit that is built to specifically fit you. It’s a big grimy blanket with holes and love stains that millions of other people are also trying to get comfortable under. Your job is to find a nice clean spot you and your kids can snuggle up under. Your job isn’t to light the whole thing on fire, tell everybody to leave, and claim all the nice clean unsinged pieces for yourself while also claiming righteousness and having your brand of “morality” made the law of the land while everybody shivers in the ashes of what worked for them. Nobody’s attacking your family, you’re just too lazy to defend it.

    6. Donnie's Daddy
      March 24, 2015 at 7:32 am

      You should also be aware that Comedy Central is now airing those same Archer episodes in syndication at various times of the day and evening allowing kids and teens access to full or partial nudity and vulgar cuss words which are uncensored. Shame.. Shame… to FX, FXX and Comedy Central.

      • Bill Johnson
        September 15, 2017 at 12:32 am

        This show is fun for all ages. Best show of the years

    7. Unak78
      March 21, 2015 at 2:13 am

      How is this show in any way aimed at children? Are you kidding me?

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        March 27, 2015 at 8:15 am

        Re-read paragraphs 3 and 4.

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