"Archer" Episode 1: Fugue and Riffs

It has been a long, hard year waiting for “Archer” to begin its fourth season on FX, and, as with all three previous seasons, creator Adam Reed refused to pull any punches. Just to get some of you up to speed, “Archer” is an animated comedy series focused around the “greatest secret agent on the planet,” who also happens to be a womanizing, boozing loudmouth who tells everyone (even his enemies) that he is a secret agent. Back to the season four premiere!

Screenshot by Adam Parshall/Gavel Media

Screenshot by Adam Parshall/Gavel Media

If nothing else, this hysterical first episode serves to remind dedicated "Archer" viewers of almost every single recurring joke throughout the series. Let’s list a few, shall we?

1. Archer’s (H. Jon Benjamin) love of referencing old TV shows and movies. In this case, the 1970s action show “Shazam!” Archer spends about half of the episode obsessing about the name of the actor playing the lead character, and going so far as to yell “SHAZAAAAAM!” while saving his partner, Lana Kane (voiced by Aisha Tyler). While we’re on the subject of Lana…

2. Lana’s gigantic hands and overall Amazon-woman appearance. Even in his foggy frame of mind, Archer still manages to take digs at Lana’s giant hands, calling her a “She-Hulk” and “Jennifer Walters,” She-Hulk’s human alter-ego, which elicits the usual exasperated response from Lana.


3. Cheryl Tunt’s (Judy Greer) immense craziness. She was wolfing down an entire bag of LSD gummy bears, referencing ostriches, and ends the episode by having a hallucination of an ostrich talking to her. At one point, she claims to be “tripping bear balls.” Need I say more?


All in all, this is a promising start to the season. With Cyril Figgis’ (Chris Parnell) attempts at one-line comebacks, Dr. Krieger’s (Lucky Yates) insane insistence on using a “gimp suit” metaphor for his plan to get Archer’s memory back, Malory Archer’s (Jessica Walter) attempts to use Cheryl’s wealth to shmooze some free hotel rooms and Ray Gillete’s (Adam Reed) new paralysis, this episode serves as an outstanding reminder for why this show grabbed me and never let go.