By Joshua Peck
One of my personal favorite TV shows to “binge watch” on Netflix is Archer.
A parody of most conventional spy shows, it features a series of raunchy one-liners. The show never fails to make me laugh out loud. What’s most remarkable about the show is it’s extensive usage of references, both in the form of satire as well as parody.
The show thrives on it’s ability to replace the conventional with the absurd and to simply poke fun at certain institutions we take for granted. Having said that, much of the absurdity exists in the inclusion of potentially former Nazi scientists, indifferent matriarchal figures or the ever-changing plot line followed throughout the seasons.
What’s more is the inclusion of satire, both towards the generic portrayal of spies and their happenings on the big screen, as well as the relationship between society and spy organizations themselves. For instance, the entrance to their classified headquarters is accessed through your run-of-the-mill laundromat downstairs. As a refrain throughout the series, Archer uses his status as an international spy to help him when picking up members of the opposite sex, primarily when he’s had a little bit much to drink.
Through its many varied parodies the show boldly addresses taboo issues such as alcoholism, fatherlessness and vain promiscuity, all while making you laugh and granting you a level of perspective you might not otherwise have thought of.
One of my personal favorite examples of this is returned to time and time again: as Archer embodies the notion of being a “child in a man’s body,” he repeatedly behaves in particularly poignant ways only as a means to an end, both with women and with his career. Archer has an undying addiction to instant gratification and it permeates his every action, small or large.
But where does most of Archer’s meandering stem from? Well, the answer can undoubtedly be argued as rooted in his mother’s eccentric behaviors and his lack of a real father figure. His mother Malory Archer, played by Jessica Walters, whose voice some of you might recognize as being that of Lucille Bluth in the show Arrested Development. Malory serves to really display the roots of Archer’s negative projections, not only is she even more of an alcoholic than Archer, which is saying a lot, but she also appears just as promiscuous, sometimes uncomfortably so.
Contrary to Archer’s immaturity, his opposite and often partner — both in the field and sometimes romantically — Lana Kane, as voiced by Aisha Tyler, is the embodiment of female empowerment. As an African American spy, she is often faced with discrimination both by her peers and the people shooting at her; however, she remains to be one of the arguably strongest characters throughout the series both in and out of their shared workplace.
First premiering in January 2010, the show created by Adam Reed, has seen largely positive reviews for it’s witty dialogue and hilarious absurdities. Within it’s first year of airing, H. Jon Benjamin, voice-actor for Archer, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance. Similarly, as of 2014 the show received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.
If there would be any television show featured on Netflix that I could recommend, Archer is undoubtedly be it!