Archer Heart of Archness Part 3

Archer – Heart of Archness – Part III

Spoon him!” – Sterling Archer

And lo, the reign of “Archer, King of the Pirates” has come to an end.  His legacy of a South Pacific Lacrosse Championship (“That’s not a thing…”) still unrealized, but his subjects will always remember his time in power, as a halcyon-ish age. Also, “wait for it… dungeon-ness crabs.”

Now that the “Heart of Archness” (HOA) mini-series is over, we won’t be seeing any new Archer episodes until 2012.  Well, then it’s a good thing that the finale of HOA gave us everything we’ve come to expect from the show so far.

Most of the finale takes place in the jail cell on Pirate Island which holds, Archer (Benjamin), Noah (David Cross), Rip (Warburton), Lana (Tyler) and Ray (Reed) and assorted strains of pubic lice.

Unlike episode two’s rollicking jumble all over Pirate Island, the focus is back on the characters as they devise a plan to escape while back at ISIS, Malory tries to lowball the pirates’ demand for ransom. (“Pirates, Line 2!).

As high as my praise was for Benjamin’s (Archer) scenes with Patrick Warburton in the earlier episodes, (Rip Riley) I have to say that the exchanges between David Cross (Noah) and Benjamin are on equal footing. Archer’s incredulousness always works better when he’s paired with someone who’s more logical than impulsive.

However, the exchange between the usually rational Lana and Archer about blood types was the highlight of the series… “Who am I, Karl Landsteiner?” When I close my eyes and listen to the dialogue between Lana (Tyler) and Archer (Benjamin) I can’t help but think this is exactly how it would sound at Wendy’s and Peter Pan’s condo.

I wished there had been a little more for Rip Riley (Warburton) to do in the finale, but when you take friendly fire from a spoon, you’ve pretty much stolen the scene.  Also, when you’re Brock Samson, your time to shine is only a few months away.

Some more of Pam’s sweet back tattoo, a naked, regretful Figgis, and Archer trying to pull an Uncommon Valor and stay behind to coach his intramural lacrosse team rounds out the series nicely.

What did “Heart of Archness” do for Archer fans besides whet our appetites for more shows? Archer has properly “mourned” he and Lana are still stinking of sexual tension. (“Screw already… then kill him… then shut up!”  and ISIS is still in the intelligence game. And now the next season can begin anew; with Woodhouse!

Follow me at @steveintheKT. I will never pee on your sofa.

Archer Grenade Heart of Archness Part II

ARCHER – Heart of Archness Part II

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton

I’m half drunk and slathered in every bodily fluid there is” – Sterling Archer

When: 9:30pm CST
Where: FX Network
Created by: Adam Reed
Starring:         H. Jon Benjamin as Sterling Archer
Jessica Walter as Malory Archer
Aisha Tyler as Lana Kane
Judy Greer as Cheryl Tunt
Amber Nash as Pam Poovey
Chris Parnell as Cyril Figgis

Now that Archer is a Pirate King, I was expecting tonight’s second part of “Heart of Archness” to ratchet up the depravity from its usual Hugh Hefner like debauchery all the way up (and possibly beyond) to full on Caligula.

Color me disappointed that the second installment of this “Three Part: Special Assignment” fell a bit flat when compared to how great a start we got off to with part one.  As I mentioned in my review of part one, and with “Archer” in general. The show works best when the actual spy/action parts are purely backdrop to the minutia and day to day drag of being involved in the intelligence community.

Part two went the other way, and concentrated more on Sterling Archer the spy rather than Sterling Archer the narcissistic prick as he has to put down a pirate mutiny (caused by his own excesses) and it ended up being rather one noted.  When “Archer” turns up the action part and the dialogue is just yelling and screaming about Sterling doing something reckless with things like, little to no concern for planning, the safety of others, or possible consequences it’s all things we’ve seen before in other series. Archer’s strength lies in the “quieter” moments during the discussions about the mundane parts of spy life.

Now, I’m not saying part two didn’t’ make me laugh.  I mean, what kind of inhuman bastard wouldn’t at least chuckle as Patrick Warburton (Rip Riley), H. Jon Benjamin (Archer) and David Cross (Pirate Accountant) discuss why idioms don’t translate well as a pirate mutiny rages in the background. Also, Pam’s (Amber Nash) awesome Lord Byron tattoo made another appearance, and that’s never a bad thing.

I also really liked James Hong (King Fu Panda) as the voice of Bucky, the obscenity launching leader of the pirate mutiny. His opposition to Archer as the pirate king and eventual challenger to the “throne” was another strong example of Reed’s ability to take a stereotypical situation and present it in a different manner. Who knew Pirates had an orientation manual?

My complaints about episode two may be nitpicking, but again, that’s the line that “Archer” has to straddle to remain successful. Sure, spy stuff is necessary, but you’ve got to balance it with claiming whores on expense reports, bullet rations, and stains on the carpet.

Oh, and would it kill anyone to bust out some Woodhouse?

Follow me on Twitter @steveintheKT. My views on pillaging are very liberal.

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Archer – Heart of Archness Part I

 

ARCHER – Heart of Archness – Part I”
When:  F/X  Network  Thursdays 9:30 pm CST
Created by: Adam Reed (Frisky Dingo, Sealab 2021)
Starring the Voices of:
H. Jon Benjamin –    Sterling Archer
Aisha Taylor –            Lana Kane
Jessica Walter –          Malory Archer
Chris Parnel –            Cyril Figgis
Judy Greer –             Cheryl Taunt
Amber Nash –                        Pam Poovey
Adam Reed –             Ray Gillette

 If it hasn’t become clear by now, I have a kid. I also have a wife, who I would like to continue to see lick cake batter off a mixing spoon in my Canuck’s jersey. So, I’m going to preface my review with the following PSA:  ( Side note – It won’t be as cool or as potentially helpful as the GI Joe “Knowing is half the battle PSA’s either.  Would you really take advice from a guy with no shirt and a denim vest code named, “Gung-ho”? What kind of advice is this guy qualified to give? How to dispose of a dead hooker in a Thai Brothel?  How to tell if it’s herpes or an allergic reaction to the speed ball of Yoo-hoo and Flomax? )

Anyways, here it is… TV is a powerful medium that shapes the minds of our impressionable youth. In the wrong hands it can give children a false sense of the real world around them. As a parent, it is your responsibilities to monitor what your child is watching, and inform them of the consequences of the real world implications of what they’ve just seen.

OK, there, I said it.  But let’s be honest, I’m 40 and part of  the first generation that was raised by TV.  Therefore, there’s some tenets, some absolutes that I live by….

  1. Bionic Man? Sure. Sasquatch? OK, I guess. Bionic Man fighting Sasquatch? Ratings gold. Throw a Fembot in there, and you may have the makings of the kind of watershed event reserved for serious discussion around the tetherball pole.
  2. There’s an appalling lack of comfortable furniture at the Fortress of Solitude. Seriously, is there even a Kryptonian word for futon?  You’d think one of those crystals held an IKEA catalogue in there. Although, a 3 part series in which Superman gets pissed trying to put together a lamp, oh sorry, a Grinix (Is that even a Swedish word)  with his allen wrench and flies around the world to turn back time so he can order from Pottery Barn would be pretty spectacular
  3. I’m just going to throw back the curtain, and expose the ugly truth: Mayor McCheese is just a poor man’s H.R. Pufnstuf. There, I said it, I’m not happy about it; let the healing begin.

What’s my point you ask? Well, I do have one, and it’s this: I don’t even get out of bed unless you’ve got a very special episode, and it better have a freaking giant indestructible truck or a pedophilic bike shop owner, or a giant indestructible pedophilic bike shop owner, or something like that. Anyways, “Archer” is back in a 3 part special series before the new season begins in January 2012.

“Archer: Heart of Archness – Part I”

When we left Archer last spring, he was holding his dead fiancée in his arms and shooting at her assassin, Cyborg Barry (who was wearing a sweet ass, Steve Austin track suit).  This episode asks the question: “Where in the world is Sterling Archer?”

I’m not going to spoil what he’s been doing, but let’s just say that Archer’s grieving methods may set back therapy a hundred years. The thing I have always loved about the show is that there’s a deconstructed feel to it. The way, it reveals the big picture of being the world’s greatest spy. Sure, we know he’s good with a gun, but how the fuck does he not know he has an HMO versus a PPO?

And in “Heart of Archness” it’s no different.  Cheryl, thinks she may have “psychokinetic powers” and Cyril

To be safe, Malory Archer has also wrangled old timey ISIS agent, Rip Riley and his Nick Furyesque graying temples (played spectacularly by Patrick Warburton) to track down Sterling and bring him home.

“Archer” is all about Archer. That’s pretty much all you need to know, but there’s a thin line between him being an incompetent narcissist and a really kick-ass secret agent. I think that’s what the writers do best. When you really think about James Bond or Jason Bourne, you come to the conclusion that, yes, they’re badass secret agents, but if they were real people, you’d never return their voice mails. I mean, come on, how many “So, I blew up the death ray, and slept with the bi curious neurosurgeon” stories can you hear. These guys would be absolute dicks. And that’s what I love about Archer.

Warburton playing off against Jon Benjamin is the Montana to Rice of voice acting.  I’m not going to lie, if I could have a guy to interior monologue my life, it would be H. Jon Benjamin. (Sorry, Morgan Freeman, John Facenda and teacher from Peanuts). The best part of the episode is Archer making fun of Rip’s age and old fashioned plane. (“This is the 1930’s you’re full of shit and that Hitler’s a bad egg”)

Part I ends with Sterling being crowned a pirate king, killing a shark, David Cross showing up as a pirate slave, and Lana and Ray about to do terrible, terrible things with Malory’s black titanium credit card.

Although it’s a great way to frame the next 2 parts of the special fall episodes, this isn’t a great starting point for new viewers. You’ll laugh at the absurdity, and the subtle and not so subtle jabs at conventional spy shows, but you’ll miss out on so much of the humor established in the first two seasons.  The show isn’t a Merchant Ivory production, but if you want to get the best from it, I’d suggest going back and watching the first two seasons.

I’m also kind of bummed there was no Woodhead, but that’s just me. I still carry around a picture of Mr. French in my wallet.

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