5 stars


5th January 2011

Imagine classic James Bond; vain, cocky, arrogant, womanising. Face facts, if he was a real guy he'd be a right cock.
Now imagine James Bond as an American, a man forced into dealing with the real world of office politics, expense accounts, training days, a hyper-sexual alcoholic mother who also happens to be his boss and a colleague/ex-girlfriend who is now sleeping her way through your office. And that's before you even start saving the world.
This is the basic premise of FX's glorious 60's (ish) twist on the spy world brought into tortuous world of the modern office.

Archer is a cartoon, yes, but it's no ordinary cartoon. There's nothing cutesy about it. Sterling Mallory Archer is a dick. He might also be the world's great spy, or at least he certainly thinks so. Strangely though, no-one else seems to love him as much as he loves himself. His ex, the gorgeous Lara Kane is now shacked up with the nerdish head of accounts, Cyril (that's what happens when you insist on watching porn in bed and phoning your mother at the same time), his mother Mallory think he's an idiot, the "office drones" hate him, and weirdo inventor Dr Kreiger (food rapist, yes you read that right) ignores him. In fact the only people who seem to like Archer are delusional secretary-cum-stalker Cheryl and Archer's faithful but ancient butler Woodhouse. That he treats both of those people like crap (fail to cook his eggs right and he'll throw all your clothes over the balcony) only make it more glorious watching him suffer the real world.

That's not to say everyone around him is professional, far from it. It seems that everyone at the ISIS spy agency is out to fuck each other over in order to get ahead as they mess with payroll, spread rumours (guess who's got cancer!), blackmail and sexually harass at will.

Not safe for work, not their work or yours
Endlessly quotable, fantastically stylish, very funny and really quite wrong, Archer was easily my favourite show of last year and hopefully the next big animated comedy to take off. It works because of its sharp, rhythmic dialogue, the sense of anarchy and the joy of seeing the world's greatest spy being ordered to seduce a male agent by his mother. Worth adding, the voice cast is fantastic - H. Jon Benjamin should be in every cartoon ever made.

Archer returns to US TV for a 2nd season on January 27th. Season 1 is available to watch online now and I cannot recommend it enough.

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