One Last Hodgepodge of Archer

My blog post about Archer might be a little crazy this week. Yet a crazily structured, haphazardly written, and poorly pontificated post (3 in a row! Yay alliteration!) may be the best way to represent a show as hectic as Archer. So without any more explanation I want to jump right into anything that crosses my mind about Archer that I want to write about! EMBRACE THE CHAOS!

An Ode to a fallen Hero

Anytime a show goes through a drastic reboot, change is inevitable. And in a show as violence-oriented as Archer, sometimes that means characters die (a few examples: Sterling’s best friend Lucas Troy, Sterling’s potential father Nikolai Jakoff, Bilbo, or any of the ‘loose cannon’ agents Sterling accidentally killed). So it was safe to say that fans of the show could have predicted the dramatic change in direction of the fifth season would be attached to death in some shape or form. The surprise (at least for myself personally) was what character the writers of the show decided to kill off. Brett Bunsen was never a lead character but he always had a presence in the show during all of the previous four seasons, mostly with his amazing ability of getting shot repeatedly. I mean seriously, check this guy out in action, he gets shot SEVEN times over the course of the first 4 seasons. Averaging about two gunshot wounds per season is actually pretty amazing, and I’m hard pressed to think of any other character in any other show with such a propensity for being hit with gunfire:

I know 5 minutes is pretty intimidating runtime for a youtube clip but you should make an effort to watch it. It had me cracking up just from the sheer ridiculousness of how this guy kept finding himself on the receiving end of hot lead. Poor Brett, RIP. “He died doing what he loved,” has probably never been used more hilariously than in reference to Brett the bullet sponge. Bullet number eight was just too much for the office’s favorite target.

Then again, maybe I shouldn’t have been too surprised a character nicknamed ‘Mr. Bloodmobile” died. You be the judge.

Why doesn’t Lana carry any ammunition?

This is a rather broad topic but I think it might boil down to two simple choices. Lana Kane is the strong female agent of ISIS. She’s everything Malory Archer used to be back in her heyday: sexy, dangerous, and capable of tackling any mission. Well – as long as that mission doesn’t involve much reloading. It’s referenced several times throughout the show’s existence that Lana only carries one extra clip of ammo each for her signature twin Tec-9 firearms with her at all times.

Now multiply that badassery by two and you get the idea

Now multiply that badassery by two and you get the idea of what Lana Kane is packing

So what gives? Why would one of the best secret agents in the world bank on only needing around 80 bullets (rounds which she loves firing off in full auto bursts – sometimes just to prove a point) to complete her missions? If you ask me, its a subtle way of showing Lana’s damaged self-esteem. There’s no two ways about it, Lana is an emotionally damaged character. Its what drives her to be the best, and what can make her seem vulnerable and more complex as a main character. This insecurity defines her personality, and is represented by her inability to carry heavy personal loads, even in the physical manifestation of bullets. That or I’m looking too far into it and the real reason she carries practically no ammunition is because Lana’s super sexy spy sweaters (4 this time! Holy alliteration batman!) are too skimpy and tight to carrying tactical equipment.

Where will the Archer Universe take Sterling next? 

Over its run, Archer has taken its lead character to some pretty amazing and exotic environments. The show’s characters have explored New York, and gone into space and underwater, as well as journeyed to the continents of Russia, South America, Africa, and Texas (disclaimer: I am aware two of those locations are not continents). This begs the question, where to next? You could probably place safe money on an episode in Australia – possibly in conjunction with tech support master Bilbo being reincarnated cyberneticly by Krieger (the Lord of the Rings jokes almost write themselves). Japan and the vast majority of Asia seem to offer lots of exciting possibilities as well due to Pam’s connections to the Yakuza. Wherever Malory sends her son, the one guarantee we have from the show is that Archer has already booked a one way ticket to fatherhood! It will be interesting to see what kind of parent Sterling Archer will be. Hopefully he hasn’t (Ah only 3 this time) been taking any lessons from his own mother.

Who knows where this is going to lead !

Who knows where this is going to lead !

Well ladies and gentlemen I think that will about do it for this blog post. It’s been a blast, but I really don’t think I have much to write about until the next season of Archer starts! (should be sometime in January!) So until then readers, hope you all have a kickass last month of the year, and remember to stay frosty.

-Adam

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Let’s Break down Structure !

Heads up ladies and gentlemen! There is a graphic image below of a man and his hand separating violently. But if you are reading this blog you probably watch Archer so it won’t be anything too extreme for you. Just a heads up! Let’s get into it!

Hey there Archer fans! Today we are going back to one of the classics, “Diversity Hire” ¬†episode 3 of the show’s first season, to check out the structure of the show. The show opens up with one of my favorite gags in all of the Archer universe when Malory opens up a day at the office with tragic news. One of the spy agencies top operatives had been killed in the field for unclear reasons. Agent Hector Ruiz was killed in the field when his cover was blown – by Sterling Archer calling and asking him to tell some chicks how they are ‘totally’ ISIS agents. This of course means he was discovered by the cartel he had infiltrated and subsequently killed. Sterling plays it off by calling Ruiz a “loose cannon” and that he had it coming. Apparently this sort of thing (i.e. Sterling Archer calling his fellow agents while they are on mission) has happened before, and lead to the death of all the non-Caucasian agents in ISIS. This opening gag leads to the title run of the show, and introduces the viewers to the main story line of this particular episode. This opening is a common element of every Archer episode as the writers aim to open with a quick hitting element that makes the audience laugh while also setting up the first act of the show to begin.

Each episode of Archer has three acts over the course of the show. This episode in particular revolves around the new ‘diversity hire’ Conway Stern, who is a black Jewish agent that Malory has hired to make up for all the “loose cannons” that Archer inadvertently got killed. Conway causes an instant splash in the office as the employees are either suspicious of where exactly such a perfect specimen of diversity mixed with badass secret agent skills came from or want to sleep with him. Yet Conway seems to fit in fairly well with the office, and it seems like a solid addition to the ISIS roster.

The second act of the show has Conway introduce the ‘whisper drive’ – technology that allows a submarine to move absolutely silently. He lays out intel that says the Cubans have a plan to buy the technology from its traitorous creator. He proposes a plan for Sterling Archer to take the place of the Cuban contact meeting the inventor of the drive, thus stopping the deal from taking place.

Third act is the completion of the operation, with Conway saving Archer’s life twice over the course of the execution – with the second one looking like Conway was about to turn on Archer. Then Conway literally stabs Archer in the back, and attempts a getaway on a helicopter. However Lana Kane, who never trusted Conway from the beginning, shows up with a speargun to snag the case, tearing off Conway’s arm in the process. Its a climatic ending to an exciting episode that will have anyone in stitches.

Notice the star of David around his neck! What a diversity wonderland!

Notice the star of David around Conway Stern’s neck! What a diversity wonderland!

If the plot woven around this three act structure seems fairly straightforward then bravo! It is a single item plot structure, with the main plot overwhelmingly dominating the run time of the show. From start to finish the audience is engaged by the new agent Conway, his efforts to fit into the office, and the climax of discovering it was all a setup. Archer utilizes this straightforward plot structure to its strength with great humor through conversation between its established characters. The single direction doesn’t get boring because of the laughs the show provides intertwined with the single direction story. There is one small secondary story line regarding an empty corner office that the ‘drones’ of ISIS want to claim as their own – but this petty office power struggle is resolved withing the second arc of the episode and doesn’t drive the main story in any discernible way. When you consider Archer’s viewer base of predominately younger men this story structure makes sense. As a member of said generation I just don’t want to think too much while watching a cartoon, I would rather laugh and be entertained by a simple story with plenty of guns, explosions, and helicopter chases (interwoven with crude humor that keeps me chuckling). I’ll leave the more serious stuff to more serious, live action shows.

That’s all for now boys and girls, stay frosty and log in next time for more things Archer!

Key Elements of Archer!!

lana_danger_zone_archer

What’s up Archer fans! Today will be an interesting post as I discuss what I believe are the key elements that make Archer the amazing visual phenomenon it is today. These parts of the show serve to foster a deeper connection between the audience and the show.

Recurring dialog is the number one key element that keeps coming back for more in the Archerverse. See the gif above for one of the classics, and the inspiration for the name of this blog. Sterling Archer’s first time watching Top Gun was a life changing event for our hero, and he finds a way to work in a reference to the Kenny Loggin’s “Danger Zone “in a ton of different episodes. Other examples of recurring dialog are Archer shouting “Phrasing!” whenever a character makes an awkward point or sexual innuendo. Referential humor is something that isn’t new or entirely original (Family Guy abuses the hell out of it for most of the laughs in their show) but Archer has taken the idea and worked it into a more refined form for their show. It is a testament to the writers of the show that a show centering on the world’s most dangerous spy is renowned for its quick wit and humor, which elevates the show above sexiness or mindless action.

giphy

Raunchiness is a key element that defines the show and will either delight or disgust most casual viewers. Archer is a guy that gets around and he makes no attempt to hide it. From Lana’s tight sweaters to Malory constantly talking about her sex life these guys have never heard the concept of too much information, and will flaunt sexuality in every episode. If there’s a way to work a hooker being rolled up in carpet into the script, Archer will take that option, and the viewers of the show will love it.

That’s all I’ve got for now boys and girls, make sure you stay frosty.