Like The Venture Bros, the Archer panel at New York Comic Con 2013 had colossal entertainment value but not really a whole lot of information, especially with the number of quips where you were never be totally sure what was a joke and what was serious. That’s going to be my fallback excuse just in case I write something horrifically, awfully wrong. Veteran TV reviewer Ken Tucker moderated a panel consisting of series creator Adam Reed and actors Lucky Yates (Krieger), Amber Nash (Pam), Judy Greer (Cheryl/Carol), Aisha Tyler (Lana), H. Jon Benjamin (Sterling Archer), and Jessica Walter (Mallory Archer). Unfortunately, Chris Parnell wasn’t able to make the panel.
Right after an amusing con-specific promo with Sterling Archer interacting with the audience, FX screened the season 5 premiere, which launches with a bang and, by the end of the episode, almost completely upends the premise of the show. Most of the rest of the panel can’t be covered without referring to some of the events in the episode, at least obliquely, so if you really want to avoid spoilers, bookmark us and come back after the episode premieres (no premiere date yet). Here’s some amusing and occasionally out-of-context photos of the panelists to serve as spoiler space so you can beat temptation.
If you’re still reading, you’re either an FX PR person (hi Kristy!) or you’re one of those people who reads the last pages of the book before the start. The start of the episode consists of an FBI raid on the ISIS offices, and ends with the agency getting prohibited from espionage of any kind in the future. (Un)fortunately, there’s a literal ton of cocaine sitting behind the wall of Mallory Archer’s office (from last season), so the ISIS agents decide they’re going to launch their own drug cartel since nobody can think of anything better to do. Except for Cheryl/Carol, who says confidently that she’s going to become a country & western singer.
Ken Tucker shredded and tossed his carefully assembled index cards of questions about the show, since the new direction supposedly made them all worthless, and started by asking, “Why?” Adam Reed replied that it was “just to change it up and breathe some new life into the show and try something different, and see if people still watch it.”
Lana’s character model is beginning to show the pregnancy that factored into last season; Aisha Tyler joked that if she was Lana, she didn’t know that she’d be engaging in active wetwork, but “Lana has proven to be a competent spy and a terrible decision maker.” This led to a joke where she’d distract bad guys in a firefight by shouting, “I’m pregnant!” and they’d stop and go “awwww” right before getting shot. The cast began riffing on ideas on how the ISIS crew would be the worst day care crew ever; in response to a joke that “Pam would be the worst wet nurse ever,” Lucky Yates joked, “She’s always lactating,” and Judy Greer said that the “babies are germ factories” line was something she said herself and it got incorporated into the show.
Taylor said he was worried about the fate of Ron Cadillac, who is also played by Jessica Walter’s real-life husband Ron Leibman. While not saying anything definitive about Ron, Adam Reed revealed a few of the season’s upcoming guest stars. Ron Perlman will be returning and they’re still in talks with Christian Slater who is slated to appear mid-season. The rest of the guest stars aren’t locked down yet, so Reed didn’t want to “out” them at the panel, but responded to a question later about the “Top Gun” trailer by saying they were trying to get Kenny Loggins on the show to sing a duet with Cheryl/Carol. Pretty sure they weren’t joking about that.
Speaking of which, Cheryl/Carol’s music was written by Kevin Kinney of Drivin N Cryin, and that though Judy Greer is a good singer, her singing in the show is sung by someone else. An album of Cheryl/Carol’s music is set for release in January.
After Aisha Tyler joked that they won an award from the Americans with Disabilities Association for Excessive Cruelty to a handicapped character (Reed’s Ray Gillette), Reed said that the Tinnunitus association loves them, sending a letter thanking them for raising awareness about the disorder through the multiple references in the show.
Q&A ended up getting cut short because the cast kept riffing and joking with each other. I don’t think most people in the audience cared.
The first question was about another Bob’s Burgers crossover, to which Jon Benjamin said not right now (but not before an extremely off-color and extremely funny joke). He also said there were no plans for more H. Jon Benjamin Has a Van, which led to quips about him being the white Morgan Freeman, Aisha Tyler saying that was ridiculous because he was much sexier than Morgan Freeman, and then Benjamin replying Morgan Freeman is the black Jon Benjamin.
Adam Reed said that the tattoo quote from Byron on Pam’s back was a tribute to his 10th grade English teacher Coach Townsend (who was also the baseball coach), even though he probably doesn’t watch the show. Pretty sure you can guess what the jokes were relating to the baseball coach being the English teacher.
For some reason, Adam Reed asked about people cosplaying as Mallory Archer in the audience. There were two, but I only caught the one in the audience (apparently sitting next to her friends cosplaying Ray Gillette and Pam Poovey), followed by Jessica Walter’s reaction:
Then someone asked the logical question whether anyone was cosplaying Krieger’s hologram anime bride.
The next question was whether characteristics of the actors’ animated selves have bled into their own personalities. Lucky Yates’ first response was, “This is a whole dark closet. Are these answers that you want?” Aisha Tyler added that they end up devolving to our characters and that dynamic when they’re together, especially during the live reads they’ve done a few times. Everyone gets together, insults each other and then falls down. She added that one lady in Philadelphia who participated by getting dressed up as Pam on stage asked her, “Is it always this ****** up?” Tyler’s answer: “Every time.”
The last question (which was actually 2 questions ago, but it makes a better one to end this writeup with) was whether there was anything the actors wanted their chars to do that they haven’t yet, and their favorite quotes from the show.
Lucky Yates would love Krieger to build a giant robot, because why the fuck not? He’s got the capabilities. He also loved doing the final rant from the original Planet of the Apes, describing that as a big nerd dream come true.
Amber Nash said she wanted to see Poovey Farms more, and what Pam’s family looks like. She suggested that she could play all of the voices a la The Nutty Professor, and they should all kind of look like Pam. Adam Reed put her on the spot, asking her to do the Poovey Dad: here’s what Amber did in response.
Judy Greer said she couldn’t ask for anything more than getting to be a country music sensation. Her favorite line was to scream “You’re not my supervisor!” (which I was lucky enough to catch in both audio and a photo).
Aisha Tyler said she was looking forward to Lana doing all the things a pregnant lady shouldn’t do, like running through the jungle shooting automatic weaponry. Totally skipping the bits about the borderline porno Lana shooting guns in her knockoff designer underwear, and the “crowning and shooting” jokes. And the bit about how “ZZ Top” is coming into her life with her husband (which involved the phrase “ZZ Bottom”). Nope, not going there. Sorry.
H. Jon Benjamin slyly used the ZZ Top thing to avoid answering.
Jessica Walter’s favorite line was when she had to say, “Boom-chicka-boom-boom,” explaining that she doesn’t get a lot of the things other people say on the show (including probably half the stuff said on the panel). She asked what that line meant and Adam Reed told her, “It’s a porn thing.”
And I think that’s as good a point as any to just sort of stop. Keep an eye on Toonzone News for the Archer season 5 premiere announcement. I also have some more decent photos I don’t know what else to do with: