Season premiere review: ‘Archer’ – ‘Fugue and Riffs’

A quick review of the “Archer” season premiere coming up just as soon as I ease you into a gimp suit…

“Archer” is a show I tend to watch in irregular chunks (I only finished last season’s episodes around Christmas), which is why I don’t write about it all that often. But I thought the premiere deserved special mention for the genius opening that briefly merged H. Jon Benjamin’s two roles by having an amensiac Sterling Archer wind up behind the counter at Bob’s Burgers. It’s a shame that John Roberts was the only other “Bob’s Burgers” castmember they could get, as I’d have loved hearing Gene, Louise and (especially) Tina in a more “Archer”-y context, but it was still a great idea – and one that demonstrated that there are, indeed, some differences in the way Benjamin voices Bob versus how he plays Archer – and one that all but demands that “Bob’s Burgers” return the favor(*) down the road and show us what Lana, Pam and Ray look like when drawn in the style of Jay Howell. (And in the meantime, I’m going to watch that show and imagine that Bob is secretly a spy with amnesia who showed up at the restaurant one night and was taken in by a single mom and three kids desperate for a man in the house.) 

(*) Much like how “Cougar Town” paid off the earlier “Community” tribute by putting Abed in the background of a scene. And this should be easier, since they’re all part of the larger News Corp family. 

The opening was so good that it largely overshadowed the rest of the episode – I watched it a few weeks ago, pre-press tour, and had to put it back on this morning to remind me of what else happened other than Lana again having to cover her breasts with whatever’s handy – but followed a formula the show has used in the past to great success, by having the entire ISIS staff go on a mission together (Pam and Cheryl going, as always, to lounge) and cause more trouble as a result. And we got a good ultimate explanation for Archer’s amnesia with the revelation that Malory got married – and to, of all things, a regular guy noted for owning a lot of Cadillac dealerships (and voiced by character actor Ron Leibman).

A very promising start to the season.

What did everybody else think?

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