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I am irritated by myself.
I started last weeks Archer review with a full discussion of the show’s mission-of-the-week formula, an imagination that often distracts from the things she does best – that is, to get her various dysfunctional personalities as close together as possible and then the bickering Let fireworks begin. And then, if you didn’t know, “The Double Date” comes a week later – and in the end is an even more fitting example of the same analysis. (In fact, it’s about as close as the show has been to a bottle episode since then „Visionssuche“ back in season 6.) I guess I just have to settle for the pleasure of watching tonight’s episode of Archerrather than performing masterful critical flourishes. That’s fine, honestly, because this was probably my favorite episode the show has done in years.
Half of the premise of “The Double Date” is right there in the title, with most of the rest coming in the first couple of takes: Sterling Archer, deeply amused, having an incredibly awkward dinner between herself and neuroscientific newcomer Gabrielle (the great ) planned to have Nicole Byer), Lana and her aging husband Robert (still the great Stephen Tobolowsky). Archer has a shitty grin on his face because, at first glance, Gabrielle is a pretty clear doppelganger for his ex – except with two Ph.D. instead of just the one. But even without that victory, which is mostly in his own head, that smile would likely be glued to his face. It’s a recurring and reliable part of Archer’s character that he is never more comfortable than when everyone isn’t around him.
“The Double Date” is not satisfied with just being My dinner with Archereven though. After some early jokes – and a brief revelation that Lana’s new boyfriend and former lover aren’t as different as she might have liked – the mission of the week is actually a mission where Cyril and Malory crash dinner in a slight touch of action. It turned out that after a regular at the restaurant, the crew is a Russian hacker who has bad taste with both bodyguards and Girlfriends – which also explains why Lana agreed to this frankly absurd situation in the first place. Why she married Robert – the one after he left pretty Zen “The Orpheus Gambit” shows up not only as an unabashed horn dog, but also as the male equivalent of Malory Archer – a question that needs to be analyzed more closely. Fortunately, they have a trained neuroscientist on hand to ask all the tricky questions.
As Gabrielle, Nicole Byer “gets” (through no fault of her own) the chance to be the person who is most likely to let the air out of the comedy tires of “The Double Date”. (After all, the Archer The crew has never been so good with “normal” civilians, at least those whose names weren’t Cadillac, Ron.) But instead of being consumed by the role of the straight person in a cloud of boredom, Gabrielle adeptly pours gas on a whole load of fires genuinely excited by all of the espionage antics, asserting themselves against Lana’s barbs and managing to assert themselves as a real character instead of the prop Archer wanting it so badly for her to be. It is a potentially ungrateful job that Byer knocks out of the stadium. So, uh … thanks!
Speaking of baseball, Cyril is also getting a new low (sort of sinking even lower, despite its fact latest involved new low Break a man’s neck and then sob in a murder bot factory) after he got stiff with the bill in the restaurant and was forgotten by all his “friends”. Not only is this little story branch a clever way of getting Cheryl, Pam, and Krieger into the mix for this mostly self-contained episode, but it also features one of the most triumphant harrowing scenes this show has made in recent times, when Cyril loses his Damn Again, we’re trying to kill a batting-cage-pitching machine that won’t stop nailing him in the nuts – about as astute as a metaphor for his Elmer-Fudd-doomed relationship with Archer as we probably are could hope for.
And that is exactly what “The Double Date”, written by Shane Kosakowski, captures so many episodes Archer– both in Adam-Reed’s days and now – sometimes not: Great episodes of this show don’t all have great jokes. (Pretty much every single episode of Archer What ever ran has at least one great joke.) No, great episodes of this show encompass the “situation part” of their sitcom DNA, creating scenarios that generate jokes, not just from Archer’s encyclopedic store of bullshit knowledge and H. Jon Benjamin’s unbeatable deadpan, but from the friction and misery these arrangements provoke. Lana, trapped at dinner with Archer and her multi-married husband, is funny. Cyril Figgis beating a man with a lifeguard and then crying alone in the middle of a top-notch restaurant is funny. Three spies (plus a neuroscientist and a billionaire who apparently has one Problem with dogs) walking down a New York street pretending to be a yoke and at the same time having a heated argument about the dog’s death? Funny!
All that, and we get Archer a brief moment of actual reflection, and we get about five high quality malory isms, and We get what is basically a pure, uncut blast by Cheryl / Carol Tunt. When I watch this show this far, I can usually find it something That doesn’t match an episode to get her out of a solid “A” class competition. I have nothing this week though; This is Archer as it should and could be hypothetical, every single week, as long as they want it to work.
- Some great facial animations tonight, from Archer’s satisfied smile at the beginning of the episode, to Lana grinding her ice cream, to pretty much everything that happens to Cyril when he switches from Superspy to Jewelry.
- Archer, who abandoned Robert after declaring his love for him: “I was obviously joking, Robert. The eyebrows are a deal breaker. “
- Archer told Gabrielle about AJ, but all he mentioned about Lana was that they were co-workers and that her jaw “makes that click” when she chews.
- Tobolowsky really makes a meal out of some of the episode’s grossest lines, from his multiple “espresso” and “oreo” jokes to the terrifying comment, “I can’t even hear a muffled trumpet without standing upright.”
- “What a great story, Robert, I just wish it could have been louder and rougher.”
- Archer, somehow still nicer towards the waiter than his mother: “You trust Kyle to pick our food? The totality of his life choices led him to this job and this haircut. No offense, Kyle. “
- Gabrielle, unimpressed by Lana’s defensive claim that “they don’t teach you everything in neurobiology school”: “Well, no, obviously not.”
- I liked the lifeguard very much – both as a character and as a human shield. Indeed, Lana squirts between him and the woman, great job from the B (athroom) team overall.
- Oh, hey, Veronica Deane escaped after shooting archer (s).
- Cyril, after seeing the bill in L’orange: “I had a serving of bone marrow, not a goddamn transplant!”
- It’s the phrase we all don’t like to hear, Krieger: “This anime hologram just isn’t that into you.”
- We have a couple of Malory lines to choose from tonight, but none are as cruel as this after we gave the window cleaner money to drive Archer’s car: “Oh yeah, big smile. I too would be excited if I overdosed in a hollowed-out box spring. “
- Although “we try to follow this horse in front of us, not to inseminate it”, it is also a classic.
- We get so little Cheryl in this episode, but Judy Greer puts so much into it. A national treasure forever.
- Pam is probably lying about how much she believes in Cyril, but she really needs the agency: “I can’t get another job. I have a lot of crimes. “
- Obscure Reference Warning: Very easy tonight! Andrew Fielding Huxley is one of the scientists who isolated the giant squid axon, which helped scientists learn how action potential, the chemical and electrical process that propagates signals across a neuron, works. (Sorry, failed former neuroscientist here.) Other than that, I didn’t get anything – although I checked that Malory and Robert saw a proper movie. (No, as far as I can tell.) Oh, and San Marcos apparently finally recovered from his confrontation with ISIS Archer: Vice.
- Line of sequence: It’s really a whole series of dialogues, but the entire conversation about Robert’s past is full of amazing things. (Including the fact that his second wife was “a gift from the Saudi crown.”) However, Tobolowsky receives the award for his response when Lana asks how he could have let 11 dogs die: “Well, you know, there is only one huge language barrier?”
- Bonus line of the episode price: It’s not exactly funny, but Chris Parnell rounds off one of the best episodes of Cyril with a pretty fantastic speech and lets go of the frustrations of a season on this poor, relentless pitching machine.
- Lana, mocking / comforting Archer about how much he screwed it up with Gabrielle: “And these cans, am I right? “Yeah, they looked … pretty bruised.” It’s all about Benjamin’s embarrassed delivery.
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