15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Archer’

Sometimes it just takes a random Tumblr account to get an actor to do a show
15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Archer’

For 13 incredible seasons, Archer has been the spy comedy spoof filled with diabolical characters doing espionage and, for the most part, doing it badly. The show has lampooned everything from James Bond to Magnum P.I. to a string of famous and obscure literature while making lines like “That’s how you get ants” and “Holy shitsnacks!” common phrases the world around. 

Here, then, are 15 shitsnacks trivia tidbits that we ripped straight out of the Danger Zone just for you…

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The Title Sequence Is an Homage to Saul Bass

Bass was a creative genius known for his graphic design skills gracing iconic movie posters and title sequences alike. He worked with everyone from Stanley Kubrick to Martin Scorsese and invented a unique style of moving typography that can be seen in many of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie openers.

The Characters’ Likeness to Their Acting Counterparts Was Coincidental

Creator Adam Reed told The A.V. Club that the characters were drawn before the voice actors were cast and that some of their likenesses were utterly unintentional. “It was all a coincidence. Those are all local models from Atlanta,” Reed explained, referring to the characters’ animation. “We used real people and dressed them up in period clothes. Lana’s character model is a flight attendant here in town. Cyril is a guy we know who runs a restaurant. So we just grabbed people around here, and then it was just sort of a fluke that they ended up looking like, to some extent, their real-life counterparts. Aisha’s hands aren’t as big as we always make fun of Lana for having. The model for Archer is an electrician here in town and is exactly that handsome and also really nice.”

A Tumblr Account Convinced Jon Hamm to Do the Show

Producer Matt Thompson told Vulture that, to get Hamm to join the show as Captain Murphy, they showed the actor’s team a Tumblr account called Sterling Archer Draper Pryce that took lines from Archer and added them to screenshots from Mad Men.

The Inspiration Behind the Show

After Reed decided to take a break from the business and travel around Europe for a while, he found himself sitting at a cafe in Salamanca, Spain, unable to approach a woman sitting nearby and writing in her journal. This was the moment that Reed — who had been reading a lot of James Bond novels after receiving the entire collection as a gift — came up with Archer because, according to him, “a spy would have a perfect line.”

Chris Parnell on His Character Cyril’s Most Embarrassing Moment (So Far)

Asked by IndieWire what he thought of as Cyril Figgis’ most embarrassing character moment, Parnell said, “It was pretty pitiful, pathetic and embarrassing when he was masturbating on the elevator. That was like, ‘C’mon, have you no dignity, man?’ I guess he didn’t. He just needed to do his thing.”

Malory Archer Was Based on Dame Judi Dench

Voiced by the late Arrested Development actress Jessica Walter, the character of Archer’s mom was born while Reed was watching Dame Judi Dench play ‘M’ in the James Bond movies. “I thought, ‘What if she was his mom?’ And that’s when Mal kinda clicked, and then I thought it’d be great if his ex-girlfriend worked there and was actually better at her job than he was,” Reed has revealed.

On the Show’s Agency Name Change

During the first five seasons of the show, the spy agency was famously called ISIS (short for International Secret Intelligence Service), but when the Islamic State gained global prominence in 2014, FX approached the show creators about changing the name. Everyone agreed because no one wanted to be associated with the terror group. At one point, the new agency was called The Figgis Group, and in Season 12’s opening episode, “Identity Crisis,” they spoofed the lack of an official name by coming up with monikers like “S.P. Nosh” and “Spies and Dolls.” Since then, they’ve simply called it “The Agency.”

Judy Greer Saved Cheryl

Reed told FanBolt that they were initially going to kill off Cheryl Tunt in the pilot episode before Judy Greer said that she’d take on the character: “We were like, ‘We can’t kill her (Greer) off, she’s fantastic!’”

Pam’s Voice Changed During the Series

It’s been pointed out that the voice of Pam Poovey has gone through some changes from the first season up to where the show stands today. Voice actress Amber Nash told Looper that it was simply a case of her settling into the role over time. “I think that I just became more comfortable with the character,” Nash explained. “And Pam’s really the only character that has a bit of a character voice. Everybody else’s voice is just their voice. And the guys actually said, in the beginning, Matt and Adam were like, ‘We don’t really want people to do character voices.’ But yeah, that’s just what happened.”

Reed Wanted ‘Archer: Dreamland’ to Be a Drama

Reed told Animation Scoop that he initially pitched the noir-themed Season Eight as a drama but that the studio insisted on adding more comedy. He also said that he watched some of his favorite noir movies in preparation for the season, including Big Sleep, Murder by Death and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.

The Voice Actor of Dr. Krieger Was Also the Face Model for Ray Gillette

Lucky Yates, the voice of Dr. Krieger, revealed that he was also the face model for Ray Gillette (voiced by Reed) and that it’s pretty wild whenever he had to talk to Gillette in a scene. “Dude, it’s the weirdest thing in the world watching my voice talk to my face, and they’re two different guys! It’s so bizarre, and it was only going to be a one-off episode,” Yates told Looper. “Gillette was going to be just some guy in the bullpen, and the guy they were already drawing started looking like (me). Back in the late 1990s, so around the turn of the century, 1999, 2000, I had that look.”

Voicing Sterling Archer Is Tough on H. Jon Benjamin

The voice actor said he has a permanent rasp now and that he regularly injures his voice playing the ever-yelling Sterling Archer. He also joked that he tries to keep his vocal cords healthy by getting three hours of sleep and liquoring up in the morning.

The ‘Swiss Miss’ Episode Was Originally Way More Cringe

In the opening episode of the show’s second season, a German billionaire’s 17-year-old daughter tries to seduce Archer. Initially, she was going to be 14 until FX stepped in. “I did a bunch of Wikipedia research and found out that that is the age of consent in Germany,” Reed explained. “They (FX) said they didn’t care where it was the age of consent; it wasn’t the age of consent on FX.”

Sterling Archer Has a Book (That You Can Buy)

Aptly titled, How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written, the book was published in 2012 and includes Sterling Archer’s tips on how to drive an elephant, dress like a guy with mommy issues and make an assortment of Archer-approved cocktails.

Aisha Tyler Says ‘Archer’ Is a Workplace Comedy

Speaking to Screen Rant in 2022, the actress behind Lana Kane shared her thoughts on the show: “I know that people feel like it’s a spy show, but really, it’s a workplace comedy. Whether we were chasing bad guys, or doing international espionage, or becoming global cocaine dealers, really the comedy is in the interpersonal relationships between this group of ill-fitted but well-suited (individuals). These people who kind of should and shouldn’t be together — it’s about those relationships.”

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