Sports On TV is in the Danger Zone.
Our look at the best sports moments from shows that aren’t necessarily about sports takes on FX’s ‘Archer’ this week, and if there’s a show the kids at UPROXX love more than ‘Archer,’ I’d like to see it. Inside, you’ll find one of the most clever, obscure, expertly-written shows on television. You’ll also find lacrosse jokes about rock bands from the 1990s, a guy trying to play baseball in space, Ultimate Bum Shock Fights (which are exactly what they sound like), Siamese fighting fish, and more.
So please click through and-or enjoy Sports On TV: ‘Archer’s’ 15 greatest sports moments.
More Sports On TV: Saved By The Bell (part 2) | Full House | King Of The Hill | The Wire | The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air | Parks And Recreation | Married… With Children | 30 Rock | The Brady Bunch | The Three Stooges | The Simpsons | Glee | Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers | South Park | Boy Meets World | Buffy The Vampire Slayer | It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia | Arthur | Community | Arrested Development | Freaks and Geeks
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Episode: “Swiss Miss” (season 2, episode 1)
What Happens: To help secure funding for ISIS, the team travels to Gstaad, a winter resort town, to protect a Swiss billionaire’s daughter from kidnapping threats. The major problem is that said daughter is an underage nymphomaniac and Sterling Archer will have sex with basically anything. Ray walks in just in time for Archer’s “I’m not going to have sex with you, you’re a child” defense to get warped into “Archer was trying to get me to give him a blowjob” and shuffles her off to a ski lesson for her safety. Archer is temporarily upset that Ray doesn’t believe him, but (as Archer does) quickly decides that making fun of a guy for thinking he can give a ski lesson with only a bronze medal in giant slalom on his resume is way more important.
Key line: “Raus, you mouse, get ready for our ski lesson.”
Also, the entire exchange that follows it.
“I forgot you won the Olympic gold medal in men’s downhill.”
“Well, ass, it was giant slalom and I only took bronze.”
“So? You lost?”
“I came in third.”
“Which is last.”
“Which is third…”
“…in the world!”
“You lost, Ray. Jesus, get over it.”
It actually was a huge disappointment.
The only thing funnier than a random city’s ski lodge having a framed, black-and-white picture of Ray on the medal stand at all is Ray’s victory pose. I love that Ray can be an honestly-depicted, complex, gay character on a show where everyone is absurd and out of their goddamn minds … it has a lot to do with him just being treated like everybody else. Spoiler alert: everybody else is treated terribly.
Episode: “Space Race, Part 1” (season 3, episode 12)
What Happens: In a story that is too complex to be able to BEGIN to explain, the ISIS crew ends up wielding futuristic laser guns and battling mutineers on an orbiting space station to prevent being kidnapped and taken to start a new colony of humanity on Mars. By the end of the story they’re trying to escape a cyborg, and debating whether or not it’s cooler to live or don an Aliens-style mech suit to battle him.
Anyway, Archer gets put in a holding cell by being himself, and-or shooting people with the “stun” setting on his pulse rifle even after he learns that “stun” isn’t really “stun” and can stop a person’s heart. To pass the time he tries to bounce a baseball to himself and learns a hard lesson about zero gravity.
Key line: If you unlocked the commenting badge, you already know.
Episode: “Movie Star” (season 2, episode 7)
What Happens: Oscar winner Rona Thorne needs to research her upcoming role as a burned CIA agent and ISIS is willing to do anything for any reason, so she ends up shadowing Archer (and then Lana, when Lana starts Archer’s long battle with Tinnitus). Pam is a big Rona Thorne fan and lifts her personal diary, which leads to one of the best and most increasingly ridiculous conversations in the history of the show: Pam, Cheryl and Ray discussing the grossness of deaf people, the time a guy tried to use Ray to escape the draft and ended up with hook hands and the sad, sad story of collegiate quarterback Dick Sledge. Sploosh.
Key line: “Sophomore year at my stupid college, I had a huge crush on the quarterback, this super-hot guy named Dick Sledge…” “Sploosh.” “Jinx.”
And, for posterity, the dialogue that follows.
“It was like I was invisible. He wouldn’t even sign my cast when I broke my own arm, but I thought, if I knew what he liked, then I’d have an in, so one Saturday, when he had a game, I broke into his dorm room, to see what kind of music he was into, or turtles, or roll around in his clothes, or whatever, but…”
“But you were so busy sniffing his jock, you didn’t hear him come in?”
“Because he totally snuck up on me! Then I guess I blacked out because I don’t remember stabbing him at all…”
“What!? Why did you have a knife!? ”
“I didn’t! It was a stupid pair of scissors! And it was his fault for grabbing me with his throwing hand! That’s how his tendon got severed…”
“Yeah. They said he could have gone pro.”
“So… glossing over why you broke your own arm…”
“So he’d sign my cast.”
Episode: “Job Offer” (season 1, episode 9)
What Happens: Barry Dylan (and Other Barry) of ODIN offers Lana a job, but due to a misunderstanding/Archer automatically assuming everything done, thought or spoken is about him, Archer thinks Barry was offering HIM the job, which he accepts. Over at ODIN they’re a big, happy family that includes Jeffrey Tambor-voiced polo enthusiast Len Trexler and human resources director/Barry’s fiancée “Framboise.” Framboise gets fired but manages to have anal sex with Archer and Cyril Figgis (in two separate instances) before leaving the building, earning her a prestigious title: “The Pelé Of Anal.”
Key line: “Avec … your box?”
‘Archer’ has more sports moments than I can count if you include references like this one, wherein a woman’s proclivity at buttf**king can be compared to the greatest soccer player of all time. I think I knew who Pelé was before I knew soccer existed. Pelé has that Babe Ruth thing going on, where he doesn’t even need the sport he dominated, he’s just world-reknown for being better than everyone else in the world at a chunk of life. Being the Pelé of anal might not sound like a great thing to be, but … Pelé, man.
(Actually it sounds like a fantastic thing to be.)
(Also, I wish I could name my daughter the French word for “raspberry,” but thanks for ruining that forever, ‘Archer.’)
Episode: “Bloody Ferlin” (season 3, episode 9)
What Happens: Ray, Archer and Cheryl venture down south to help Ray’s drug farming brother protect his property from a crooked, small-town sheriff. Lana has to cover for them, so she convinces Dr. Krieger to fake a “cyber attack” and rip up his beloved mainframe. How she did that is simple: she told him she’d convince Pam to fight in his “Ultimate Bum Shock-Fights.” No, it’s not called that because paying homeless men to fight is shocking.
Key line: “Well hello there, game changer.”
Pam being great at everything you’d expect Vin Diesel to be great at (underground fighting, illegally racing cars against the Yakuza, having Lord Byron-themed tattoos) is one of the best running gags on the show, so seeing her uppercut a hanging pig carcass with electrified MMA gloves is fantastic. I’m only sad that we didn’t get to see her dominate some bums Emperor Palpatine style, and add to those thirteen hashmarks on her back-piece. I think the best part of the bum shock fights is that they’re “ultimate.”
And by the way, if you’re interested in starting your own localized bum shock-fighting league, Amazon.com can get you started.
Episode: “Once Bitten” (season 4, episode 6)
What Happens: Sterling gets bitten in the taint by a Caspian cobra (no, seriously) and goes on a spiritual journey through his past, accompanied by a cut-rate James Mason (no, seriously). Part of that journey takes him to Baltimore to watch a young, eager Sterling Archer try out for the Johns Hopkins lacrosse team. Archer’s lacrosse fame was short-lived, however, because a woman in black started stalking him and shot him in the stomach, ending his career. Of course, that might’ve not happened at all, because it’s a shot-for-shot recreation of a scene from The Natural.
Here, compare and contrast for yourself.
Key line: “Would you like to know who Sterling Archer really is?” “No.”
The rest of the story doesn’t involve Archer lobbing any lacrosse balls into the heavens and shattering stadium lights, but it does address the sadness of him losing one of the only things we’ve ever seen him legitimately love (lacrosse) and makes him aware of his own subconscious movie parodies with the most hilariously obscure It’s A Wonderful Life reference:
“Yeah, sooo… I don’t know if you’re deaf or just an asshole or both, but I’m pretty sure I said I didn’t want to see this.”
“But, Sterling, do you not see how the actions of a deeply disturbed woman profoundly influenced your life?”
“Well, obviously! I mean- oh. You mean my lacrosse career ending because a crazy stalker gut-shot me.”
“I don’t know James Mason. Do you? Besides, what freaking movie is this? What next? Does Mr. Gower slaps me deaf? Come on, you’re all over the road here.”
The good news is that John Hopkins wasn’t Archer’s last go-round with a lacrosse stick, as we’ll learn when we get to PIRATE ISLAND.
Episode: “Crossing Over” (season 3, episode 10)
What Happens: Archer wakes up with a horrible hangover, and all he can remember is that he’d spent the night having the best sex of his life. He pieces together the night’s events and decides that he’d hooked up with a busty redhead at the strip club, but when Woodhouse informs him that his coital guest is still there, Archer wanders into the bathroom to find Pam, the new, grossly unfortunate object of his sexual obsession. It makes sense, because Pam’s the only one who can outdrink him. Anyway, the money reference in Archer’s flashbacks is him eating breakfast at the strip club, then a shot of Pam showering a stripper with waffles, screaming about how (in so many words) she’s “making it rain.”
Key line: “Wooo! I’m Pacman Jones!”
If you like cartoons more than you like football (AND WHO DOESN’T), Adam “Pacman” Jones is a cornerback for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals who has spent most of his career being more famous for being a f**k-up than for playing football. He was a suspect in a June 2007 shooting outside a strip club in Las Vegas, allegedly ordering his friends to shoot a guy who’d gotten into an argument with him. His punishment was a year of not playing pro football, because America, and he spent his time in exile recording rap songs and winning the TNA Wrestling Tag Team Championships without actually wrestling, also because America.
I am unsure if Pacman Jones ever made it rain by throwing waffles at somebody, but if he hadn’t BEFORE he heard he was name-dropped on an episode of an animated TV show, he sure as hell did after.
Episode: “Dial M For Mother” (season 1, episode 10)
What Happens: Lana wants to get back at Cyril (and the Pelé Of Anal) by having sex with everyone else at ISIS, but she doesn’t want to, you know, ACTUALLY have sex with them. So she concocts a plan where she’ll allow everyone at ISIS to SAY they had sex with her in the nastiest possible ways (including the dreaded “Gene Hathaway”). Pam wants to be have for-real sex with Lana, which is initially refused, but pity overtakes common sense and Lana begrudgingly accepts, under one condition:
Key line: “Yeah, come on, before I change my mind … but you cannot say a word.” “I won’t tell anybody!” “No, honey, I mean during, ’cause I’m gonna pretend you’re Alex Karras.”
If you like cartoons more than you like classic football (what is WRONG with you), “The Mad Duck” Alex Karras is a former Detroit Lions lineman who passed away late last year. You may also know him as Mongo, the guy who punches the horse in Blazing Saddles. If you’re Brandon Stroud, you know him best as George Papadapolis, Webster’s dad on the 80s sitcom ‘Webster.’ Either way, he was an awesome guy and … uh, roughly Pam’s size, I guess?
R.I.P., Alex Karras. You got to have lesbian sex with Lana Kane once. Kinda.
Episode: “Live and Let Dine” (season 4, episode 7)
What Happens: ISIS goes undercover in Animated Anthony Bourdain’s kitchen while Malory, Pam and Cheryl (Carol … whatever) try to get reservations. Pam reveals that she’s 14-grand in debt from betting on fish fights and owns a Siamese fighting fish named Jermaine. Fish fighting is a sport, right? If I can include Cheese dogfighting on ‘The Wire,’ I can include this.
Key line: This:
From the Archer Wiki:
Pam’s translator, Thuy, in the cutaway to Pam’s underground fish fights is apparently speaking Vietnamese. “Toi ca voi ban nam ngan con ca Jermaine se giet con ca cua ban!” roughly translates to “I bet you five thousand Jermaine will kill your fish.”
Pam’s in debt, but Jermaine is still alive, so … maybe I don’t understand competitive fish fighting. If I ever get another fish*, though, I’m naming it Jermaine.
*I had two goldfish when I was in the first grade. My Mom brought me home from school one day and told me that I had “two new friends sitting on my dresser at home.” I had no idea why children would be sitting on my dresser. Anyway, they gave me the fish and didn’t really give me any explanation on how to care for them other than “don’t forget to feed them!” so I basically just fed them for two days until they died. But hey, I’m not $14,000 in debt, so maybe I’m doing it right.
Episode: “Killing Utne” (season 1, episode 4)
What Happens: Yes, I picked that video because it looks like Bench’s TitanTron video.
Legendary Reds catcher Johnny Bench gets name-dropped twice in the first four episodes of ‘Archer’ … once in the pilot, and again three episodes later as an esoteric way to rag on Lana for having gigantic hands. As far as Big Red Machine references in great television shows go, it’s a lot harder to explain than Pete Rose going in head-first.
Key line: “Regale him with tales of ISIS exploits. Take his mind off Lana’s huge Johnny Benchian fingers.”
The explanation, from the extremely helpful The Ten Most Obscure ‘Archer’ Jokes Explained over at UPROXX proper:
A little extra research shed quite a bit of light on this doozy. In the pilot episode, Archer drops the phrase “Johnny Bench called” in order to let his mother know he caught her doing some fuzzy flounder fishing. But where exactly was he going with that?
Johnny Bench is a Hall of Fame catcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds. According to Adam Reed the joke was to imply the next line: “He wants his mitt back,” thus comparing Malory’s vajayjay to a well worn in catcher’s mitt. Funny. Decent. But the story continues.
After the initial episode aired Adam Reed was informed that Johnny Bench was also known for having giant fingers and was famous for a parlor trick he did where he held seven baseballs in one hand. This made for a reemergence of the Bench reference aimed at Lana Kane’s monster hands (Truckasaurus!) and her “Johnny Benchian fingers” (S01E04). I feel like the second Johnny Bench joke revises the first, like a humor time loop.
Good to know. Please think about vaginas and giant fingers while watching the following commercial.
Episode: “Drift Problem” (season 3, episode 7)
What Happens: Archer’s surprise birthday present is the ultimate spy car: a souped-up Dodge Challenger with machine guns in the grill (it makes the Mach 5 look like a vagina), an interior of rich, Corinthian leather (CORINTH IS FAMOUS FOR ITS LEATHER) and a pop-out mini-bar. It is precious to Archer’s heart, so when it is immediately stolen he goes on a RAMPAGE~ against the Yakuza to get it back. The Yakuza had nothing to do with it, of course — his mother stole it to teach him a lesson about responsibility and-or daring to be happy for five seconds — but the two sides end up in a gun battle that transitions to drift racing, a la the American classic Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift.
No, seriously, watch it. It co-stars Sailor Mars from ‘Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon’ and the fun only starts there.
Key line: “Whoa! Pam, you’re actually pretty bad-ass at this.” “Duh! Why d’ya think theycall me Shiro Kabocha?” “Yeah what does that mean, anyway?” “The White Shadow!”
It doesn’t. It means “the white pumpkin.”
Besides, it didn’t have to be the Yakuza. There was another perfectly reasonable group to blame …
… and I bet they don’t have any idea how to drift race.
Episode: “Pilot: Mole Hunt” (season 1, episode 1) (and various others)
What Happens: Sterling Archer’s sexual calling card is a red ping pong paddle, seen first accompanied by a blood-red paddle mark on a flight attendant’s ass in the pilot episode’s first post-credits scene. She (and the reference to Archer using a ping pong paddle in bed) return seven episodes later, and the paddle itself shows up whenever Archer has to group more than one of his possessions in one place. He’s used it on Carol/Cheryl, used it on Pam in outer space, and probably broke it out at least once in conjunction with the vacuum cleaner. Hey, you’re into what you’re into.
Key line: “It’s like my brain’s a tree and you’re those little cookie elves.”
Here’s a quick explanation of the increasingly-concerning ping pong paddle gag, again pulled from the Archer Wiki:
Frequently uses a red ping pong paddle during intercourse. His mother used to spank his bare bottom with a similar paddle. Some famous sadists, such as the Marquis de Sade and Aleister Crowley were also severely beaten on their bare buttocks in their formative years, which some (including themselves) theorized as being influential in their later fetish for this behaviour.
If YOU’D like to be considered on par with the Marquis de Sade, you can pick up your own Archeresque ping pong paddle here. I hear it goes great with electrified brass knuckles.
Episode: “Training Day” (season 1, episode 2)
What Happens: Malory Archer gets worried that Lana may still be in love with her son, so she tries to promote Lana’s then-boyfriend Cyril from “numbers guy” to “field agent” in an attempt to refocus Lana’s affections. Archer gets stuck with the job of training Cyril, jams a poisoned pen with a shifty top into his shirt pocket and gives him the basics of spy training — including a harpoon gun disarming in the elevator and an on-point dismissal of karate.
Key line: “Am I going to learn karate?” “The Dane Cook of martial arts? No. ISIS agents use Krav Maga. We got an ex-Mossad guy who comes in on Thursdays.” “Neato.” “Yeah. Tuesdays he comes in for a really rigorous spin class.”
So what does that make every other martial art? Tai Chi is Jeff Foxworthy, because it’s so laid-back and easy, right? Tae Kwon Do would be Carlos Mencia. Is Krav Maga Louis C.K.? Is that what the K stands for? Louis C. Krav Maga? Pretty sure Capoiera would be Katt Williams. I don’t know, it makes sense in my head.
I’m really surprised Dane Cook didn’t get his feelings hurt by this comparison and demand an apology. But I guess karate never made any jokes about the Aurora shootings.
Episode: “Heart Of Archness, Part 2” (season 3, episode 2)
What Happens: Let me see if I can get this all out … Archer goes into exile after his fiancée kills herself trying to save him from a cyborg version of his old rival Barry. Malory sends ex-ISIS agent and freelance manhunter Rip “Brock Samson” Riley to find him, which he does, on a resort island where Archer works as a bartender and bangs newlyweds. Riley tries to take him back to ISIS in an “impractical” sea plane, and Archer acts like an asshole long enough to crash it in the middle of the ocean. There Archer faces the threat of pirates, but he doesn’t think pirates actually exist, and … uh, gets captured by pirates. One thing leads to another, and Archer ends up killing the pirate captain in front of the crew, becoming the NEW captain. As the newly christened PIRATE KING, Archer overtakes the pirates’ island fortress stronghold and turns it into a goofy dorm where nobody gets paid and he gets to run around yelling WOO all the time.
Key line: “C’mon, karaoke night’s a big hit. We have an awesome feast every night … not to mention intramural lacrosse! So how can they have low morale?”
Archer celebrates the return of lacrosse to his life by yelling WOOOO repeatedly, using a butterfly net to tackle-assault people and shoving the goalkeeper into the net after scoring on him. This is similar to the karaoke and feast portions of Archer’s reign as Pirate King as well, but you know, sports. The best part is that the island’s new intramural lacrosse league is so important (and awesome~) that it gets brought back for the finale of the season-opening three-parter.
And it gets a 90s music joke!
Episode: “Heart Of Archness, Part 3” (season 3, episode 3)
What Happens: Just as our heroes are about to board a helicopter and leave Pirate Island for good, Archer finds out that the Intramural Lacrosse League Finals are happening in ten minutes. The Lax-mi Singhers have made the finals and will be facing off against Archer’s old squad, the Archers Of Loafcrosse. He’s torn between whether or not he should live or play lacrosse, but Lana announces that as his only friend, she will never be his friend again if he plays in the finals. Archer considers it, but decides to do the right thing and just hang out of the helicopter wooing at the finals as they fly over.
Things get worse when the Archers Of Loafcrosse start firing bazookas at them, but when Lana goes gun crazy and mows them down, Archer’s problem is with HER, because those were his boys.
Key line: “What the hell is your problem?” “My problem is you just Bonnie and Clyded my starting middies!”
Take it away, Archers of Loaf!
Here’s to hoping ‘Archer’ runs for a decade and I can do two more of these. It’s so difficult to write compellingly and be funny about an impossibly funny show with great writing. Just trust me … as a guy who didn’t get on the ‘Archer’ bandwagon for the longest time (because I am stupid), watch this show. It gets into your blood. It sorta sneaks up from behind and works its way inside of you.