The best comedies combine broad hijinks with nuanced gags that canâ€™t possibly be fully consumed in a single viewing. FXâ€™s Archer, Adam Reedâ€™s silly, profane animated sitcom for adults, is one such show, having slyly spoofed the spy genre for seven seasons and running. Season eight premieres on FXX on April 5, making this a fitting time to revisit one of the showâ€™s most esoteric running bits: Sterling Archerâ€™s deep well of bad literature jokes. Film editor Serena Brambleâ€™s five-minute video encompasses each and every literary reference to emerge from Archerâ€™s mouth and subsequently land with a thundering thud.
Whatâ€™s especially delightful is how Archerâ€™s references span the literary canon, touching on everything from Elizabethan theater and French naturalism to comic books, The Babysitterâ€™s Club, and even Emily Postâ€™s rules of etiquette. Also of note is his apoplectic hatred of George â€œBoreâ€-well, whose Animal Farm he describes as â€œnot a bookâ€ but â€œan allegorical novella about Stalinism andâ€”spoiler alertâ€”it sucks!â€
Bramble sees more in Archerâ€™s literary references than mere in-jokes, however. She writes,
Reed has admitted that the showâ€™s many literary references, including the many from other characters not included for time, are the remnant of his tenure as a frustrated English major, yet their contrast with the more deplorable aspects of Archerâ€™s personality was probably the first indicator of his humanity, his intelligence when he chose to use it, and maybe even an indication of his lonely, friendless childhood and adolescence.
Looking to bone up before the new season? Weâ€™ve got you covered.
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