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[TV Show Review] Archer: Vice (Season 5: 2014)

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Plot Summary: The season transitions to a new format, moving away from revolving around a spy agency (after it is revealed ISIS was never sanctioned by the U.S. government), to depicting the characters embarking on a life of crime as they attempt to sell a literal, not figurative, ton (metric) of cocaine.

Created by: Adam Reed

Original Channel: FX

Runtime: 19-21 minutes per episode / 13 episodes

Main Cast:

  • H. Jon Benjamin as Sterling Archer
  • Aisha Tyler as Lana Kane
  • Jessica Walter as Malory Archer
  • Chris Parnell as Cyril Figgis
  • Judy Green as Cheryl Tunt
  • Amber Nash as Pam Poovey
  • Adam Reed as Ray Gillette
  • Lucky Yates as Doctor Krieger

Review: by The Superior Spider-Sam

It’s easy for shows that have seen at least moderate success to simply continue with what made them. They tend to stick with their bread and butter, and why not? People like it and you found a formula that works. Shows like NCISCriminal Minds, and Grey’s Anatomy come to mind, as they generally have stuck to what makes them great. However, this season of television has shown us that some shows are willing to change things up more than just a little. This goes beyond just adding a character here and there. The Good Wife and Person of Interest saw some major changes this season. Another show that had a complete overhaul was the ever-so-entertaining Archer (Vice).

I am seriously laughing while writing this and thinking back on the series of events that occurred this season. So, we saw the agents of ISIS arrested and then removed from the spy game by the will of the United States government. No longer able to operate as secret agents, what are our protagonists to do? How about try their hand at selling cocaine? 

I absolutely loved this direction for the show. These people trying to become drug dealers? It went as hilariously bad as you would think.

What I Liked:

Archer and Mallory both tried to be mastermind at one point, which failed awfully. Archer even went so far as to accidentally get them all out of the cocaine business and into the arms-dealing business.

Also, Krieger tried his hand at criminality as well. Watching him “try” to be a coke dealer was great. He had a moment where he convinced Mallory that he’d sold a huge amount of product, but in the end, we found out he had sold their cocaine to himself.

Lana was pregnant this season and on the run with her crazy cohorts. Aisha Tyler is always funny to me, but what really made her character Lana great wasn’t her own actions, but those of the people around her. Watching the level of disregard shown to Lana by Archer and the bunch had me crying with laughter at some points.

Pam had a GREAT arc this season. She constantly consumed the cocaine, which caused some major weight loss and made her appear more busty since the weight was mostly lost from her stomach. She made cocaine snowballs, cocaine cupcakes, and cocaine-seasoned food almost all the time. It came to the point where Mallory wanted to kill Pam (seeing as the cocaine failed to) for depleting the product. Hilarious!

The Archer Brand of Comedy

Archer is known for its specific humor, and you either hate it or love it (I love it). The show’s comedy isn’t situational. The characters make quips at each other and other people, as well as obscure media/entertainment references that, if you catch them, have you laughing up a lung.

Let me specifically mention a revelation: Krieger somehow has clones. Yes, there were 4 times the Krieger this season, and it was every bit as awesome as one would think. It turns out our Krieger was actually the “normal” one among the bunch.

Cheryl became Cherlene

Also playing out this season was a plot involving Cheryl’s ascension into country music super-stardom under the pseudonym “Cherlene”.

Always looking for an opportunity to make money, Mallory took on the role of manager for a modest 50% cut of  the profits earned (lol). Cherlene’s ego quickly took center stage and she was the focal point of several episodes, which was fine with me because who doesn’t love more Judy Greer?

She was their main source of income (since they were so awful at being drug dealers), so they had to more or less abide by her rules, even though she got them into some of the worst (and funniest) situations. Also, let me note that the singing voice for Cherlene was very good. Props to Jessy Lynn Martens.

“Danger Zone”

Kenny Loggins, source of Archer’s many “Danger Zone” references, made an appearance in the show and sang his famous song alongside Cherlene. It was awesome.

What I Didn’t Like:

If I had to pick something I disliked about this season, one thing would be that Cyril and Ray seemed to take a backseat for a majority of it. They were there and they definitely made me laugh sometimes, but it seemed like they (Cyril more specifically) didn’t really have roles to play until the final episodes.

Another thing I’m going to nitpick is the use of all the inside jokes and references. They make so many obscure references to movies or people. Unless you know the specifics of what they are talking about, it goes over your head and you miss it. Of course, if you catch on, I’m sure it’s hilarious.

Rating: 4.3 / 5 Stars

You can watch Archer Season 5 on Amazon Instant Watch here:

You can purchase Archer Season 4 on Amazon here:

Images Courtesy of IMDB

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