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Archer’s Adam Reed on “phrasing,” film noir, and the return of Barry

Screenshot: Archer, "The Figgis Agency" (FX)

Den Of Geek is currently doing another of its behind-the-scenes TV walkthroughs, this time for the just-completed seventh season of FX’s animated action-comedy Archer. As regular viewers well know, this was a dramatic, eventful, innuendo-filled year for Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and his ex-ISIS colleagues. Their days as spies and cocaine dealers now apparently behind them for good, they re-made themselves as private detectives in Los Angeles, operating under the aegis of The Figgis Agency, nominally headed by pedantic, perverted accountant Cyril (Chris Parnell). Archer committed more firmly than ever to the joys of serialized storytelling this year, too, with a film-noir-style plot unfolding over the course of the entire season. The title character memorably began and ended the season floating unconscious in a swimming pool surrounded by his own blood, seemingly dead. Where can the show go from there? Series creator Adam Reed explains his game plan, episode by episode, to Daniel Kurland. It’s a nice supplement to our own Walkthrough, which covered the first four episodes of this season.

The apparent Sunset Blvd.-esque death of Sterling Archer was always the jumping-off point for the seventh season, Reed explains. There wasn’t a backup plan. As for the switch from espionage adventures to film noir detective tales? “After 75 episodes, it was becoming more and more difficult to come up with spy stories that we hadn’t already done.” What about those dazzling Hollywood visuals from the most recent batch of episodes? “We’ve been lucky to receive budget increases from the good folks at FX.” Other revelations: Even Reed doesn’t know whether Ms. Tunt’s name is Cheryl or Carol. Her name is written as “Cheryl/Carol” in the scripts. The recurring character of Barry (voiced by Aqua Teen Hunger Force veteran Dave Willis) will definitely return, even though every appearance he makes on the show seems like his farewell. “If Barry’s not in at least one episode per season, Dave Willis eggs my house,” Reed claims. Reed also admits that “phrasing” is a ripoff of “That’s what she said.” Oh, and not even Reed gets all of the obscure references his characters make.

The series continues here with a discussion of the two-part, clown-intensive “Bel Panto” saga as well as the farcical and oddly poignant “Double Indecency.” Even by Archer standards, that last episode was particularly sex-obsessed. “Sex usually isn’t that far removed from whatever they’re doing,” Reed explains.


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