Saturday, 26 March 2011

Archer: Placebo Effect Review

I haven’t reviewed Archer on here before, but after last night’s episode, I have to throw in my opinion into the mix.

If you haven’t yet discovered the genius that is Archer, Series 1 is being released on 1st May 2011, and the second series is currently airing the states.

It follows Sterling Archer – a self-centred, egotistical  yet hysterical, wanker of a man, who is basically a James bond for agency Isis. Whilst Archer is the title character, the supporting cast are absolutely amazing, and the dark witty humour is truly on another level to most of the animated series out there.

So last night’s episode was the second in a two parter tackling breast cancer – Archer’s breast cancer to be precise. The first episode jumped into the gags over him being a man with breast cancer, and using it as an excuse to be even more of a bum than usual. It has the cavalier attitude that he’s the hero, of course he can’t die. But at the end of the episode when we learn that the cancer has spread to his lymph nodes, it isn’t looking quite so cheery.

I watched them back to back, and launched straight into the second episode, which is possibly the darkest, funniest and best episode in the history of the show.

Of course Archer is convinced he’s just too much of a man to have the usual side effects of the cancer treatment, and his shock that they’re not the real drugs and are just placebo’s is brilliant, and sparks one of the BEST RAMPAGES EVER.

It’s a combination of things that make this so brilliant.
1) The violence is way above and beyond the usual level in Archer, but it’s also punctured with some of the best comedy of the show. Watch it. Family Feuds? BEST. THING. EVER.

2) The fact that once Archer starts taking the real cancer medicine, the side effects kick in, and it’s heart breaking to watch him deteriorate so quickly. But incredible to watch and see the humour that comes out of it as well as his own reaction to his condition. I love him psyching himself up for the next stage of the rampage and getting his drip caught in the car. Genius.

3) The cannabis induced flashbacks to Ruth, an elderly cancer sufferer who was also taking the fake medication, and who Archer bonded with before she was admitted to hospital and later dies. It provides a reason for the rampage other than Archer’s own selfish desire, which takes it to a whole new level to the usual episodes which are completely selfish on Archer’s part.

4) Lana. Oh my word, that girl is secretly so sweet. She normally just gets peeved at people and yells a lot (as well as looking incredibly sexy) and watching how she helps Archer to reek his vengeance, even though she doesn’t always agree with the level of violence, was brilliant character development. I liked her before, but now I love her.

And then we get the ending… Where everything is ok, and Archer will probably not have learnt anything at all. But it is a cartoon, and I suppose any more dark and heavy episodes and it would stop being the light hearted cartoon we know and love. But I love that they took this direction, that they made it so dark and yet got such brilliant humour into it. And seriously, if you haven’t found Archer yet, go and watch it. It’s complete genius.

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