Sunday, April 03, 2011

why I like "Archer"

I missed most of the first season of the cartoon spy comedy "Archer," but have watched every single episode of Season 2 on Hulu. Along with the Cold War jokes and the constant barrage of sex humor ("My vulva is so shaved!"), I'm a fan of the quieter touches-- visual clues that the artists drop to show that their sense of humor is more subtle than it may seem. Case in point:

If you read Chinese, you can see why this might be funny, especially in the context of the story. (I don't really read Chinese, but I do recognize those two characters.) The two lovely ladies are ninja/slut assassins who work for a British bad guy intent on stealing ISIS's secret files (ISIS is the agency for which our protags work; read about "Archer" here). In the scene pictured above, Sterling Archer, our hero, has just burst into the evil Brit's lair and wants to take back the data stolen from ISIS, which is housed in the machine currently guarded by the ninja/sluts. The women never speak, but they're reminiscent of Mr. Han's daughters in "Enter the Dragon": highly trained, highly disciplined assassins, skilled in both the deadly and the sensual arts. Is it any surprise that such women would have the characters for "love" (left) and "pain" (right) on their wall?

"Archer" is hilarious, funnier than most live-action comedies. In twenty short minutes, the writers manage to cram in a great deal of pungent imagery, bad language, and memorable one-liners. The animators, meanwhile, have no shame in exploiting every angle of the female form (which makes us guys happy), and the voice work by the stars (Archer's on-again, off-again love interest, Lana Kane, is voiced by one of my favorite comic talents, Aisha Tyler; see here, too) makes for great TV.

NB: Since I watch "Archer" on Hulu, I'm a few weeks behind the rest of the world.

ADDENDUM: For more on Aisha Tyler, see her back in her "Talk Soup" days here, and watch part of an old stand-up routine here.



John from Daejeon said...

Archer was beyond awesome until I made the mistake of googling the lead actor, H. Jon Bengamin. Let's just say that he's no Batman

Kevin Kim said...

What exactly turned you off about HJB? (Aside from the fact that he looks nothing like his cartoon avatar.)

John from Daejeon said...

Yeah, Aisha actually looks like Lana. Also, most of the voices of the revival of Justice League and Batman could have actually played live-action versions of their characters unlike that of Sterling Archer (funny, how J. Tambor looks like his character in real life). However, the recent stand alone Justice League movies are now bypassing the established cartoon series voice actors and going with younger, more recent pop culture/current TV actors in the hopes of boosting ratings and sales of dvds while alienating a lot of fans in doing so. Here's the original voices really sounding like super heroes in a great movie. Now, it has gone really downhill with Oswald Lee Harvey from the Drew Carey Show as a piss-poor choice for the Batman.