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Archer dines out

Archer (2009) poster

Written by : published Thursday 28th February 2013

In the next episode of FX's ARCHER, "Live and Let Dine," the team goes undercover at a fancy restaurant when an Albanian diplomat is threatened. To make matters even more fun, the dining establishment is the setting of a reality TV series entitled Bastard Chef. Of course, there are a couple of twists, and when it's all said and done, the staff of ISIS is just proven as incompetent as ever.

I like that ARCHER is always searching for new ways to spice up their comedy. The way that they excel in fresh settings and unexpected originality, even while doing a sort-of parody, is great! "Live and Let Dine" capitalizes on the recent craziness of celebrity chef television shows, but also gives it enough of its own flavor to avoid being a copy. An exquisite recipe, if I do say so myself!

The Bastard Chef himself is Lance Casteau (voiced by real celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain). He's a tool to everyone except Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) because, apparently, Archer has some newly discovered culinary talents. If only Archer would stop dropping bowls in the kitchen, ruining food and making a mess.

As with most of ARCHER's satirical guests, Bourdain deserves credit for not being afraid to make  fun of himself and what he does for a living. He definitely takes the joke in stride, even going for the promo lines on purpose, and being a extra big jerk.

ISIS could never be a real spy agency because they screw up too much. From the real story behind the threat, to the way they keep blowing their own cover while being filmed, it's often downright ridiculous. I find it highly enjoyable for a comedy, just not very realistic. It's a good thing believability isn't a selling point for ARCHER.

"Live and Let Dine" has all of the elements of a classic ARCHER episode: Archer hitting on Lana (Aisha Tyler); Lana being too aggressive and defying female stereotypes; Archer (and everyone else) picking on Cyril (Chris Parnell); Malory (Jessica Walter) acting inappropriately as the company head to get her own way; Pam (Amber Nash) being somewhat disgusting, but always hilarious; Cheryl (Judy Greer) being somewhat disgusting, but always hilarious; a sex joke that is as disturbing as it is hot; a reference to a recent episode, this time calling back Archer's time running a burger restaurant; and a recurring reference that doesn't quite make sense, this time Spain in the 1930s.

Then, just when you least expect it, ARCHER ties "Live and Let Dine" into a larger, season-long plot. ARCHER hasn't always paid so much attention to continuity, but as it ages, it has to keep doing things to reinvent itself and make sure that the quality doesn't suffer. This year's story involving Barry (Dave Willis) and Katya (Ona Grauer) fits nicely, calling back to previous plots, and deepening the characters.

Of course, comedy is the main goal of ARCHER, and this episode, like just about every other, delivers the laughs in spades. Which is why I continue to anticipate new episodes every Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX. Also, Archer was just renewed for a fifth season.

About the author 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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