Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) might seem like the ultimate symbol of cool — he’s a spy/drug dealer/private detective who gets to travel the world, drive fast cars, and seduce beautiful women — there is another man that he measures himself against: Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds. As a lifelong superfan, Archer constantly works in references to Burt Reynolds’ movies, and both dresses the part and acts them out whenever possible.
While Archer’s undying love for Burt Reynolds stems partly from his lack of a father figure growing up, he even credits the actor for inspiring his career as a highly-trained super-spy. And why wouldn’t he? Burt Reynolds was (and is) the high water mark for rugged and effortlessly cool style and beyond that, he’s timeless. For those of you wanting to look beyond Archer for the ultimate measure of cool, here’s your Archer guide to being Burt Reynolds cool.
1. Don’t Be Afraid To Rock The Mustache
When you hear the name Burt Reynolds, chances are nearly 100% that the first thing that pops into your head is his mustache, and for good reason. Despite there being plenty of noteworthy mustaches in the peak-Reynolds era, including Tom Selleck and John Oates just to name a couple, Reynolds’ mustache was what helped define him. Hell, it even has its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (or, at least it should). While Archer’s clean-shaven most of the time, there have been instances where he’s donned a mustache of his own, particularly when wearing a disguise when going undercover. From Randy the room service guy to Bob Belcher to Randy Magnum, when Archer dons the mustache, he absolutely owns it. And even though it’s not explicitly stated, Archer’s undying fandom for Reynolds surely factors in to his favorite go-to disguise.
Ultimately, it’s not about what kind of mustache you sculpt on your upper lip, it’s about letting everyone know that it belongs on your face without question.
2. Go Shirtless When Appropriate
Archer goes shirtless far more often than he dons a mustache, but he does so with the confidence of Cosmopolitan spread Burt Reynolds, despite the actors own reservations about it later in life. It’s as though he’s a man in search of a bearskin rug for which to graze upon. Never forget that confidence is sexy. Even if you don’t have a prime era Burt Reynolds physique, you can pull this look off if you believe you can. Sterling Archer surely does.
3. Don’t Ever Pass Up The Chance For A Car Chase
Nothing could have kept Archer out of the driver’s seat when he was given the chance to speed across half the country to run point for Cheryl’s tour bus while she was embracing her alter ego/country singer Cherlene. Not as a selfless act, mind you, but so he could fully embrace his lifelong fantasy of reenacting the Burt Reynolds classic Smokey And The Bandit (or maybe it was Cannonball Run. Burt did a lot of car movies). It’s one thing to be able to reference countless Burt Reynolds classics, but another to be able to live a Burt Reynolds’ classic. And, it’s worth noting, that he does so while sporting a spectacular mustache.
The point here is that Burt Reynolds played the kind of character who got things done and he never once considered the possibility that anyone could stop him. After all, speeding across the highway in a fast car with a devil-may-care attitude is the epitome of a badass, Burt Reynolds attitude. And there are far worse attitudes you could choose to go through life with, honestly.
4. Accept Burt As Your Spirit Guide
Attaining that level of Burt Reynolds coolness means more than simply going shirtless while wearing a mustache and driving a really fast car. It’s a state of mind and a full embrace of Burt as one’s spirit guide.
Archer can reference any obscure Burt Reynolds classic in almost any situation (no matter how unhelpful it may seem at the time), like when he recalls the plot of White Lightning when stranded in a middle-eastern desert. But when he rocks Smokey wear in a chase or embodies the spirit of White Lightning‘s sequel, Gator, as he commandeers an airboat (and does so while dressed like Deliverance-era Reynolds), it feels he has his life planned out to which Reynolds film he’s going to pay tribute to next.
While it may come off as a little bit ridiculous to those who may be unfamiliar with what Burt Reynolds means, if you’re really Burt Reynolds cool, then none of this will be an issue.
5. Should You Ever Cross Paths, Keep Your Burt Reynolds Cool
While you can go through life exuding the same kind of swagger as Burt Reynolds, the ultimate symbol of cool, you can’t overstate how important it is to keep it together should you actually meet the man in person. There might not be a bigger fan in the world than Sterling Archer, but as soon as he finds himself face-to-face with Burt Reynolds, it’s like he almost goes out of his way to embarrass himself.
Don’t think of this hypothetical moment as intimidating. This is your chance to do one better than Archer himself. So, should you find yourself in the same room as your idol, keep your cool, and for crying out loud, keep the talk about your throbbing erections to yourself. After all, you’ll be lucky to get one chance to show Burt Reynolds you’ve got that Burt Reynolds cool. Don’t screw it up.