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"Lo Scandlo" doesn't faze Archer

Archer (2009) poster

Written by : published Saturday 18th February 2012

"Lo Scandalo" is a fine example of a bottle story (where all of the main characters are in one location for pretty much the entire episode) for FX's Archer. Malory (Jessica Walter) makes her son, Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), come over to help her get rid of the prime minister of Italy's body. The dead man is in Malory's living room, dressed in bondage gear, and Malory claims some armed men attacked them during sexual play. Archer asks for help, and soon, the whole ISIS team is present to assist. As the others work on taking care of the problem and fooling the police, Archer concentrates on making spaghetti and meatballs. Can they get away with the crime? And is Malory telling the truth?

Bottle stories are a convention that only the best sitcoms can use successfully. Archer meets that criteria. It has wonderful, well-defined characters, whose interactions with each other provide plenty of entertainment, and are always welcome. From the dinner party ruse to fool the detective, to discussions in the kitchen over what to do, "Lo Scandalo" is packed full of fun ensemble moments, allowing each of the principal cast members to shoot off some great one-liners.

What's more, when such immense talent is gathered together in this manner, and they are allowed to play off of each other, it makes for the best stories of the series. In animation, the actors often are not able to gather, making the task of a fluid interchange even more daunting and difficult. Whether Archer records separately or together isn't clear, but what is is that the dialogue flows seamlessly into a true art form. That may sound like high praise for a silly cartoon, but if any such show deserves it, it's Archer.

Archer can do this because its cast is excellent. From Judy Greer's Carol/Cheryl, to Chris Parnell as Cyril, and especially Amber Nash's Pam, each brings some unique talents to bare. Could other actors do this as well as this particular group? Possibly, but it's hard to imagine how. Each has become so ingrained in the fabric of the series, that losing any one of them would be a shame. While Archer does have the spy angle working for it, the workplace comedy group is the heart and soul that makes things work on a level above the norm.

"Lo Scandalo" certainly brings the funny, as well. The continued query of "Doesn't Italy use a King?" is more amusing each time it is uttered. Krieger (Lucky Yates) insisting that the others drop off the body pieces he has packaged for them in a smiley face pattern is great, but Archer and Lana (Aisha Tyler) both dropping theirs into the trash can in front of Malory's building, a moment done without mentioning the joke, is even better. And it's hard to top everyone wanting to know why the prime minister is in a rubber suit with a dildo up his butt, and their sometimes clueless questions to try to get to that answer.

This week's Archer is also a bit of a mystery. While Malory's words are quickly taken at face value, it becomes clear as Lana and Archer discuss the situation at the end that things don't quite add up. In flashes, viewers get the treat of Malory perfectly constructing the entire thing, including calling the police on herself, to make her seem as innocent as possible. She gives herself an alibi, and a way to rise above suspicion. It's very clever, and the long game of revenge is trademark Malory.

Archer, who often seems a little dense, and appears especially distracted through this episode, is the one who figures this out, cementing the idea that perhaps he isn't as dumb as he looks, and is quite an effective spy. It justifies his role on the series, and his character's reputation. He refrains from calling his mother out in front of everyone because, well, she's his mother, and he doesn't want her to get in trouble. Archer trusts Lana, so she is told, and that's it. But the details do not escape him, and that's extremely rewarding.

FX has a bona fide gem in Archer, in that it's smart, hilarious, and enjoyable week after week. It also has that special, ineffable something that really makes it shine, and sets it above the pack. Watch Archer Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

MORE: If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter! Please click here to read every Archer review I've ever written. Article first published as TV Review: Archer - "Lo Scandalo" on Blogcritics.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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