Like a straight, poorly drawn, less fluid Ambiguously Gay Duo
Did you ever buy a scarlet cummerbund and matching tie, figuring that you might actually be attending black tie (or, rather, "scarlet tie") affairs on a regular basis? Did you ever think that everything in your life would fall into place once you got a Jaguar and, you know, learned how to drive? Well, I can't help you to score the invites, or to get your hands on a Jag, but I can help you fill up an empty hour or two with a funny, "adult" cartoon series with a visual style that's at least a decade ahead of Clutch Cargo.1
Archer, if you're still with me, is a James Bond clone, a fifties dude up to his chiseled buttocks in post-millennial bullshit, political correctness gone wild. First of all, the mother he works for is, you know, his mother,3) which leads to frequent difficulties,4 plus he has to be nice to "gays," that is to say, "homos," who seem to be everywhere these days.5 Oh, yeah, and if you dare to lay a finger on some 16-year-old, lollypop-lickin' Lolita who just blew up her training bra, well, it's ten to twenty the hard way.
Fortunately, the private spy business pays pretty well, and Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) enjoys a sweet penthouse suite, complete with an aged retainer Woodhouse8 (George Coe), where he can fuck Irish whores to his heart's content, which takes up most of his time.
Yes, times are tough, but Archer still has his rod — in fact, he still has both of them, and when push comes to shove, he's not afraid to use them. Bang, bang, bang, bang, eh? No, it's not art, but until you get your hands on that Jag, and that driver's license, it will have to do.
The "incorrect" gags on Archer are often predictable, but, trust me, sit through an episode of Brothers and Sisters first and you'll be on the floor.
An online Archer fan describes the animation style as ligne claire ("clear line"), a turn of phrase that was probably never applied to Clutch, but the big guy must still have his fans, because he's out on DVD. (In appropriate Clutch fashion, there are two different sets labeled The Complete Collection, Volume 1.) The Clutch cartoons featured "syncro-vox technology" — an actor's mouth somehow superimposed over a static drawing, to save the ligne claire illustrators the burden of having to illustrate speech. [↩]
- I must confess that the "farrier" joke is pretty forced, turning on the eponymous Archer's confusion of that word with "furrier," and how many people know what a farrier is, and don't know what a furrier is? I knew that "farrier" was, you know, rural, but that was all. [↩]
- Some seriously layered secret agent in-jokes here. James Bond worked, of course, for "M," which is apparently what Ian Fleming called his mother. And Peel and Steed worked for a dude codenamed "Mother." (Actually, Emma only worked for Mother once, in her farewell episode, the one in which she's replaced by Tara King, played by Linda Thorson. [↩]
- "That's classic you, Mother!" is Archer's perennial whine, whenever he finds himself enmeshed in yet another of Mommy's endless Oedipal mind games. [↩]
- Seriously, is this the U.S. of A or the U.S. of Gay? It's hard to tell. [↩]
- There's probably an in-joke here, somewhere, but I totally don't get it. [↩]
- Matt Thompson and Adam Reed can definitely talk the talk when it comes to la vida loca. See the "Honeypot" episode that concluded season 1. Do Matt and Adam live on the same block as South Park gay-boys Trey Parker and Matt Stone? Probably. [↩]
- Farriers turn up a lot in the early novels of P. G. Wodehouse (pronounced "Woodhouse"), so I guess this is an in-joke. [↩]