I wasn’t totally sold on the first season of Archer. I was a devoted fan of creator Adam Reed’s previous TV show, the majestic Adult Swim dark comedy Frisky Dingo, a series so relentlessly quotable that my brother and I spent about a year communicating in a language composed entirely of quotes from Frisky Dingo. Archer, when it debuted, seemed like a lesser enterprise. TV history is filled with spy spoofs, and Archer‘s particular twist — imagining James Bondian thrills in the context of a workplace sitcom — seemed curiously old-fashioned, like Get Smart with more swears. But this second season has been a revelation. Much like Parks and Recreation, the show has become more of an ensemble comedy. Unlike the sweet romantics and devoted government workers of Parks and Recreation, Archer stars the absolute worst human beings on television.
The employees at spy organization ISIS are addicted to sex, drugs, breakfast cocktails, creating horrible hybrid creatures in the laboratory, and also afternoon cocktails. They are self-interested to a nearly sociopathic extent. One of them is a clone of Hitler. Even characters who used to seem vaguely noble have stood revealed as horrifically troubled people — like poor, suffering butler Woodhouse, recently revealed as a heroin addict. On last week’s episode, a cancer-stricken Archer smoked a copious amount of marijuana while vomiting through chemotherapy to continue his vengeful rampage of shooting the kneecaps off of every member of the Irish mob. By comparison, the squabbling family on Arrested Development looks like the loving family on Family Matters. Heck, they look like the freaking Care Bears.
And now, the good news: These horrible, horrible people just got renewed for another season! Join me in a moment of happiness, my fellow Archer fans, as we thank our lucky stars that we live in a world where gleefully, unrepentantly immoral characters can actually make it to a third season. After all, don’t we secretly love the worst characters the most of all?