• Archer Creator Admits: “It’s Cartoon Porn”

    by  • April 3, 2015 • Cable Choice, Worst Cable Show of the Week • 41 Comments

    The creator of FX’s animated spy series Archer has admitted the obvious: the cartoon is pornographic. And every cable and satellite subscriber in America is paying for it.

    Now in its sixth season, basic cable network FX’s animated program Archer is a crass conglomeration of raunchy sex, ultra-graphic gore, and non-stop profanity. The PTC has repeatedly condemned the program as the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week for its explicit content. (See here, here, here, and here.)

    Until recently, the show’s creators have defended the program’s excesses with that most tired, unconvincing, and inaccurate claim – that it is “satire.” But true satire actually, well, satirizes something, usually in an attempt to make a social or political point. Archer doesn’t. Yes, it imitates James Bond movies and other spy thrillers in its basic set-up; but it doesn’t use this setting to advance an agenda or make a deeper point. It just shows people copulating, spewing f-bombs, and blowing each others’ heads off.

    Now, however, even the show’s creator has stripped away the pretense of “satire,” and has openly admitted the obvious: Archer is pornography, plain and simple. A recent episode ended with lead characters Archer and Lana openly copulating animal-style in the nude. Asked about this scene by The Daily Beast, Archer creator Matt Thompson opined:

    archerQuote1Us getting away with the amount of sex we got away with in that episode where Archer is having sex with Lana from behind, and Lana’s breasts are jiggling all over, was great. I read a comment online that said, “OK, now Archer is basically cartoon porn,” and I thought, “Yeah! It’s cartoon porn! F**k off! It’s great!” I hope it’s cartoon porn. If you can get away with it, do it.

    This attitude is all too prevalent among creators of cable TV today. “If you can get away with it, do it,” in spite of the fact that every program on basic cable – pornographic or not – is forcibly supported by millions of Americans, whether they want it or not, watch it or not…even if they find it offensive. The only alternative such Americans have is to cancel their cable or satellite subscriptions completely. This is an unfair alternative for those who want to receive Nickelodeon or Disney Channel for their children (or even TBN or EWTN for themselves), but are forced through the entertainment industry’s extortionate bundling schemes to support open pornography, just because Matt Thompson thinks he can “get away with it.”

    Matt Thompson is no doubt thrilled to be “getting away with” putting his twisted sex fantasies on TV; and his program’s tiny audience is likely equally gratified. But there is no reason why every American with pay-TV should be forced to support what the creator himself says is pornography.

    To learn about PTC’s Cable Choice Campaign, click here.

     

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    About

    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.

    41 Responses to Archer Creator Admits: “It’s Cartoon Porn”

    1. June 5, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      I’m a little confused about something; at one point the article states, “The only alternative such Americans have is to cancel their cable or satellite subscriptions completely. This is an unfair alternative for those who want to receive Nickelodeon or Disney Channel for their children,” yet I thought most modern televisions have built-in parental controls that allow parents to block specific programs and channels. Is this method flawed, and if so, has the Parents Television Council brought this up with any of the leading television manufacturers?

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        June 8, 2015 at 10:06 am

        Eddie,

        Yes, the current V-Chip-based “parental control” system is very definitely flawed — in fact, it’s totally unreliable. We haven’t approached TV manufacturers, because it’s not the technology that’s at fault. That works fine, although programming your “parental controls” is usually more difficult and complex than it would need to be.

        The problem is, whether a program is blocked or not depends on the TV content rating the show has been given (TV-MA L, TV-14 DLSV, TV-PG V, and so forth). First of all, parents don’t really understand the TV ratings which, it often seems, the entertainment industry has gone out of its way to make as confusing as possible. (Why they didn’t adopt the same ratings as the movie industry, which were already familiar to Americans, is a great question.)

        But the most important reason the V-Chip doesn’t work is that the ratings are inaccurate. Adult content is often rated TV-14 or even TV-PG. Whose fault is this? The people who assign ratings to the TV shows. And who are those people? THE TV NETWORKS THEMSELVES.

        Yes, you heard that right. The same people who make the show, rate the show. Obviously, they have an incentive to rate it incorrectly! If they give a show that ought to be for adults only a rating that lets kids watch, they’ll get more viewers. Moreover, they’ll get more YOUNGER viewers, which are more attractive to advertisers. The result? The network will get a larger number of viewers, which they can then use to demand that advertisers pay more for showing their commercials.

        But it gets even worse. If you object to the way a TV show is rated, what can you do? You can complain to the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, which has oversight responsibilities for the TV ratings system. And who sits on this board? THE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO RATE THE SHOWS FOR THE NETWORKS! So the networks make the shows; rate the shows; and oversee the ratings process. This is like having the presidents of Exxon and British Petroleum run the Environmental Protection Agency.

        For more information documenting the flaws in the TV ratings system, click here.

    2. brandon
      May 4, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      Hollywood always seems to confuse Satire with Parody. Which there is nothing wrong with Parody it can be very good depending on the writing. One example of the confusion is Family Guy. They call it a satire when it really isn’t. It can be satirical sometimes but mostly it’s just parody. Satire has the intent of creating change by bringing attention to an issue. Parody has the intent of making fun of something that is usually taken seriously. Now sometimes the two can be very close to where the deciding point is the author’s intent. The Family Guy Road to the North Pole is only time I can think of where Family Guy was doing true satire and doing it well. With Archer people say “It’s satirizing spy films.” OK, what about spy films is it satirizing? What is the the issue with spy films it wants pointed out?

      Really the best example of animated satire is South Park. Every episode is taking some kind of issue and exaggerating it with the hopes of drawing peoples attention to it. For the most part it does that really well and sometimes it doesn’t. One great example is the episode, “Over Logging” it was satirizing societies over dependence on internet. When there is an internet shortage the world turns into the “Grapes of Wrath.” The South Park Movie was a satire of organizations like the PTC. Parents get so aggressive about protecting there children from inappropriate media that they even start a war with Canada to do it. So that is the true difference between Satire and Parody and still to this day Hollywood can have trouble telling the two apart.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        May 6, 2015 at 9:08 am

        Brandon,

        A sharp analysis and, I think, right on the money. The difference between “parody” and “satire” can sometimes be a fine one; but more often, those in Hollywood claim they’re “satirizing” something when really, they’re just indulging in “bad-boy” behavior with no larger point.

        The classic examples are Seth MacFarlane’s various shows: Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show, and the (thankfully) short-lived live-action series Dads. In each case, MacFarlane claimed that he was using racist dialogue as satire, just as All in the Family did. But, of course, he wasn’t. All in the Family‘s creator Norman Lear clearly had an agenda to change society by mocking bigotry. By contrast, the characters on MacFarlane’s programs also indulge in bigotry, but there is no larger perspective or purpose to it, other than to shock viewers.

        (It’s not exactly germane to this discussion, but it’s also notable that Lear’s characters were far more nuanced than MacFarlane’s. Archie Bunker may have been an ignorant bigot, but he was also a hard-working man who loved his family and at least tried to do what was right. MacFarlane’s “characters” are barely characters at all; most are merely mouthpieces for “jokes” about race, sex, and child molestation.)

        You’re also dead on about South Park. Nearly every episode has some satirical content; many have a strong point to make about society, and use genuine satire in making it. This is not to say that South Park is a paragon of clean, family-friendly humor; it DEFINITELY is not! Parents would to well to keep their children as far away from South Park as possible, as often the content crosses into the downright perverted and grotesque (and this is why the PTC has criticized the show in the past). But there is no denying that, disgusting as the show’s content can be, there IS a strong satirical component to it — and often, some very sharp and clever writing, as well.

        Thank you for your comment.

    3. Ollie Beverly
      April 13, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      I for one have never watched this show, but I am so sick and tired of TV now a days because of all the crap that people think is entertainment. It is no wonder our children no longer have any morals. Something needs to be done to control TV again and stop all this.

      • Brad Douglas
        April 14, 2015 at 11:04 am

        It would take extremely drastic action by the federal government to get TV, movies, and the rest of the entertainment industry under control. At this point, our only recourse is to scrap those industries altogether and start overa again from scratch. Close the studios, sentence all the writers, producers, directors, actors, etc, to long prison sentences, then disbar from ever working in media or entertainment again,

        Better yet, let’s just get rid of these industries altogether. We don’t need them. America survived for 120 years without a film or recorded music industry, 170 years without a TV industry, and 200 years without an internet industry. We could do it again.

        • Carol
          April 15, 2015 at 10:24 am

          But that would be robbing the world of creativity and imagination. Some of the worlds most beautiful artistic expressions are made through film. “8 1/2 (1963)” “A Trip to the Moon (1902).” The Film industry is not just raunchy comedies and violent horror films. There are truly artistic feats that have come from motion pictures. Without that industry I think the world would be robbed of a truly beautiful artistic medium.

          You should watch the short films by Georges Méliès and other shorts of the late 1800s and early 1900s. They truly show the beauty and artistic majesty that motion pictures can bring.

          • moax429
            April 19, 2015 at 11:52 am

            Well, yes and no to both comments.

            Yes, Carol, it *would* be a shame if those portions of the entertainment industry didn’t exist anymore, not only for those examples you mentioned, but also because of the power of television to *educate* and *inform,* if it were used *properly* (e.g. in the case of the former, those PBS kids’ shows I used to watch when I was a boy in the late 60′s and early 70′s; those made learning fun).

            But on the other hand, Brad, *no,* let’s not start all over again from scratch. Let’s just go back to before Monday, November 25, 1968, when the late (as well as snarky) Jack Valenti tainted the industry with the weak, ineffectual film ratings system we have now. The films of the 50′s and 60′s, at their worst before that date, would probably be the equivalent of what’s now PG-13. Otherwise, most films from that era seemed family-friendly.

    4. Janice Gaskill
      April 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Please let’s start a campaign to get this off the air!

      • Carol
        April 13, 2015 at 10:49 pm

        It’s the highest rated show on FX and it is heading into its 7th season. No amount of campaigning would get it cancelled. As for the “cartoon porn” thing this is nothing compared to some of the animated porn films that came out in the 70s. Fritz the Cat (1972) and Down and Dirty Duck (1974).

        • Christopher Gildemeister
          April 14, 2015 at 8:15 am

          The examples from the 1970s you named were shown in movie theaters. A person had to leave their home, drive to the theater, and deliberately pay to see a pornographic film.

          By contrast, Archer is shoved into every living room with a cable, satellite, or internet connection…and its episodes are available to children online any time.

          In the 1970s, you had to go out of your way to obtain pornography. Today, you have to go out of your way to avoid it.

        • Carolyn
          April 24, 2015 at 4:57 am

          Carol, you seem to be a supporter/defender of the show. I’m confused as to why you’re on the PTC website campaigning for what the PTC is obviously going to protest, for good reason.

    5. Marianne Johnston
      April 11, 2015 at 10:20 am

      This world doesn’t need people Matt Thompson invading our homes with what HE obliviously finds entertaining.
      It is this kind of sick thinking that has the country/world in such a downward spiral. May GOD protect our kids
      from this kind of trash.
      There is so much good on television and we do not watch this kind of garbage! We do not like our cable bill paying
      for this “cartoon porn”!!!
      Keep up the good work PTC, you have our support.

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