Archer Season 3 In ReviewPosted: March 26, 2012
Archer season 3 had it’s share of highs and lows. While generally a great show, I keep on thinking that the concept of the show is a lot funnier than the show itself. It’s made by Adam Reed, and it lacks the off-the-cuffness of his earlier work Frisky Dingo. The humour occasionally becomes Arrested Development-esque, but never fully goes all the way. There are, to be honest, lots of jokes that just fall flat because they just aren’t funny.
The season started off with a bang by having Archer’s idol Burt Reynolds play a cameo, but like so many jokes this season, it was funnier in concept than in actuality. The episode seemed more concerned with idolising Burt Reynolds than anything else, and the idea that Burt Reynolds is amazing at everything he does is less funny than you might imagine. The episode did have one of my favourite jokes of the season (maybe the series, even): Archer and Reynolds are in a car chase and manage to get one of the cars to spin out and sail into the water in a 3D-animated cut-scene. They do it again to two more cars and the same clip is played, to which Archer says “wait, was that the same footage?” Classic. A later episode also featured the Trailer Park Boys playing Canadian terrorists, which was funny, too.
We saw the return of Robo-Barry this season, now in charge of the KGB: one of my favourite episodes involves the ex-boss and possible father to Archer, Colonel Jackov. There is a great scene of Jackov and Archer becoming buddies and getting closer, and you have some hope that maybe Archer will smarten up or that having a dad will make up for years of parental neglect. Archer decides to have sex with Pam instead of watch over Jackov, who has now defected to the USA, and Barry manages to track down Jackov and kill him in such a way so as to eliminate all genetic evidence of him, thus removing any possibility of Archer confirming whether or not Jackov was his dad. The episode ends on a terribly sad note as Archer realises this, and we all kind of grow as people.
We quickly lose that feeling the next episode as Jackov’s death is mentioned maybe once. Just once. Archer’s dead girlfriend (killed by Barry) is resurrected as a robot by Krieger, and in a hilarious turning-of-the-tables, Archer finds Barry and Tatiana having sex in the exact same position Barry once found Archer and his ex-fiance doing it. The episode didn’t dwell on it nor make it entirely obvious, adding to the hilarity. Archer loses Tatiana, the love of his life, and he seems a little down, but next episode, it’s lost again.
The two-part season finale was also a bit of a disappointment: again, the jokes tended to fall flat and while the plot and double-cross were both interesting, weren’t terribly well handled. I guess I expected a funnier finale, all in all, and the lack of closure on the Barry front is a little disappointing.
All in all, I think season 3 was a bit better than average. It had it’s fair share of lols but unfortunately it’s fair share of… not so lols. It’s kind of disappointing as I love H. Jon Benjamin with a firey passion that few people even get to feel once in a lifetime. The problem for me largely is the number of jokes that fall flat. That’s really the problem. I have no issue with Archer being a serious show — that’s OK by me if that’s the direction Reed wants to take it in. I appreciate the dramatic scenes in the show. But I don’t appreciate unfunny jokes. Season 4 is on its way and hopefully the show becomes what it really should be.