Friday, February 7, 2014

"Brokedown Merry-Go-Round" Show of the Week: Archer, "House Call"

Archer's wondering how to get Christina Hendricks to co-star with Pam in this tit bondage porno.
Every Friday in "'Brokedown Merry-Go-Round' Show of the Week," I discuss the week's best first-run animated series episode I saw. "Brokedown Merry-Go-Round," a two-hour block of original score tracks from animated shows or movies, airs weekdays at 2pm Pacific on AFOS.

When FX's Archer was a spy comedy, it got lots of comedic mileage out of placing its immature and dickish characters in foreign locations--globetrotting is a requirement for a spy show, even ones like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Alias that didn't have the budget or the balls to leave Hollywood and stuck to faking foreign locations on a backlot--but sometimes, an Archer episode would confine itself to just one location, and the results were even more hysterical. I'm thinking the dinner party in "Lo Scandalo" or ISIS headquarters in last season's "Legs."

This week's "House Call"--which sees Archer and his cohorts attempting to handle an unexpected visit from the show's new recurring antagonist, Agent Holly (Gary Cole), while dealing with the hot mess that is Pam--confines itself to one location as well: Cheryl/Carol/Cherlene's family's estate. When Archer's in swinging-door farce mode, the dialogue becomes even more rapid-fire than it already is, and "House Call" is full of many quotable bits during its rapid-fire exchanges. The episode also proves how much of a great creative decision Archer's recent transformation into "Archer Vice" has been. In "House Call," we see how Archer and Lana's career change from spies to drug dealers adds both comedic and dramatic tension to the kind of storyline a lot of sitcoms tend to whiff at when it's thrown at them and that Archer hopefully won't whiff at--the pregnancy storyline--and we also see how the presence of cocaine has given a new sense of purpose to several of the other characters, particularly Pam and Cyril.

Pam's gotten addicted to munching on cocaine cakes she's been making out of the new cartel's stash, and while she's lost some weight from the coke, it intensifies her She-Hulkish side and turns her into, as an impressed and mildly aroused Cheryl puts it, "Queen Kong." I liked Pam's brief phase as an ISIS agent in the field, but I think I like her "Queen Kong" phase even more, as long as it results in sight gags like my favorite one in "House Call," in which a tranq dart meant for the rampaging Pam lands in Malory's neck and an apparently immune Malory continues drinking her cocktail. Cyril, who finds his high not in eating blow or snorting it but in trotting out legalese, morphs from dorky accountant to dorky yet somehow badass attorney. Hearing Chris Parnell go toe-to-toe over legal procedure with the guy who used to voice Harvey Birdman made this former Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law viewer's day.

An episode of the old FX show Nip/Tuck introduced viewers to men who have a fetish for pregnant ladies, and Archer gets a similar introduction here to "preggo porn" in "House Call." Archer's reaction to preggo porn is the same one I had when I first caught that Nip/Tuck preggo fetish episode: "Oh, goddammit! That can't be a thing!" Hopefully, the sight of Archer faltering over its transformation into "Archer Vice" like Weeds did when it escaped from Agrestic won't become a thing either, as long as we wind up with solidly funny episodes like "House Call."

Memorable quotes:
* "I just don't want her to escape. You know how strong she is. Might as well be green and half-deaf."

Egg facial porn
* Cyril: "He can't come inside without a warrant... Well, unless you invite him in." Archer: "He's not a vampire, idiot. Plus it's daytime."

* Woodhouse: "I invited him in." Malory: "Woodhouse!" Holly: "And once you do that, you know, we are in. Not unlike vampires." Archer to Cyril: "See?"

* "How do you not know the different kinds of porn?" "Because I have sex with actual women, Cyril! My girlfriend's not equal parts the Internet, a tube of Kentucky jelly, self-loathing and a sock!"

* Archer to Lana, right after overhearing Holly shouting, "I'm a federal agent, and I'm coming! By God, I am coming!": "Are we not saying 'phrasing' anymore?"

* "What's this door made out of, mithril?"

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