‘Archer’ Reference of the Week: A Lord Byron Back Tattoo

Once again, “Archer” lovingly scratched my belly by integrating obscure and highbrow references into its jokes. Last night’s episode (S2E10, “El Secuestro”) delivered key background information on two characters that laid the framework for this week’s Easter eggs. When kidnappers mistakenly grab homely HR director Pam, we learn that she can take a beating because she paid for college by winning underground MMA fights. The payoff for this comes in the final scene, when Pam whips off her shirt to reveal a back tattoo, and the text is the third verse of Lord Byron’s totally badass “The Destruction of Sennacherib.” You can read the whole thing here, but this is the applicable section:

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,

And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:

And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,

And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

If that’s not enough for you, ditzy receptionist Cheryl was revealed to be an heiress to the fictional Tunt railroad fortune, and Archer became enthralled by her pet ocelot, Babou (“You guys, look at his little spots! Look at his tufted ears!”). Incidentally, Babou was also the name of the ocelot that Salvador Dalì kept as a pet.

Why would the writers give Cheryl’s ocelot the same name as Salvador Dalì’s? Well, why would Cheryl have an ocelot at all? Because it’s funny. The jokes aren’t predicated on viewers understanding the extra references to Dalì and Byron; the references just add a layer of depth that you don’t get when you watch, say, “Two and a Half Men.” (Also on FX. Thanks for that one, John Landgraf.)

[Thanks to @edsbs, @XmasApe, and @Tom Fornelli]

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