I’m not normally a comedy person. Of the FX show lineup, Justified was always more my thing. That said, Archer occupies a special place amongst modern comedy; a symbol that we won’t stand for extended laugh tracks or nut shots as the best form of humor. In watching tonight’s season 5 premier of Archer, I was treated to the end of The Hangover 2, as well as clips from the new Charlie Sheen show Anger Management, and it helped me really appreciate what I was seeing: quick witted humor for the quick witted.
Archer is changing agendas this season. After 4 years of ISIS spy-themed fun, the show is transitioning into a drug cartel-themed stream of utter nonsense akin to Miami Vice (referenced by Sterling Archer). Tonight’s episode was something of a transition, the writer of the show evidently feeling that his boredom was not sufficient reason to have the show immediately take off in a new direction without explanation
The first half of the episode, Archer fans can expect a lot of what they had come to love about the show in the previous four years: familiar characters, cultural references, conversational humor, and edgy themes. Part of the problem that is emerging with the show is that you can anticipate characters reactions before they actually occur; but the show keeps ahead of the viewing audience as best as it can.
As it turns out, ISIS’s incredibly illegal actions have not gone unnoticed by the Federal Government. Despite Mallory Archer’s irritation with the unprofessional manner in which the spy agency has been run for so long, she has done little to rectify the situation and the FBI has finally caught up with the dozens (perhaps hundreds) of charges that could be levied against them. Lana is still pregnant, Ray is still paralyzed (for real this time) and everyone’s favorite bullet sponge, Brett, finally takes one in a lethal area.
As good as the first half of the episode was, the second half was forgettable. If the writers gave us a look into everything that will happen this season they are relying heavily on the comedy. A montage finished the episode of what appeared to be the plot of just about every upcoming episode, with spoilers to boot. If anyone took the show more seriously, it might be considered an egregious offense. As it stands, we’ll have to see how it goes from here and hope that the writer of Archer made this transition to Archer Vice for the sake of some truly fresh comedy.