On Friday of Comic-Con International in San Diego, an Archer panel convened to discuss what’s next for Sterling Archer and the agents of ISIS after Season 5 — aka the “Archer Vice” season. To kick things off, it was announced to raucous applause that, earlier in July, the show received its first ever Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Animated Program. With that, those in attendance were treated to the first ever screening of the Season 6 premiere.
The episode opens with Archer, groggy from a night of hardcore drinking, awakened by the ring of a Zach Morris-like brick phone in a seedy tropical motel room with a bottle of cobra whisky on the nightstand and a newly pierced ear. His mother Malory is on the phone with information regarding a CIA freelance mission involving the retrieval of an American spy plane from the jungles of Borneo.
Archer gets dumped into the jungle, where he encounters a Japanese soldier from WWII, as the rest of the staff tours their new offices. As it happens, the $10 million ISIS headquarters renovation coordinated by Cheryl and Cyrus results in exactly the same office they had prior to Season 5’s explosion. Exactly.
Despite his best attempts, Archer completes his mission and returns to the newly refurbished headquarters only to be harassed by both Malory and Lana. And in another reveal from the premiere, Krieger got himself a secret hot tub.
After the viewing, Deadline’s Dominic Patten introduced himself as the moderator and announced he had a special video message from Archer himself. The world’s top (animated) secret agent apologized to the Comic-Con crowd for not being able to make it. He and Pam were busy with an ‘Archer Vice’ boat sale with everything “priced to move,” including Ray-Ban Wayfarers, canvas docksiders and “slightly used” Kevlar vests — all for $5 — and a “bunch of skinny-bitch clothes” Pam needed to get rid of. The crowd was all too happy to applaud for the short, which poked fun at the usually dry videos stars make when they cannot attend the annual convention.
After the screening, all of the key Archer contributors assembled for the panel: actors H. Jon Benjamin (Archer), Aisha Tyler (Lana), Chris Parnell (Cyril), Judy Greer (Cheryl), Amber Nash (Pam) and Lucky Yates (Krieger); creator Adam Reed and co-executive producer Casey Willis.
Tyler immediately started out the lively discussion by commenting on the lack of accessories on her cast-mates — namely the free-giveaway Archer sunglasses she alone was wearing. “I would just like to point out backstage we agreed to wear sunglasses and I’m wearing sunglasses and you guys are a bunch of fucking assholes. I thought we were a team.”
Patten began the panel in earnest by asking Reed why there was no more :Archer Vice,” to which the creator responded “we ran out of cocaine!” Patten then segued to the elephant in the room — Archer and Lana’s baby. “There’s a baby. It’s complicated isn’t it?” Reed teased.
“Not if you ignore it,” Benjamin responded dryly.
Asked if there was any hesitation about leaving the “Archer Vice” concept behind following the Emmy nomination for its lone season, Reed explained it was never designed to be permanent. “We sort of treated it from the start as a vacation and all vacations come to an end,” said Reed. “So while it was fun, for me I was excited to get back to what we normally do after a long summer of cocaine.”
After Tyler and Benjamin bickered for a bit like their cartoon counterparts, the discussion turned to where the aforementioned baby came from. “She did steal his man substance and use it without him knowing it.” When Patten compared it to heisting a car, Tyler responded “It’s way harder to steal semen, by the way. I don’t know if you know that. I mean, where do you put it? How do you keep it cold? Very difficult. Stealing a car, you just drive away.”
Tyler then elicited a round of applause when talking about Comic-Con. “This whole week is about fandom. It’s all about you guys; we couldn’t do what we do without you guys sitting out there staring at us with a look of confusion on your faces. You guys are f@cking awesome.”
Asked what year the show take place in, Yates responded, “All of the cool ones.”
When an attendee asked whether a Walking Dead/Archer crossover could ever happen, the group responded that while each show’s respective parent network, AMC and FX, may have issues making that happen, The Strain was certainly an option. The panelists spoke about this with enough certainty that there was some thought this idea might actually have legs.
When asked what their favorite aspect of the ‘Archer Vice’ season was, each of the panelists shared a different answer:
- Yates: “Building a submarine in an indoor pool, somehow. Krieger is so fucking resourceful.”
- Nash: “Mine was the tit bondage. Titty twister? What was it called?”
- Greer: “Well, obviously the country music sensation. There’s nothing better than that.”
- Parnell: “Being a dictator?” When prodded to explain what exactly he liked about it, he joked, “I guess I’ve personally always wanted to do that kind of thing. I did a lot of research and took a lot of time to get into that part. I went to a neighborhood in Los Angeles and sort of took over. I was a pretty benevolent dictator.”
- Tyler: “Having a baby without an epidural in a filthy, Third World airport that had been abandoned recently and was being shot at by drug dealers and dictator’s minions. I also liked when I was breastfeeding Abijean and she held up her finger at me. I was like ‘Aw. I just made a tiny, little bitch baby!'”
- Benjamin: “Didn’t watch it. No fucking interest.”
- Willis: “I think my favorite was the cool guest stars we had like Gary Cole, Fred Armisen and Christian Slater.
Reed gave the final answer, explaining how much joy he took in putting his protagonist through the wringer. “I really liked the episode where they were on the raft in Columbia and then set the raft on fire through sheer idiocy. And I always love exploring Archer’s neurotic fear of reptiles.” Asked if he could do that regularly, Reed responded, “We could give him a job at a reptile farm.”
When a fan inquired whether viewers will ever get to meet the all-knowing Gypsy Woman, Reed indicated it may happen in Season 6. This came as a shock to the other panelists, who thought the character had been killed off. When Tyler longingly hoped Christian Slater did the Gypsy Woman’s voice, Benjamin replied sarcastically, “He needs the work.”
Similarly, a fan offered his own theory about the enigmatic character. “Speaking of the Gypsy Woman who has impending doom for each of the cast, Trudy Beekman has impending doom as Malory’s arch-socialite nemesis,” the fan began. “I have a working theory — what if they are one in the same?”
Yates said, “I think you just wrote an Archer episode,” adding that the credit would read, “‘Story by man in the Batman shirt.’ You win. You just won Comic-Con!”
After admiring a couple dressed up as Archer and Pam in the front row and commenting on a nearby man with a righteous beard — “To be fair, Mike Tyson thought I was Jerry Garcia,” the man responded — the panel was asked about Archer appearing in the Bob’s Burgers universe, the Fox animated series for which Benjamin also provides the voice of the titular character. While Reed and the cast felt that might be impossible, the creator sent the crowd into a frenzy when he suggested a crossover with his similarly-styled Adult Swim series Frisky Dingo might be more realistic. Here’s hoping Reed can work some more animated magic to make that happen.
‘Archer’ Season 6 kicks off in January 2015.