I suppose Archer on FX is popular enough to make for decent posting material. Given that I don't usually do much in the way of talking about movies or TV, I might be somewhat rusty here.

When Archer was announced I was beyond excited, but at the same time I understood that I would be disappointed by it. The previous show from this production crew, Frisky Dingo, remains my favorite show of all time and possibly the best thing that has been on TV since Fawlty Towers. What Frisky Dingo was not, however, was popular. It limped through two seasons on Cartoon Network and then suffered the fate of all things that are too bizarre to attract a wide, mainstream audience. So when Archer was announced, I realized that creator Adam Reed (the voice of Agent Ray Gillette in the new series) would not want to end up being cancelled again. The show would aim for a wider audience. Meaning it would probably be a little dumbed down. More importantly, even if it was great it would probably fail to live up to my expectations. So I knew part of me would be disappointed no matter what.

Overall I enjoy the show. It's funny. For the first few episodes I said "This is no Frisky Dingo" quite a bit. Eventually I made peace with that.
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Something about it has always nagged me, though, as I've kept up with these first three seasons. It wasn't until the last few episodes that I finally put my finger on it (snicker). It's the writing. And the writing isn't bad, per se. It's just lazy. Really lazy.

Two things have stood out throughout the series. One, it's full of anachronisms. The setting, particularly the time period, of this universe are never adequately explained or established.
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The creators wanted a Cold War era Bond-like spy story. Then they realized that it would be way easier to write the storyboards with things like the internet, cell phones, and other modern technology/plot devices that promote narrative efficiency. So we're constantly made to realize how awkward this universe is, with plots about billionaire Videotex magnates, Soviet generals, and characters using cell phones. Maybe you don't notice it, but your brain does. Even if it doesn't bother you explicitly, it makes everything feel slightly off and unbelievable.

Second, the humor is overwhelmingly lowbrow. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good dick or fart joke. Crude is funny. There's very little other than crude humor, though, except for the occasional and brief reference to some piece of historical arcana. The laziness is also apparent in the frequency with which "shit" is uttered in every episode. The viewer can almost picture the writers saying, "Hey, we can say 'shit' on this network! Let's say it as much as possible so it's really edgy!" In some episodes the humor is derived almost entirely from the use of language that isn't permitted on other networks. Yes, hearing Pam say "I'm like a Chupacabra, but for dicks" is funny. But is that all you've got?

The lazy writing is evident in other places as well. In the two part finale to Season 3, the action takes place on a space station that has gravity. Why? Because they probably realized it would be easier to write and animate if they didn't have to incorporate weightless physics. Is the presence of gravity in space a big deal? Of course not. It only bugs me because it's so apparent why they wrote it that way. Furthermore, the series' most glaring weakness and biggest single difference from Frisky Dingo is the lack of a villain. Archer, like Xander Crews before him, needs someone with whom he can banter and develop a rivalry. Instead the protagonists just go on random adventures every week with a different "antagonist" who barely qualifies as such. Archer is pitted against characters about whom we know nothing and thus care little. Why? Again, it's easier than writing a plot with continuity across episodes. As it is, the writers have a cheap way to put the characters in ridiculous, random, and interesting settings (Monaco! Pirate island! Space!) without having to write them into the storyline. There is no storyline.

It's a funny show. I watch it and I intend to continue watching it. Regardless, I won't stop feeling that kind of disappointment that comes from seeing something that's OK and knowing that with a little effort it could be great.

52 thoughts on “NPF: ARCHERY”

  • I actually like shows that DON'T go for a long, arching storyline. Too often they interrupt what I like in the show to advance the story with yet another "Oh, I love my wife, but does she love ME" kind of moments. Having a show that is pretty random and non interconnected can result in some hit and miss, but doesn't make you feel REQUIRED to watch the entire show from start to finish in order to miss out on the great moments.

    Archer's humor does tend too much towards the "lets make fart jokes" that all too many shows nowadays are leaning on for humor. The original south parks I liked before they decided to insult one group or another each week. The Family Guys before they decide to be so maddeningly rude to Megan. House before they decided to give one character or another a love interest. Bones before this "Is my child going to be handicapped!" stuff. Burn Notice before the ex-corporation psychiatrist forcing Michael to do bad things. Psych before Shawn HAS to have a girlfriend. Eureka before every damn character has to shack up with every other character.

    Is a non-sexual, non-canon, non-storyline based episode once in a while TOO bad a thing?

  • I don't even know where to begin. This is horrible.

    The anachronisms are intentional. It's a joke, they wanted the show to be in every yet no specific time period. It had nothing to do with making the animation easier.

    Although the show has it's fair share of crude jokes, it's still one of the most literate shows on television. You don't hear stuff from Bartleby the Scrivener or see a Chekov's gun reference in Two and a Half Men. And you toss aside the "historical arcana" like it shouldn't count toward the show's collective IQ.

    I also don't understand the need for strict serialization. There's a place for episodic TV, and besides, Archer does carry over quite a bit of it's plot lines.

    Archer does have a villain, Barry. You can complain about how good a villain he is, but he's there.

    And as for the space station, I found the artificial gravity to be a dig at how pretty much every science fiction movie or TV show ever made except 2001 and Babylon Five have simply hand waved the problem by claiming artificial gravity with no explanation. Aside from that, why would weightlessness be any harder to animate? If anything, the characters are less dynamic, floating instead of running which necessitates animating less limb articulation, etc.

  • He speaks ill of the Archer! BLASPHEMY! Let him be taken to the public square and struck with nail-studded softballs until we grow weary of that sport!

    Here's the thing: I came to Archer before I hit Frisky Dingo, and my palate tells me the opposite–namely, that F.D., while subversive and often brilliant, is too often plagued by an "Oh Fuck It" approach to story-telling. Yes, there's an arc, but it's not one that has any investment in character or change. (Note: I am not complaining about this.) Characters who aren't working any more, or who have been painted into a corner, are killed. Plotlines that have gone nowhere, are abandoned. And while the humor isn't orifice-based, it *does* go for shock value–or just plain non-sequitorial what-the-fuckery a lot of the time. (Also: Not complaining.)

    I love Archer–which is why it pains me to consider that you might just be right, goddammit. Reason being, not that the writing is "lazy" per se (Adam Reed has all but said that mixing up 60s-era chic/politics and current tech gives them more to make fun of, visually and pop-culturally–though he *did* add "We're lazy," so it's not as though he's in denial), but it's got a shelf life.

    Why isn't The Simpsons funny anymore? Because after 500 (mutherfucker!) episodes, the characters have nothing new to say. There is no depth of their perspectives that we have not plumbed–they cannot surprise us anymore. They can only gratify our expectations. And after 500 (holy Christ-cakes-and-biscuits!) episodes, eh, we're plenty gratified.

    Archer's gonna hit the same wall, and hit it a lot faster. Fewer characters, shallower characters–they're still funny, and saying really funny and quotable things (every episode with Pam/Krieger is good for at least three solid carry-aways), but in a couple more seasons, we'll have heard it all. And then it'll become de rigeur to mock it for being a shadow of its former self, and, well, we all know what happens then. (It gets made into a live-action summer movie with Adam Sandler and the nearest available Wilson brother–zing!)

    So yeah, you're probably right, and I wish you weren't. Shit-snacks.

  • I have to side with Jason here. "Lazy" is one of the last things I'd call Archer's scripts. "Fucking hilarious" is one of the first. It's also got the best voice cast in the history of animated TV that isn't The Simpsons.

  • Last year at Comic-Con, Adam Reed specifically said that the anachronisms are not jokes, but were included to make it easier to write the scripts. It's on the DVD extras.


  • A series that has established literally dozens of call-back jokes is not lazy.

    A series that has created eight or nine characters with their own distinct comic personalities is not lazy.

    A series that somehow manages to find three seasons worth of fresh comic material out of a genre that is sixty-ish years old is not lazy.

    You don't have to say Archer is the best comic series on TV right now or anything, but the criticisms you've made are really silly. I'd say your sense of humor's headed toward . . . the danger zone

  • duck-billed placelot says:

    I love how you equate creating high-quality, high-brow, complex stories with 'a little effort'. Whitney could be Dostoyevsky if the writing staff took slightly shorter lunches?

  • If I hadn't already looked it up, I would have SWORN that Archer was made by the same guys as the Venture Brothers.

  • How could you write a bondian spy genre spoof without the USSR and the KGB? Even if they did do it out of laziness, it would have been a mistake to *not* do it for any reason.

    The humor is certainly crude, but I actually find it very clever. Clever and crude are not mutually exclusive.

  • Historical accuracy is going out the window these days. Remember we are living in the generation that plays Call of Duty: Black Ops, where the Vietcong were bloodthirsty terrorists who occasionally had red-dot sights on their RPKs or force Americans to play Russian roulette a la Deer Hunter(DRAMATIZATION! MAY NOT HAVE HAPPENED!), and the US sent spec ops soldiers(including a black guy) smack dab into the middle of the USSR to destroy an entire military base(no shit, one mission actually takes place in Bashkortostan; when the Soviet Union existed, one did not simply walk into Bashkortostan). The whole idea behind Black Ops is "who the fuck cares if this is absolutely insane, this shit looks cool!"

    Trivial? Not really. As a participant in many historical/political debates(I am actually an amateur scientist trolling the internet in order to discover a way to convert pure butthurt into a source of free energy), I can say that many people construct arguments based on movies. For example, one fellow made a claim which was obviously based on that documentary Rambo III. The overall effect of this is ever-increasing stupidity. For example, after explaining to one individual that the Soviet Union is no more, he replied that I was in fact a "fucking idiot", because it was the USSR, not the Soviet Union, which ended. The individual dared me to go to Moscow and talk such nonsense. Strange challenge, seeing that I live in Moscow and everyone talks this "nonsense" about the Soviet Union ending. Perhaps that individual was also "educated" by Call of Duty?

    On the other hand, I think it is ok sometimes to use anachronisms for humorous effects, but I am apprehensive about this. If you are going to spoof a particular genre, it maks sense to stick to that genre. Introducing contemporary technology smacks of Familyguyism- i.e. name-dropping and current references thrown in for the teenagers.

    That brings me to the point from a commentator I wanted to address, regarding the Simpsons. Obviously the problem of not having much new to say is a contributing factor. However, up to about season 20 I still saw the Simpsons as quite hilarious. If you know the history of the Simpsons you have doubtless heard about their ongoing battles with the network execs, which have often been satirized in many episodes(for example, the Poochy episode was actually a reference to a real event). One concession the execs were able to force through on several occasions involved the running time of the show. I don't remember when, but at some point the show was reduced to 18 minutes, which I believe included theme song and credits. This seriously crippled the writers' ability to insert sub-plots. Great Simpsons episodes typically had an A and B story. If you watch one of these great episodes(e.g. A Streetcar named Marge, Season IV), the B story(Maggie escaping from the Ayn Rand daycare center) seems quite long. Yet it probably takes about two minutes of running time in total.

    The other issue is Familyguyism; I noticed this during the movie, where most references were rather contemporary pop culture-related, and only one historical reference appeared only for a second. Hollywood makes films primarily for the foreign market, and they LOVE teenagers; it doesn't take a detective to figure out what happened in the production of that film. Jokes which reference Teddy Roosevelt or Watergate don't resonate with teenagers or non-Americans; Spider-pig does. When I watched the season after this, I noticed more Familyguyism. Not only were there more references to recent pop-culture, such as recent films, but these references were often totally out of place and not integrated in the story in any way. They were simply there.

    Familyguyism will be the death of American comedy. It's political jokes are ham-fisted, predictable middle-of-the-road liberalism(an air of progressivism amid misogynistic and homophobic jokes), it's not edgy, because it insults people who don't watch the show and often attacks strawmen(ditto South Park), and it is packed with random references to very common, often recent pop-culture memes. The Simpsons would reference classic films, often integrating the joke into the normal dialog or plot. Family Guy will have a character set the joke up with "You think THAT'S bad…." aaaaaaaand…..CUE STAR WARS REFERENCE! In fact I watched "Seth MacFarlane's Comedy whatever-the-fuck" and while he sticks to what he could do best, short sketches, he fucks it all up by using a title card which explains what the following sketch will involve. This is the equivalent to Peter Griffin saying, "Remember that time I went to Subway with INSERT POP STAR RECENTLY IN THE NEWS OR INTERNET CELEBRITY?" It is also the equivalent of saying, "Hey guys! Wouldn't it be funny if X did Y? Wouldn't it?"

    If you want to see the opposite of that, watch Monty Python or Big Train. British sketch comedy doesn't give you any warning when they go absurd. The sketch begins and you understand that this is happening, deal with it. Your brain doesn't have time to consider if the concept would be funny or not, and that's what makes something funny- it subverts logic. The Simpsons, also often inspired by Monty Python, often did the same. Jokes, absurd or otherwise, just happened. References were made, often to quite obscure cultural or historical sources, and if you didn't get the joke, too fucking bad. Read a damned book.

    In conclusion, fuck Seth McFarlane, fuck Family Guy, and fuck every TV/screen/video game writer who panders to teenagers.

    Those with butthurt may begin venting now. Prototype collector/converters are standing by.

  • Bullshit; the funniest thing ever on television is the single season of the glorious anti-hipster screed that is Nathan Barley.

  • Bullshit; the funniest thing ever on television is the single season of the glorious anti-hipster screed that is Nathan Barley.

    I didn't think Nathan Barley translated that well from his appearances in the TVGoHome listings, which used to make me laugh until I cried.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    In some sort of weird protest, I haven't watched a comedy show since "ALF" was taken off the air (even though the plot-lines for that show got more and more idiotic as time went on).

    On secret agents, no one will ever be able to beat "Get Smart" as far as comedy.
    And for the non-comedy approach, no one will ever be able to beat "The Prisoner."

    Yeah, I know I sound like that old geezer, talking about how nothing is as good now as it once was, but, hey, what can I tell y…
    Sorry, where was I?
    I forgot…

  • The historical anachronisms in " Archer" threw me at first, but then Mel Brooks' " History Of The World Part I" isn't a reliable guide to ancient Rome, either.
    Both manage to be fucking hilarious.
    Now shut up so I can get back to " Terms Of Enrampagement ".

  • OliverWendelHolmslice says:

    Ed, seriously, call Kenny Loggins; your old man critique has entered the DANGER ZONE.

  • I give a hearty heh indeed to Grumpygradstudent's observation (at least what I think he was getting at). Venture Brothers is one of my favorite shows, and though it has much more to do with the quality of writing and the development of characters over seasons, one of things that first drew me to it was the show's ability to mix current day with cold war era "arcana." To me it always felt like an alternate universe where you could never pinpoint the exact year they were in.

  • It's not what the author meant to say or why she said it, it's what the author said.

    To that end, I like the anachronisms. There's something about a 13 inch monochrome computer from the early 80s on the desk while Archer puts on his slim night vision googles and talks on a cell phone. It is a cognitive dissonance that I can appreciate and enjoy.

  • I don't watch DVD extras or interviews with writers or producers, because I don't care enough. So I don't know what Reed or others might have said about why they made the choices they made with "Archer".

    But for me, it mostly works. I love that the show is a stylistic mix of '60s spy cliches and modern tech and pop culture references. '60s pop-culture spies were cool and altogether outrageous; modern spies (even the "good guys") torture people and run prison camps. (I know that real '60s spies did bad stuff too; I'm talking about how they were portrayed in popular culture.) It's fun to do a parody of James Bond and Danger Man; a parody of that asshole Jack Bauer would just be depressing.

    I think there's a little bit of "Seinfeld" in "Archer", honestly – a show where the characters (almost) never learn, grow, or change. You tune in to watch them do their thing, be who they are, take two steps forward and three steps back, and generally screw up their lives. Backstory and character development on "Archer" always feels a little weird and strangely important because it is in such a contrast to the rest of the show. Remember learning about how Mallory first met Woodhouse? "Oh", I thought, "they're having a sincere moment. How weird."

    With respect to Arslan's comment, above, I like "Archer" best when it is at its least "Family Guy"-ish.

  • You could read Douglas Coupland's review of "Gods Without Men" in the Grey Lady and realize that Archer is Translit: literature that is independent of chronology. It's the hot new thing. See, not lazy: groundbreaking. As for what Reed said, do you really trust a comedy writer to open up honestly about their process?

    I wouldn't confuse goofy with lazy. Archer doesn't have the incredibly overlapping structures of, say, Arrested Development, where storylines and jokes were so cross hatched and layered as to be dizzying. But holy shit snacks, I like a show that can both reference Orwell and make fun of the reference to Orwell.

  • Family Guy fucking sucks. Always has. Talk about lazy. "Remember that time when. . ." + insert lame-ass super obvious pop culture reference (not too old so the kids get it)+ try and turn it into a contemporary political reference + annoying Peter laugh + weak attempt to be edgy and offensive and repeat for 22 minutes.

    I like Archer's non-linear story line. I think it's better when it doesn't do story arcs. I agree with the Seinfeld comparison. What's hilarious is that not a single character changes. Sure, in small ways, but there's no "lessons" or "morals." Stuff just happens and it's hilarious. Plus, I love Krieger.

  • I was just chuckling to the latest episode of Archer last night. It gives me faith that we've not completely succumbed to the PC BS that has completely emasculated many men.

  • "Maybe you don't notice it, but your brain does."

    Harry Plinkett reference without proper citation. -1.

  • Elle – it's for me the entire world of vacuous, unaware folks that makes Nathan Barley sing for me:

    "You read them both, to find out which is the best one."
    "Yeah, and then you just read the good one."

  • I've never seen FD, but I loved Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist. And after being a fan of his work for 17 years, I still can't separate H. Jon Benjamin's voice from the Ben Katz character.

    I'm glad I'm not alone in considering Family Guy pretty much the end of comedy.

  • @tbert:
    Nathan Barley was a magical thing. I'm surprised that piece of shit Gavin McInnes isn't still howling in fetal positon.

  • Halloween Jack says:

    This sort of critique would be more appropriate if Archer were being promoted on the same basis that fans of the show Firefly promoted it: as the best show ever in its genre, bar none. (Firefly wasn't only not the best science fiction show ever, it wasn't even a reasonably good attempt at a space western, the usual fall-back position for "browncoats" defending it; for one thing, ask yourself how many westerns are set aboard a boat.) If someone tries to rank it with a serious spy thriller, or even a reasonably competent Bondesque gals-n-gadgets epic, then you might have a point. For what it is, it's quite good, just as Firefly was a mostly-enjoyable exercise in using stock characters as springboards for Whedon's eminently quotable dialogue. I'm sorry that your favorite cartoon got cancelled, but bringing a Big Bad into their new show won't bring the old one back.

  • Archer is entertaining, Frisky was better. But I find myself completely loving Archer's slot-mate, Unsupervised. Simply brilliant. Also, yes on Venture Bros. and Delocated.

    RE: the previous post about Firefly, THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS, BROTHER! And, also, you apparently never have watched the show if you think it's possibly a spy thriller.

  • it's for me the entire world of vacuous, unaware folks that makes Nathan Barley sing

    In the UK the pre-Barley hype was so overblown that it was almost doomed to fall short of the expectations for it. I love Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker both, and there was some nice details in Nathan Barley, but for me it demonstrated the difficulty of satirising youth culture. I'm entirely willing to believe that it's better in translation, where the context is kind of universal, but the details aren't being measured against a very familiar reality.

    For what it is, it's quite good, just as Firefly was a mostly-enjoyable exercise in using stock characters as springboards for Whedon's eminently quotable dialogue.

    This, exactly. I thought Firefly was okay, but it mostly resonates in my head as the thing Joss Whedon was doing when he should have been focusing on Buffy and Angel.

  • PS: I didn't hate Firefly like I HATED Buffy.

    Heresy. I'm getting the sense that we shouldn't ever hang out and watch TV, Acer.

  • Any show that contains the line "That chick was like the Pele of anal!" is automatically forgiven for any and all anachronisms.

  • Loved Dr. Katz

    Liked Buffy. Loved Firefly (but my PhD is in science fiction literature so that's a given)

    And I kinda love Unsupervised right now.

    I enjoy Archer. It's kind of like Ugly Americans for me. I don't expect much out of it and find myself pleasantly surprised.

    I even enjoy Bob's Burgers for the one or two great moments it generates.

    I am devoted to South Park while my affair with the Simpsons ended four years ago.

  • Forgot to add, Dilbert was a favorite of mine for a few years. And Code Monkeys as well. I wish Code Monkeys was still on.

  • The first ten or eleven years of "The Simpsons" is the greatest show ever. The reason the show isn't nearly as good anymore is because of the show being too cognizant of "Family Guy." The early seasons of the show gave a shit about the characters. Even second-tier characters like Moe, Flanders, Burns, and Krusty were given giant chunks of the episode. "Family Guy" doesn't give a fuck about characterization, just shoving as many irrelevant cutaways as possible into 21 minutes of TV. During the prime of "The Simpsons" the cutaways always moved the show along well and didn't pander. The references were sometimes obscure, but you didn't necessarily have to be well-versed on Hitchcock or Dickens to enjoy the joke.

  • eh… when I watched Frisky for the first few episodes I was disappointed that it wasn't Sealab 2021. You carry your (probably overly rosy) memories as expectations into an artist's new endevour, and you're probably going to be disappointed. The bigger trend is that if you're not going to have a sympathetic character (and Adam Reed hasn't since Dr. Quinn) then the appearance of being a 'different' show is going to have to carry a lot of the appeal. That is really difficult to sustain over the long haul.

  • Spy Groove was okay, but too many pop culture references. What about Undergrads? I also liked Arrgh, It's The Mr. Hell Show, but Clone High's one season run was the greatest cartoon series ever, at least until season 4 of Venture Bros aired.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    My favorite line from Archer is, "Hey, where are we? Six Flags over the shitty part of Chernobyl?"

  • @Ed: Nice burnerang on the lazy.
    @Arslan: Awesome post.
    @comrade X: "Terms…" is likely my favorite episode thus far.

    I lurve the Archer, and I feel it has the best cast of characters of which I am aware on TV right now. Funny is funny. The Three Stooges didn't even bother. It's the same shit every time, and it's fuckin' funny. I don't bitch at my zippo for not being an undersea blowtorch that tells time in five places, and I gives very little shits what creators/writiers say about their motivations. My reaction is more important…to me, subjectively…than their intent.

    We don't necessarily have to dissect it; it's not World War I or the Roman Empire. Dissertations written about animated dick-joke shows, even highbrow ones like The Simpsons, are to me not worth the effort most of the time. No one lives or dies on the basis of a cartoon. If they did, then it'd be worth it to fall on swords over interpretation and cultural paradigms and junk. Also, speaking of junk, Joss Wheden's junk is the Radiohead of TV for me: I get that friends of mine whose taste I respect love it, but I found all that stuff (Firefly, Buffy, etc.) unwatchable. At least Radiohead passes for decent background music…to me, subjectively…

  • Just a suggestion: if you want people to take your opinion about a show seriously, complaining about the lack of a recurring villain then discussing an episode in which the show's actual, existing recurring villain APPEARS isn't going to help.

    And the anachronisms being lazy thing is so shit-stupid I don't even know how to deal with it; monochrome monitors and sixties clothing don't make the show easier to write in any way that I can recognize and if the writers claimed it did I'd say they were taking the piss waaaaaay before I took them seriously.

  • No one lives or dies on the basis of a cartoon.

    Tell that to the editor of the Jyllands-Posten.

    Of course, if dissertations were passed or failed on the basis of life-or-deathiness, there would be far fewer degrees conferred.

  • Thank God somone finally mentioned SeaLab 2021. I couldn't sleep last night thinking about this haughty Frisky Dingo sniffing and no love for, "I have the strength of a bear that has the strength of two bears!"

    Anyway, I just wanted to point out to Ed that the space station in the last two episodes of Archer was CLEARLY rotating, hence the gravity. So you can't lay that sin at their door.

    I'm not necessarily disagreeing that Archer has some lazy writing, but to me they bring the laughs enough that I'm a committed viewer. See also Philadelphia, Always Sunny in.

  • lord carnage says:

    we were having this long discussion the other day about animation and cartoons. it was, in a sense, funny watching my 40-something friends talk about how none of the current shows are as good as tom and jerry and the old loony tunes. i just laughed out loud. they made what was a surprisingly compelling case that the origin of much of those cartoons were in vaudeville sensibilities where jokes had a build up, and even a cartoon full of pratfalls had a story arc and left a solid impression. sure it wasn't all "what's opera doc" but it was all pretty interesting.

    modern animation seems to be either blazing new paths, or exploding into vectors that want to get away from the past as fast as possible. while i agree with everything you said about frisky dingo (a good 5% of the total web views on the adult swim site for each episode are surely from my IP address) i am increasingly concerned about where some of these things are going.

    would like to cite two examples. the first is the lorax and the second is regular show. guessing most of you may have seen lorax. when i left the theatre, i was stunned. people asked me how it was and i was babbling. "supposed to be ecological manifesto, but instead, it's some kid on a motorbike desperately trying to get a seed because this totally hot chick will be like totally happy if he gets it for her and there might be smootches. oh yeah, and clean air and water and stuff." for me, this modern animation (jimmy neutron, et. al.) gets completely wound up in CGI rendering to the point where plots are not secondary, but tertiary or worse. the snazzy graphics just highlight how vapid the whole thing is. there's nothing there but razzle dazzle. it's hollow.

    regular show is just bizarre. imagine if the people who wrote "the young ones" decided to pen a cartoon for kids. i imagine that this is what we would see. it's a weird sort of nihilism that celebrates stupidity and bad decisions in the same way the wimpy kid books do. rigby is not an antihero, he is some sort of warning sign of what kids are rapidly coalescing around in terms of ambition and goals.

    tebow weeps.

    FYI, i have forbidden my son from watching regular show, however i will allow him to watch archer and i definitely made him watch frisky dingo. along with a number of others including venture brothers, sealab (brilliant!), cowboy bebop, boondocks, etc, etc.

  • What really perturbs me in Ed's critique is that two of his main points boil down to—forgive me, Ed, but it's true—the most frequent "critique" I hear from my undergraduates in cinema studies classes: "it wasn't realistic." Often this happens in an unintentionally comic way: they'll watch, say, *Avatar*, and then complain that in the battle sequence when a bomb went off nearby the main character wasn't knocked unconscious: that's not realistic! Really? And the two hours of blue-skinned aliens with tails, and the body transfers, and the Unontanium—you were okay with all of that, but not a trivial point about physics? It turns out the space station on *Archer* was spinning, which would provide "artificial gravity"—but they forgot about the Coriolis force! So unrealistic. Anyway, I'm not sure what people really mean when they say "unrealistic" anymore, and I find it equally baffling that you would look to a show like *Archer* and think, "it needs more realism, more consistency, more quotidian banality—and historical verisimilitude!"

    I get that you don't find it funny (some of the bodily humor is in fact a bit excessive), and you may prefer your comedy with an arc and a consistent villain (although why should comedy need a villain at all?)—but I don't find anything lazy in the writing. And if the show's creators say they're lazy, all I can say is something else I repeat to my undergrads: people who make fiction are *professional liars*.

    @Halloween Jack: as a huge Buffy fan, don't tell anyone that I actually agree with you about *Firefly*: good (even very good on occasion), but not great.

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