The ‘Archer’ Cast Reassembles Only to Say Goodbye to the Show Once More

The triple-length finale event, ‘Into the Cold,’ is supposedly the series’ official farewell... or is it?
The ‘Archer’ Cast Reassembles Only to Say Goodbye to the Show Once More

Throughout its long run, Archer has seemed remarkably durable. Even among animated shows — a genre that can simply refuse to age its characters and thus keep producing new episodes for decades — Archer was impressively dense, packing in references as disparate as Breaking BadThe Defiant Ones and The Lorax in a single episode. And when creator Adam Reed, who wrote or co-wrote almost every episode during his tenure, tired of spy plots, he simply pivoted to new settings: L.A. noir, 1930s adventure serials, outer space. This year, the show that felt like it could have gone on indefinitely announced that its 14th season would be its last, and would be capped off with Archer: Into the Colda triple-length finale event airing this Sunday, December 17th. 

The actors who’ve lent their voices to the project since its premiere in 2009 have, in some ways, been forever changed by it, as I learned when, earlier this month, I got to speak with four of them. For instance, Aisha Tyler, who voiced agent-turned-agency boss Lana Kane, explained how her time on the show had changed the way she regarded the James Bond franchise. “The whole inspiration for this was that Adam (Reed) was thinking about the fact that James Bond is pretty much a dick,” Tyler told me. “He was just a hot guy, and then the building would explode and somehow he would just fly out of the window, land on both feet, shoot his cuffs and walk into a casino. And (with Archer, Reed) kind of stretched that trope to the breaking point.”

Amber Nash, who voiced HR manager-turned-gonzo agent Pam Poovey, said she can no longer take pop-culture spy tech seriously, thanks to Archer’s resident mad scientist Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates): “Because Krieger made so much great weird stuff, it’s just like, ‘Oh, it’s never going to be as good as what Krieger would come up with. We’ve done it even better on Archer.’”

I wondered whether their scripts had been useful in teaching them a little tradecraft. “I should have been paying closer attention (to learn) how to dispose of a body,” joked Tyler. “I feel like all the tradecraft I've learned is interoffice politics and how not to get called into HR. Just do the opposite of whatever the characters on the show do, and that should keep you out of trouble.”

“Honestly, I want to say drift car racing, but anybody that knows me would be like, ‘Absolutely not. You're not a good driver,’” said Nash. 

“Oh, you mean can I kill someone with a pen?” asked H. Jon Benjamin, the voice of the titular Sterling Archer. “Yes. And I have. Twice.”

One thing the whole cast agreed on was how hard it would be to say goodbye not just to the show, but to each other — even in a situation like this, where they recorded their performances on their own and rarely saw each other except around fan or industry events. “It’s been really hard because it all kind of happened right around the strike,” said Nash. “We weren’t able to talk about the show, and we weren’t able to post about it or be together. So while the strike was very important, and I’m so happy that it happened and we got to where we are now, it made (the announcement about the show’s ending) really isolating and sad.”

“I mean, it’s been painful,” said Tyler, adding that a live episode performance earlier this week would be the first time she and her castmates would be seeing each other since before COVID. “In the beginning, we only saw each other twice a year at New York Comic-Con and San Diego Comic-Con. We were really great friends and we've been really fortunate to have such an incredible group of people, but we never really get to be a cast. And everybody in the cast is so insanely funny. This is a really lovely group of people, and I’ve been very lucky to know them.” 

Benjamin was also looking forward to getting to celebrate the show in person: “The worst possible way to say goodbye is on Zoom when somebody’s trying to say something and then the other person’s jumping in,” he said. Chris Parnell, who voiced agent/accountant Cyril, called the cast’s group Zooms with current executive producers Matt Thompson and Casey Willis “fun” but “bittersweet.” 

But… is this definitely the end for Archer? Other adult animation shows, like The Venture Bros. and Metalocalypse, released spin-off movies this year. Couldn’t Archer be next? “Listen, between you and me and the background traffic, we’d all love to make an Archer movie,” said Tyler. “How dare Bob’s Burgers have a movie and we don’t? Is there no justice in this world?”

“We’ve talked about it as a cast,” said Nash. “We’d all be very keen to do something else, and we kind of hope that something else will happen.”

“There was a lot of talk about it being a live-action movie,” said Benjamin, “which I assume I won’t get the part. But I’ll root for it even despite that.”

While they wait to see whether and how the Archer franchise continues, the cast is keeping busy. Nash is currently headlining the live-action feature film How to Ruin the Holidays, co-starring Tyler. “When you make a movie, it takes so long, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” Nash said. “So getting to hear people’s reactions of what they thought about the movie and what they laughed at and what they didn’t laugh at and what made them cry. It’s been really, really sweet, and I’m so happy that people finally get to see it.”

Parnell continues to voice Jerry in the current seventh season of Rick and Morty, which in his experience has a slightly different fandom than Archer’s. “I feel like there’s a lot of crossover, for sure,” he said. “I’ve gotten some pushback from certain fans on Instagram, not being happy that Justin (Roiland)’s off the show and really wanting me to try to change that. I’m just like, ‘I don’t have the power to do that.’ But my sense is, the Archer crowd might be a little more mature, a little more laid back, in general.”

Speaking of Bob’s Burgers: Benjamin continues to voice the titular Bob, and we discussed the lack of a traditional Thanksgiving this season — should we assume Bob’s holiday did not get ruined this year? “Yeah, that’s a perfectly acceptable fan theory,” Benjamin responded. “Everything went well. Perfect meal, everybody happy. Made for terrible television. They just threw it out.”

Tyler not only promised that fans would “feel very satisfied by the way the show ends,” but in her capacity as a cocktail entrepreneur, recommended a drink pairing to enjoy while watching it. “A Gummi Roy (is) the patron drink of the Archer series,” she said. “If people don’t know, (it’s) scotch with gummi bears in the bottom of the glass, and you let them melt slowly, kind of like a scotch-y Old Fashioned. I suggest that everybody of responsible drinking age who has nowhere to drive, enjoy a Gummi Roy as they watch Archer: Into the Cold.”

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