‘Archer’ Showrunner Admits That He Forget About a Lot of Loose Ends
Last night marked the end of the FX animated spy comedy Archer after 14 seasons with the three-part epic “Into the Cold.” And after all the outrageous twists and turns that creator and showrunner Adam Reed threw at Archer fans over the past 14 years, he still couldn’t muster the simple plot development of a positive paternity test.
Over his impressive run, Reed proved time and again that he was more than willing to take risks. When Archer’s “Mission of the Week” formula grew stale and a certain other international violence association stole the name “ISIS” in the early 2010s, Reed pivoted with a season-long genre parody in “Archer Vice,” opening the door for more out-of-left-field ideas and preposterous premises to keep the show fresh and free to explore its potential. While the world around the core group of Archer characters changed drastically over the course of 14 seasons, the spirit of the show and the magnetic qualities of the characters themselves remained intact until the end — as did the show’s biggest question mark.
When Archer first began in 2009, the secret at the center of the titular spy’s motivation was the identity of his absentee father, whom even his mother isn’t able to name with certainty. Well, 14 years and innumerable possible paternal figures later, neither Sterling Archer, the audience nor even the show’s creators know the answer to the question of who knocked up the late Malory. However, Reed does have his own hunch — in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Reed was asked if he has any idea who Archer’s father may be, to which he answered, “My vote would be for Buddy Rich.”
The question of Archer’s parentage was one of the most reliable plot points and running gags in the early seasons — every time the show introduced a new intelligence don or Soviet spymaster, their personal history with man-eater Malory would further complicate her only son’s search to find a father. However, as Archer expanded well past its premise, both the showrunners and Sterling himself seemed less and less interested in finding an answer to the show’s oldest question.
“I was — and probably still am — quite bad about going down a path and forgetting that I had, and that was an example of it,” Reed said of Archer’s unnamed father. “I would get distracted by other things and forget to come back and tie up storylines and loose ends.” This has long been noted by the show’s fans as intriguing villains and side-characters seemingly dissolved from the canon between seasons — remember Wee Baby Seamus?
As Reed elaborated, “(Showrunner) Casey Willis was always really good about reminding me, ‘Hey… the thing you just said you want to do is impossible because you did this other thing.’” Specifically, says Reed, he had a hard time keeping track of which characters he’d already killed off, revealing, “I would try to bring back a villain, and Casey would remind me, ‘Okay, so… they died two years ago. Have they been reanimated?’ And I’d be like, ‘Oh… forget that.’”
“I think I’m a scatterbrained, sort of disorganized writer,” Reed admitted, to which I say, “Duh, and/or, hello?”