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‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Wraps Up Season 8
May 24, 2017  | By David Hinckley

It’s been a relief but no surprise to fans of FXX’s Archer this season that our hero Sterling Archer has been as offensive and insensitive in 1947 as he always used to be in the 2010s.

The animated spy satire finishes up its eighth season at 10 p.m. ET Wednesday after its Dallas-style dream season that vaulted a comatose Sterling back to a different style of adventure in the shadowy world of late-‘40s detective noir.

“The original plan was to pop in and out of 1947 while he’s in the coma,” says Adam Reed, who created the acclaimed long-running hit. “I watched a lot of noir films from the ‘40s, like The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, and even some that didn’t really apply, like Casablanca.”

In the end, he says, “We got so into the era that we thought we’d stay there.

“Hopping back to the present would have lost the style. We wanted to make the 1947 Archer world as real as the other Archer world.”

Reed can’t control a hint of a laugh at this point since the Archer world on the surface is only slightly more real than the world of Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.

The mitigating factoid is that the perpetually outrageous conduct and conversations on Archer are based on something much closer to actual human behavior and instincts than most of us would like to admit.

That is, of course, what makes satire funny, and why filmmakers and artists have so long used quirky animated characters to make remarks that would stop us dead if we heard a real person saying them.

“These characters often do what I would do in real life,” says Reed. “My instinctive responses to dark things are snarky, things you’d never think of saying out loud. These characters don’t have that filter.”

Archer (top and above, voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) exchanges embarrassingly intimate insults with his mother Malory (above, Jessica Walters). Lana Kane (below, Aisha Tyler) suggests watching interracial porn. Ethnic stereotypes are always on the menu.

Happily, Reed says, that’s never been a problem for FX, where Archer started, or for sister network FXX, to which it migrated for this eighth season and will stay to finish its run with Seasons 9 and 10.

“We’ve never had any pushback,” Reed says. “We’ve learned what the limits are and we handle any problems before they become problems.

“The notes we get from Standards and Practices will tell us there should only be a certain number of buttocks in one shot. Or that if there’s a naked breast shot, be sure it’s only shown from the side.

“We can’t show anything from the front. We got one funny note saying pasties cannot be flesh-colored.”

With that burden off his shoulders, Reed says he’s been free to concentrate on broader matters like where the Archer road show will go next.

The show’s first four seasons were set in the New York-based International Secret Intelligence Service, whose acronym became problematic with the rise of the real-life ISIS.

So the characters have spent the last four seasons on the move, which Reed says works out fine even in a dream season like this one.

“In Archer’s dream,” he says, “they’re just slightly skewed variations of themselves.’

He has some ideas where the last two seasons might be set but says he doesn’t want to reveal them yet.

He says the same thing about the ultimate end of the series.

“It’s pretty far down the road,” he says. “I don’t want to look so far down the road that I forget what’s next. You can’t do it as just one long episode. So right now I’m focused on Season 9.”

That said, he’s ready to give Archer any kind of post-FXX afterlife that someone wants to undertake.

“I’d love to see a sprawling Archer movie,” he says. “I think an Archer video game would be fun to play. And a reincarnation? I’d definitely be up for that. I’d love to revisit everybody down the road a little bit.”

As long as no one picks up any of those pesky filters.

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