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Geekscape Reviews Archer Season 2’s First Two Episodes

Wednesday 26th January 2011 by GeekscapeStaff

Probably the second best thing about living in the Los Angeles area is that, if you know where to look, there is ALWAYS a party or live show to go to, and failing that, a premiere. Living here isn’t like living in say, Bisbee Arizona, where the biggest unveiling to occur in the last four years was when the Kroger’s changed the labels on the canned peaches. The best thing? Probably all of the cheap drugs, and the models who will sleep with you for your cheap drugs.

Archer Season2 Preview Butler
And if not models, British butlers!

Anyway, I was talking about a party? Oh yeah! FX decided to unveil Archer season 2 and then conduct a little chat with the cast and crew last night at a fairly exclusive little shindig in the heart of Beverly Hills, and this Geekscapist was there, so now I get the honor of informing everyone about these goings on. Are you jealous? No? Oh. Well. I guess that’s good. But man, I really wanted to gloat. I needed that boost today.

This premiere was conducted at the Paley Center for Media, a fairly small, though not very innocuous building on Beverly Drive. The Paley Center (as they will inform you before they screen anything in a commercial featuring a very droning Ted Danson) is all about preserving anything and everything that has appeared on television and radio, which is actually kind of noble. Of course it just means that they are a collection of really rich geeks who have the world’s best collection of TV episodes in their attic (seriously they have a ton of lost footage of stuff), but they occasionally try to be cool and host stuff like this. Thanks Paley Center! I’ll stop plugging you now!

Paley Center
The place actually looks kind of like a bond villain base if you ask me.

So how was Archer? What was shown? Is H. Jon Benjamin actually a three headed dog living in an alternate dimension? 

Well they showed two episodes of season 2; the first episode, “Swiss Miss” premiering tonight (Thursday the 27th for those reading this in the future) on FX, and another episode from further along in the season “Pipeline Fever”. Both episodes were in holding with the tradition of the show, that is to say, bawdy excellence.

In “Swiss Miss”, we have Archer, Lana, and the rest of team ISIS attempting to recruit a German financier currently on a fantastic ski-vacation with his heiress daughter, who is a kidnapping target for a rival organization. She’s also wild about Archer, which would be fine . . . if she weren’t a tad underage, sexually speaking. Needless to say, hijinks ensue, faces are burned off, and there’s an unfortunate incident with a shaving kit.

Archer Season 2
And for once, Archer is trying NOT to stick his penis in something.

As for “Pipeline Fever”, we’re treated to a quick treatise on the ISIS staff and environmentalism, since the plot focuses on an eco-terrorist that Archer and Lana must stop in the Louisiana swamplands. Here Archer must contend with his three greatest fears, and Lana must contend with Archer’s love of imitating Burt Reynolds.  Plus we finally get to see a bit of one character’s past revealed . . . oooohh, juicy!

Both were fine episodes, though perhaps not the upcoming season’s best. In the Q&A which followed the screening, series creator Adam Reed hinted at plenty of highlights to come, especially in an episode that delves into the butler Woodhouse’s past. “You’ll find Woodhouse has killed more people than cigarettes” said Reed.

For the most part, the entire cast showed up for the Q&A, Adam Reed of course was there to dish, but along with him were H. Jon Benjamin (Sterling Archer), Aisha Tyler (Lana Kane), Chris Parnell (Cyril Figgus), Judy Greer (Cheryl/Carol), George Coe (Woodhouse), and Amber Nash ( Pam Poovey). The only major cast member not in attendance was Jessica Walter, who plays Sterling’s mother Mallory, which of course afforded her co-stars a few jabs at her expense, especially when questioned about who needs the most direction in the recording studio.

Mallory Archer Jessica Walter Archer Season2
She probably couldn’t show up because she had to “get into character” and down five martinis.

Aisha Tyler kind of stole the session from everyone else, reveling in anecdotes about debates with Reed over “ball-slappiest” or “ball-slappinest”, commenting on how much an afro-donning Lana resembles her mom during her “foxy” years, and how she first read for the show fully expecting that it would never get aired. In fact, both Judy Greer and George Coe echoed this sentiment, commenting that the likelihood of Archer getting picked up by a network seemed a bit ludicrous upon reading the initial script. Meanwhile, Chris Parnell seemed a bit bored, perhaps debating internally as to whether he should show up to any more of these functions, as no one really wants to know much about the accountant with 12 “reasons” to be a poon-hound.
Benjamin talked a little about being shocked to learn that a seven-year old was a fan of the show, and pretty much no one felt like their parents or children should ever indulge in the raunchy material held within. Reed also commented on the issues related to making Carol/Cheryl as disturbing as they possibly could, lamenting studio notes that asked for “weirder . . .darker”, when he felt making her a suffocation-fetishist was already a high watermark to rise above. Also, that the perfidious Conway Stern (not his real name) probably wouldn’t show up this season, but most likely would eventually, in a sort of revengerist league. Other than that, it was pretty much standard Q&A fare, and no one wanted to reveal too much, other than the fact that plenty of back story was upcoming for the upcoming season.
After that, it was standard Hollywood procedure: go into the lobby and get free hors d’œuvres and drinks from waiters way more attractive than you, mug for photos with the cast members brave enough to embrace the public, and schmooze with executives, writers, and actors as much as you can. Soon enough though, the whole shebang was over, and everyone was ushered outside while people debated which diner/strip club/safe house to go to and talk behind the backs about everyone they met but didn’t like, which is again . . . pretty standard in this town.

Standard parties for the character Archer include disapproving cross-dressing Irishmen.

 From watching the pair of episodes on display, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this upcoming season is probably going to be a bit better overall than the first. Of course, watching a show with lightning quick dialogue in a room of fifty people erupting into laughter every few seconds does make it tough to catch every joke, but it IS a good sign. At the very least, the show doesn’t seem to be suffering from a “sophomore slump”, and should at least equal the first.

So, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be watching when this sucker premieres. If you haven’t caught up, I’m pretty sure you can view every episode for free over at the FX site (http://www.fxnetworks.com/#), and on Netflix, so catch up already and watch this thing! I say it’s about time for under appreciated spy comedies to get their due dammit!

Archer season 2
Please watch, or Sterling’s going to give you his “disappointed and eating a pear” look again.

Anywho, this is Adam Thomas, Geekscape’s foremost society reporter (now anyway) signing off!