Watch "Archer"

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Watch "Archer"

From the worst to maybe the best.  Last Thursday, FX premiered a new animated show about spies called Archer and you should be watching this show.

Archer is, as noted, a series about spies, but spy shit isn't really the substance of it.  It's more about inter-office politics and a twist on the super charming, amazingly competent secret agents that we've grown so accustomed to seeing without fault.  Like James Bond, Sterling Archer is a handsome, square-jawed stud and he's amazing at his job; unlike Bond, he makes passes at fat chicks when drunk and takes pot shots at Dane Cook.  He also works in the kind of secret agency where health plans and gossip are as important as thwarting the latest double agent assassin.

The office in question is that of ISIS, the International Secret Intelligence Service, and the changing of their health plan is a really big deal, which does make sense considering these people get shot at for a living.  A bigger deal is the office gossip that floats around as Archer's boss, who is also his mother, attempts to control his love life; the triangle created between Archer, the female secret agent he loves and the accountant she dates is hilarious.  Secret agents, they're just like us! 

And that's really the brilliance of the show.  Sure there's spy stuff, but there's also the same sort of office bureaucracies and annoyances that we all have to deal with, co-workers with inappropriate relationships and over-extended expense accounts that have to be tweaked via nefarious means.  I'm dancing around the details because I don't want to ruin it; you should be watching this show, there's no two ways about it.

Truth be told, I rarely find myself unabashedly recommending a show without offering some sort of drawback, or at least the touching on the possibility that I'm off base.  That's because this show hits it right on the money.  The performances are great and so is the writing.  The concept itself is so brilliantly deconstructionist that you don't even think of it as doing something really interesting, you just get sucked in, and then later you realize how much was going on there.  It pops up in moments like when Archer refers to the pistol he keeps in his briefs as the "Chekhov gun," a reference to the Anton Chekhov quote about guns hung on the walls of the rooms he set Act I of his plays in, or when a debate about irony leads Archer to say, "It's like O. Henry and Alanis Morissette had a baby and named it this exact situation."  I would go on, but I don't want to spoil it for you.  Just watch this show.



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