The FX Network‘s series Archer might be the funniest show on television. I can watch the old episodes on-demand via Netflix, and the new ones on Hulu.

I’m finding that the dynamic duo of Netflix and Hulu Plus (via either my XBox360, PS3 or Roku) make having cable TV irrelevant. And $15/month for all-you-can-eat TV and movies is so much better than conventional television.

And Fox’s Bob’s Burgers is also pretty amazing. I blame H. Jon Benjamin.

For the thousandth time, No we do not serve sweet potato fries. Sweet potato fries are for babies, because they’re candy basically.

  • Sterling Malory Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is considered the world’s most dangerous secret agent. In reality, his only real interest in the job is the opportunity to live a jetsetting lifestyle full of sex, alcohol, fast cars and spy toys. However, he does show proficiency in the stereotypical spy skills such as weapons, driving and martial arts, and even rival agents admit that no one is better in the field. As such, he is as likely to kill a room full of enemy agents as accidentally cause an international disaster. He is also notorious for taking every opportunity to have sex; Cheryl, his mother’s secretary, claims that he “turns women into whores,” and he is shown regularly frequenting prostitutes and impregnating his maid. Despite his bravado, he is dominated by his mother Malory, both professionally and personally – his code name is “Duchess,” the name of his mother’s dead dog. Archer has been shown to have had a very sad childhood, having been tortured by his mother with a wooden spoon, and living at boarding school since kindergarten where he had no friends. Despite this lack of friendship Archer is shown to be an accomplished lacrosse player all throughout boarding school. However he was also once left alone on Christmas Eve, after his mother moved and forgot to tell the school where she lived. Archer also has a love-hate relationship with fellow agent and ex-girlfriend Lana Kane, constantly claiming that she is still in love with him. He may also have some lingering feelings for Lana, continually seeking to undermine her relationship with Cyril, and even claiming that Cyril doesn’t deserve to be with her. A recurring joke is that Archer will forget one liners he thinks up, forgetting just as he is about to say it, then swearing “I had something for this” before saying something else. He also refuses to wear anything other than turtlenecks during operations (such as taking the time to change into one rather than immediately disarming a bomb), and claims he was the first to recognize the garment’s tactical potential. The one exception to this occurs in “Pipeline Fever” in which Archer dons a sleeveless vest in the Louisiana bayou. The reasoning behind this being that was what Burt Reynolds wore in the films “White Lightning” and “Gator”. Archer also admits to his biggest fears: alligators, crocodiles, and brain aneurysms. In the Season 1 finale “Dial M for Mother,” it is shown that Archer may have fathered a child with the hooker from the episode “Training Day.” In the episode “Blood Test” Archer, fearing it likely that he is the father of his favorite call girl Trinette’s baby, switches his blood sample with one taken from a drugged Cyril. However, the results of the test using Cyril’s sample ‘prove’ Archer is the father. Archer’s admission to the switch isn’t believed by ISIS or the ODIN agents. According to a computer screen readout in the show’s first episode, Archer is 36 years old, 6’2″, and weighs 184 lbs.
  • Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) is the other top agent at ISIS. She is portrayed as a smart and tough agent, but is constantly frustrated that she’s still perceived as the second fiddle and passed over because Archer’s mother is the head of the agency. She formerly dated Archer, with whom she still has a complex love-hate relationship even though she was in a relationship with ISIS comptroller Cyril Figgis, whom she claimed she dated because he was nothing like Archer. When she eventually catches Cyril having sex with another woman, she hatches a revenge plan in which she offers sex on Cyril’s desk to every man in the office and Pam. In reality, she has sex only with Pam, and merely forces all the men to pay her for the opportunity to claim they had sex with her. Lana has a relatively good relationship with Archer’s mother, despite the fact Lana dumped her son – Malory admitted once she was glad the two broke up as a long-term relationship with another agent would be too painful for Archer. Lana has incredibly strong hands, regularly referred to as mannish or “Truckasaurus”-like by other ISIS staffers. In the episode “Blood Test,” Lana constantly thinks of what life could’ve been as a mother had she had a baby, so far as to tearing up as she listened to Malory and Archer’s conversation about how a baby may be the best thing for him. Malory personally recruited Lana when she tried to throw red paint on Malory’s fur coat at a protest, and Malory pulled a gun on her. Lana didn’t flinch, and, impressed, Malory offered her a chance to become an agent.
  • Malory Archer (Jessica Walter), Sterling Archer’s mother and the head of ISIS, is a self-centered alcoholic who regularly hatches half-baked and invariably disastrous schemes to use the agency’s resources to her own personal advantage, including staging a false assassination attempt on a U.N. official to secure a lucrative government contract. During her days as a black ops spy she had clandestine affairs with KGB head Nikolai Jackov, rival spy agency boss Len Trexler and jazz drummer Buddy Rich, and doesn’t know which of the three is Sterling’s biological father – she had told him that his father was John Fitzgerald Archer, an ace pilot who won the Navy Cross. She was a highly inattentive parent, shipping him to boarding school for thirteen years and once forgetting to tell the school she was moving to a new house, leaving him alone in the train station when he came home from school on Christmas Eve. As adults their relationship is highly antagonistic – she assigned him the code name “Duchess” after her deceased dog and at one point put out a burn notice on him after going on an absinthe binge in the wake of Sterling leaving ISIS for rival spy agency ODIN. However, she seems to have some affection for him, breaking down in tears when she thought he had been killed and being continually depressed during Sterling’s brief stint at ODIN. Malory originally wanted to be an aspiring actress, however on her way to her first audition for a spot in a commercial, she was offered a job as a secret agent.
  • Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) is the comptroller of ISIS. He was at the beginning of season 1, Lana Kane’s love interest, although Lana refused to classify them as boyfriend and girlfriend or say she loved him – traits she attributes to trust issues left over from her relationship with Archer. A nebbishy, buttoned-down type who wears browline glasses and chops vegetables for supper in his office, he’s also so remarkably well-endowed that Pam and Cheryl are shocked when they hack into his company health records and discover that he once put in a claim for “penis ensmallment” surgery. He eventually is manipulated into cheating on Lana by Cheryl, and has trysts with Framboise, “Scatterbrain” Jane and Malory. Lana and Cyril separated as a couple after Lana finally caught him with Framboise. Cyril later claims to suffer from sexual addiction, a claim that Lana thinks ridiculous. A condition that apparently required him to spend a summer “upstate” in a mental institution. He’s shown in the early half of the 2nd season consuming 3 to 4 blue pills from an orange prescription bottle each time he’s stressed in order to control these apparent urges. In “Blood Test”, Cyril is shown to be the father of the child everyone believes to be Archer’s.
  • Cheryl (Judy Greer) is Malory’s secretary, who regularly has her name legally changed for dubious reasons – she has gone by Carol, Carina and Cristal at various points in the series. She thinks she is smarter than most of her coworkers, but regularly shows a startling lack of intelligence, such as trying to turn on her computer by typing O-N on the keyboard, wondering aloud who brings Jewish people their Christmas presents and thinking that a website can tell her whether she’s pregnant. During the course of the series, she reveals recurring fantasies about being strangled to death during sex.
  • Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) is the human resources director of ISIS. She condescends to the staff by talking through a dolphin puppet in disciplinary meetings and regularly gossips confidential information to the entire office – when Archer claimed to be on a very secret mission to find a mole in the agency, within an hour almost everyone knew about it. Pam is constantly belittled by her coworkers for her weight and subjected to cruel jokes about food. Pam is extremely desperate to get just one of her colleagues, male or female, to have sex with her, which Lana agrees to in “Dial M for Mother”, though she claims that she imagined Pam as Alex Karras the whole time.
  • Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates) is the head of the ISIS applied research department, who spends most of his time working on projects to facilitate his own kinky sexual fantasies — including an advanced sex robot named Fister Roboto, a mechanical hand to choke Cheryl when his own hands aren’t strong enough for her taste, a drug that instills homosexual urges in its users which eventually kills Danny, the company intern, and a holographic girlfriend simulation that was so sophisticated, the state of New York legally allowed him to marry it. He also kills their other intern, Chet, by having him wear a not-quite-bulletproof vest during a live-fire test. He’s alluded to frequently drugging other co-workers while admitting to Pam “I’ve had good results with ether” when advising her on how to increase her odds for having sex with co-workers. For the first three episodes, ‘Krieger’ as he’s often simply called, did not speak; suggesting a non-speaking role. He first speaks during the fourth episode when passionately coming to the defense of his reasoning for creating Fister Roboto. Krieger has also alluded that homeless people are needed to be included in his sexual fantasies in order for him to achieve an erection. He also seems to become aroused when others around him are in an upset/yelling type of state. In the second season Krieger admits to not being an actual doctor of any kind, albeit under his breath and no one else was paying attention to this statement. Despite this shortcoming, he has proven himself to be a capable doctor, such as being able to sucessfully perform brain surgery while on LSD. During the 1st season, what appears to be crash test dummies at the background of his lab, turn out to be more perfected servant androids in the 2nd season, which Sterling refers to as ‘Krigerbots’.
  • Woodhouse (George Coe) is Sterling’s long-suffering British butler, who patiently accepts the unending stream of abuse hurled at him by his employer. An occasional heroin user, he frequently hints at a mysterious military career which has included experience with cannibalism in the King’s African Rifles and a romantic relationship with a young man in his school days who was killed during World War I. It was later revealed he received the Victoria Cross for his service. Archer is quite unreasonable with him, and routinely disciplines him by throwing his clothing, shoes and other belongings over his balcony. Woodhouse originally met Archer’s mother while she was pregnant with him, assisted in his birth (even inadvertently being responsible for choosing his name; Sterling), and has been with the family ever since, raising Archer since birth without question. When properly motivated, Woodhouse has also shown to be a proficient and fluid killing machine; at least in his younger days, even with a single knife.
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