Spoilers: If you haven’t seen the Archer season eight finale yet, you should probably do that before reading on.
Following changes of setting and task in past seasons, the descent into a ’40s noir-inspired Dreamland/coma concoction seemed almost par for the course for Archer in its eighth season. But while many likely assumed that the visit into Archer’s mind would be wrapped up in the season finale, that clearly wasn’t the case, opening up questions about the fate of certain characters and where the show goes from here.
In pursuit of answers, we checked in with Archer showrunner Adam Reed and asked whether he feels obligated to return to the present day and resolve Archer’s coma, what went into the decision to close on that unexpected scene, and whether he’ll ever be able to really give Archer the long goodbye.
When was the Dreamland story concocted and can you take me through the decision to use Woodhouse’s death and George Coe’s absence as the spark that motivated Archer this season?
We came up with this season while trying to come up with season seven. We hadn’t really addressed George Coe’s passing or the fact that we didn’t really see Woodhouse anymore on the show. But to spend the time that I wanted to with that, it was sort of too late to do that in season seven. So, the reason that season seven… a lot of the action took place, you know, on a film noir movie set, was to start laying the groundwork for a new season. So, the whole time I was working on season seven, I was scribbling notes for season eight.
I have to know, the German that Krieger whispered to the dogs at the end, what was he saying?
Oh. [Laughs.] That was a line from Where The Red Fern Grows. He was saying, now both my dogs are dead, which is from the Wilson Rawls novel and then the movie.
I’m curious about the philosophy behind it. I love comedy that makes you have to search.
Well that one, in particular, I put in the script. Normally we either do or sometimes we have to put translation subtitles on. And that one I said, “Don’t subtitle this. Let people figure out what it is.” [Laughs.]
Or cheat, like I am.
I’m sure some German speaker on Reddit will have cracked that within 30 seconds of it airing.
Can you talk a little about that operating philosophy? You guys don’t make it easy on people in terms of references. You’re not afraid to make people search their minds and obviously, there’s a trend sometimes in comedy to dumb things down and you guys don’t do that.
I don’t know why that is. If it’s just sort of being intentionally withholding and like, they can figure things out on their own. But way back, Matt Thompson and I… this was, I don’t remember if it was on SeaLab… but we got into a pretty heated door-slamming serious argument about Calabash Seafood. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Calabash Seafood. You’re probably not.
So, Calabash Seafood is from a very, very geographically tiny area, like upstate South Carolina and maybe a tiny sliver of southern coastal North Carolina. It’s just a type of fried seafood and they call it calabash. It was a phrase that I grew up with and I thought it was universally known. And Matt was like, “What is this?” And I was like, “Dude, Calabash Seafood! Everybody knows this.” And he was like, “No they don’t.” And we got into a huge argument. And at the time, there were maybe five guys that worked at the company and I called a team meeting and I was like, “Okay, we’re going down the line. Who here knows about Calabash Seafood.” And nobody did and like, I stormed out of the house and had to go for a walk. But we left it in there and then nobody, of course, knew what it was.
I think some of it might just be that: I’m gonna put in this goofy thing that nobody else knows about.