On its way to having 10 seasons under its belt, the animated adult comedy “Archer” has been entertaining folks for quite some time now. The cartoon takes advantage of its mature rating in ways you’d expect, such as its liberal use of vulgar language and frequent depictions of alcohol, drugs and sex.
That said, the show definitely has its own charm and has provided fans with many gems over the years, and it’s never a bad time to look back and marvel at the highpoints. It was extremely difficult to pick just 10 golden moments from the show but ruling out those that relied on repetition, such as “phrasing” or “sploosh,” helped narrow down the list a bit.
10. “Animal Farm” (S3, E12)
While trying to avoid detection from two guards, Archer, Lana, Cyril and Ray wait around a corner for a chance to move undetected. They then hear one of the guards make a reference to “Animal Farm,” leading Archer to ask if there are animals on board the ship.
Cyril and Lana jump at the chance to correct him, but it turns out Archer does know “Animal Farm” and he informs them, loudly, revealing their position — only for Archer to admit he was referring to an actual animal farm.
Lana: “’Animal Farm’ is a book!”
Archer: “No, it isn’t Lana. It’s an allegorical novella. About Stalinism. By George Orwell. And spoiler alert, IT SUCKS!”
9. “Fighting On A Train” (S3, E6)
At times, poking fun at the espionage and action genres brings out the best in “Archer.” It typically does so by reminding viewers of simple science, such as the fact guns don’t have bottomless magazines or that shooting an unsuppressed gun in a small, enclosed space will leave your ears ringing (and possibly give you tinnitus).
In the episode “The Limited,” Archer fulfills his desire to fight on top of a moving train, only to quickly deem it a pointless and irritating experience. The wind knocks the gun out of his hand, flying dust shoots into his eyes and Archer faces other inconveniences you’d expect to come with fighting on top of a high-speed vehicle.
Kenny: “So, rethinking this huh? On the top of the train, you’re still like, on the train.”
8. “That’s All I Wanted” (S5, E8)
One of the show’s running gags sees Ray occasionally paralyzed by some accident in the field, and he tends to milk his handicap even after recovery. Not the most horrible thing to do, considering who he works with, but he wouldn’t dare pull a stunt like that if it immediately endangered his life, right? Wrong!
While stranded in a dangerous jungle, Ray pretends to be handicapped the whole time, forcing Archer and Cyril to accommodate him as they search for a way to escape. Ray seems willing to keep up the gag for as long as he can until he finally gets Archer to admit he messes around in dangerous situations too often. Then Ray hops off Archer’s back and walks to the plane.
Archer: “Okay, Ray, ballpark; how long will it take you to teach me how to fly a plane?”
7. “Wedding Crasher” (S2, E12)
An infamous womanizer, Archer’s reckless lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to married life, but he finds himself more than willing to try when former KGB agent Katya enters his life. It is love at first sight for them both and they quickly go to get married on a balcony.
Archer’s rival, Barry, cuts the wedding short with an attempt to strangle Archer with his now-cybernetic arms. Before he can kill him, however, the bride-to-be jumps off the roof and takes Barry with her. She dies and Barry lives (since he’s a cyborg) and Archer cries over his dead lover. Krieger cries, too — Katya crushed his van on the way down.
Archer: “Wh-why the hell are you crying?!”
Krieger: “That was my van.”
6. Getting Close And Personal (S6, E8)
At this point in the series, Archer and Lana have a baby daughter and Lana brings her and Archer along to meet her parents. It’ll be the first the time her parents meet the baby but their second encounter with Archer, and his first impression left a lot to be desired. He isn’t too concerned with this, though, and pretty much behaves as he normally does.
However, he soon finds himself in an awkward spot when enjoying the Kanes’ jacuzzi and the Kane couple decide to join in their birthday suits. After insisting he lose the trunks and saying they want to share something special with him, Archer assumes they want a threesome. Spoiler alert: They don’t.
Archer standing in silence, swirling the cup of a hot beverage around.
5. Always Be Berating And Belittling (S4, E7)
Archer and the gang pose as employees at a high-end restaurant to provide security, and things don’t go smoothly. The team makes a few blunders, as usual, but this time their mistakes are televised on the show “Bastard Chef,” which the restaurant takes part in.
The titular chef (voiced by the late Anthony Bourdain) gives the gang a hard time, either by bossing Lana around, throwing food at Archer but hitting Cyril or matching Ray’s sass, making for a thoroughly entertaining episode.
Ray: “Should you be smoking in here?”
Lance: “Should you be flaming in here?”
4. “Family Feud” (S2, E9)
Everyone loves a good game of “Family Feud,” even Archer in “rampage” mode.
His criminal participants, though — not huge fans, especially the Irish team. Maybe it has something to do with the fact they’re playing against their will. Or that they’re tied up. Or that they get their kneecaps blown off as the game progresses.
Mobster spits on Archer.
Archer: “Hmm. Cock-flavored spit. Well, you never know what’s going to be on the board.”
3. “The Cap Slips Off For Like, No Reason” (S1, E2)
Archer and Cyril don’t get along and Cyril is kind of a wimp, so having Archer train him to be a field agent doesn’t sit well with either of them. Starting off by giving Cyril a poison-filled pen, a change of clothes and a Chekov handgun, Archer takes Cyril back to his apartment, where he’s hired a call girl for Cyril to train with.
When she takes some ice cubes to the back, she pushes Cyril, accidentally poking the poisonous pen and seemingly dying. An outcome only possible when you’re trained by Sterling Archer.
Archer: “Oh my god! You killed a hooker!”
Cyril: “Call girl! She was a-uh, call-”
Archer: “No, Cyril! When they’re dead, they’re just hookers!”
2. “Who Loves Mommy?” (S1, E1)
Erections. Usually the result of arousal, but sometimes they go off for like, no reason (Eh? Eh?!). And that’s okay: No guy should be shamed for a random pop-up.
That said, a few things really shouldn’t give a guy a boner, such as death, or their mother. So, when Archer got an erection from the thought of his mother dying, it officially became one of weirdest boners in television history and one the top moments in the show.
Malory: “The thought of me dead gives you an erection?!”
Archer: “No, just half of one. The other half would’ve just really missed you. I mean not…”
1. “M As In Mancy” (S1, E7)
I’m very tempted to rank the entire “Skytanic” episode as the ultimate moment in “Archer” history, but for consistency’s sake, the bomb disposal scene will take the No. 1 spot.
Archer and Lana patch Ray in to guide them in disarming a bomb and, in typical “Archer” fashion, the conversation quickly becomes chaos. With a loose use of the NATO phonetic alphabet and general impatience, this moment ranks as one of the best comedic bits ever created.
Archer: “I thought we skipped that part!”
Ray: “Skipped a step in disarming a bomb?”
Archer: “Yeah, which I thought was pretty irresponsible on your part, but-”