TV Review: Archer

By Columbus Alive
From the January 19, 2012 edition

Last fall’s three-episode miniseries, “Heart of Archness,” put the FX series “Archer” in the running not only for the best animated comedy on television, but the best comedy on television. Following an exceptional second season, the between-seasons miniseries proved that “Archer” could be right up there with the likes of “Louie,” “Parks & Recreation” and “Community.”

The miniseries was like an epilogue to Season 2, and it had Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) dealing with some dark stuff — breast cancer, a dead fiancee. “Archer” has always been a fantastically funny show thanks to creator Adam Reed and executive producer Matt Thompson of “Sealab 2021,” but they took a giant step by making Archer and the rest of the cast more than just joke machines.

The early episodes of Season 3 don’t hit the reset button on previous events, but they do get back to the more formulaic spy-caper-of-the-week stuff. From a narrative standpoint it’s not quite as impressive, but holy crap is the show hilarious. “Archer” employs the best cuts from scene to scene on TV.

Give credit to the voice cast — possibly the best in the business and yes, better than “The Simpsons” cast — for making Reed’s impeccable dialogue zing. Judy Greer, Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell and Jessica Walter hold their own with Benjamin, something not easily accomplished.

Special guest stars — Burt Reynolds is in tonight’s premiere, and Bryan Cranston will be in the season’s final two episodes — have become a welcomed staple for the series, and they fit in seamlessly. Reynolds makes some great self-deprecating jabs at his movie career.

All of these wonderful qualities combine to create a special comedy, but there’s one person who shines above the rest: Pam Poovey (voiced by Amber Nash). The office’s drug-using horn-ball has turned into possibly the funniest character on television.

Even though she has fewer lines than other characters, Pam produces the most gut-busting laughs of the series. Her attempts in the second episode to beat the office drug test (and the outcome) are a hell of a good time.