Archer Vice – Baby Shower Review: Frivolous Fun
Last week’s charming and sweet episode, “Southbound and Down” was an entertaining foray into the dynamic between Archer and Pam. It was a fun and uncharacteristically earnest half hour that showed how much Archer has actually grown as well as the deepening of the characters’ emotional bond. How great is it that Adam Reed continues this story thread in the latest episode, “Baby Shower”? Showing great continuity as well as acknowledging the character growth that occurred in the previous episode. So, once again we are treated to the magnificent team of Archer and Pam and it is fantastic.
They make a hilariously entertaining team. “Baby Shower” gives Archer the opportunity to return to his field agent days and serve as the leader in their frivolous mission. For once it is Archer who is the more focused and competent on the field and has to basically instruct and babysit Pam through the whole ordeal. However, it is never lost on us how absolutely ridiculous and selfish this little immature whim of his is. While it was out of genuine affection for Lana that he agrees to plan a baby shower, he quickly gets sidetracked with the possibility of a private Kenny Loggins concert. Typical Archer.
Pam doesn’t really do much to keep him on track and just serves as his wacky sidekick, which is awesome. Her insane and manic personality is always great to explore, plus it compels Archer to be the sane one in this pair and pushing characters into less familiar territory is always welcome. Also, coked out Pam is virtually indestructible and she is surprisingly helpful, albeit a total raging mess the entire time. Every line of dialogue that comes out of her mouth is part of a joke, or just funny on its own, “Dude, they’re cocaine.” She doesn’t disappoint. As a character that, even in this absurd animated comedy show, has always been an over the top caricature, she has generally been featured in small doses, quite successfully. To have such an outlandish personality become more prominent in the series’ storylines could have been troublesome, but Reed has gradually integrated the character expertly and shaded her characterization with more subtle attributes that make her digestible in larger doses. Her enthusiastic gleefulness and limitless energy imbue the show with a distinctive vitality and great sense of fun.
Since Archer’s quest to track down K-Log plays like an old ISIS mission, the episode is structured in the familiar format, with the “field agents” out in their own situation while the rest of the gang hangs out. The installment felt a bit nostalgic, what with Archer lamenting his days as a super cool spy and the return of some of the oldest and most beloved gags of the show. Archer’s freak ability to count the number of rounds that have been fired never fails to be funny (also exhibit some competency in his spy/action hero skills). And, come on, the main narrative stems from Archer’s “Danger Zone” obsession.Kudos to Kenny Loggins for agreeing to play such a douche-y, ridiculous version of himself on the show. It didn’t reach the level of hilarity that the Burt Reynolds guest role did, it relied a bit too much on the famous asshole cliché but once things started getting weird (i.e. Borgnar and plutonium-filled briefcase) Loggins became a strange amusement. Of course, it was all leading to the magnificent “Danger Zone” duet with him and Cherlene, which was perfection. That will definitely help sell some records.
We didn’t get much of her, but Cherlene was, once again, a revelation. This is another great character transition by Reed, this country singer persona is truly distinct from Cheryl/Carol, while still being an appropriate extension/facet of the character’s identity. She was an absurd delight, from her ridiculous obsession with the “golden hour” to her belief that the portraits in the mansion are ghosts who can just move at will, to her “What’s up her gigantic, giant ass?” And the tiny glimpse of a flashback to Cheryl/Carol at the hotel was fun.
“Baby Shower” maintains the ensemble feel of the season, though Pam and Archer are the focus of the main story, the supporting player all have their distinct moments. Ray, who is finally free of that wheelchair, gets to do more than he has done in previous episodes and is the one to propose the idea of a baby shower.Krieger displays his particular brand of weirdness, and poor Woodhouse does his job in his quiet, sad style. Lana’s incredulity in the batshit insanity of the people she is living with and later emotional turn during the baby shower is amusing. Following last week’s almost touching episode, the series takes a much more frivolous and simply funny approach to this installment without dismissing the development in the previous episodes.
- “Oh, was I supposed to be recording that?”
- “We’re losing the light!”
- “These taste like callouses.” “So accurate.”
- So, will Borgnar be making an appearance later in the season? Whoever he is.
- Is the dirty diaper game a real thing? Sounds too ridiculous to be real.
- The Ruby gag was incredibly sad and funny, poor Archer. He really had a messed up childhood.
- “I just wanna go on record in saying that a glass swimming pool on the penthouse balcony is without a doubt the absolute worse idea that I’ve ever heard in my entire goddamned life. But you’re the men, so…”
- “From Kenny Loggins Roasters?”