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Digital Comics, TV
Once the lights went down for the Archer panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the audience was treated to teasers and insults about their probable virginity, courtesy of Sterling Archer himself. Of course, most spoilers were drowned out by on-screen effects followed by a litany of swearing, but that’s in line with what fans have come to expect from the animated series series, about to enter its fourth season on FX.
As with last year’s panel, the crowd got to view an upcoming episode in its entirety. While spoiling the plot would do little to ruin the enjoyment of the episode, all you need to know is that “Coyote Lovely” sees Archer and company attempt to capture someone smuggling illegal immigrants across the U.S. border, and things go hilariously wrong. This reporter’s notes, hastily scribbled between bursts of laughter, contain the phrases “border patrol,” “multiple Mexican jokes” and “granny with a gun.” Again, pretty much in line with what fans have come to expect from the painfully funny, and blatantly offensive, series.
As the lights came up, stars H. Jon Benjamin (Archer), Aisha Tyler (Lana Kane), Chris Parnell (Cyril Figgis) and Amber Nash (Pam Poovey) were joined onstage by creator Adam Reed for a question-and-answer session moderated by TV Guide’s Damien Holbrook.
Holbrook began by asking about any huge moments from the upcoming season. Reed joked about an “epic sea battle,” while Tyler giggled about “sex with a mop head.” After the cast’s laughter subsided, Reed turned to Malory Archer’s impending nuptials to a man named Ron Cadillac. Voiced by Ron Wheatman, the character isn’t in the spy game at all but rather owns six car dealerships. That seemed to be news to Benjamin who, when asked by Holbrook whether he’d prefer Burt Reynolds, replied, “Yes, I would love to have Burt Reynolds as my dad.”
Holbrook then asked whether the network had ever “shut down a story.” Reed smiled slyly and admitted that, while FX has given the series a lot of leeway, an episode in which Archer was “seduced by a 14-year-old got a little massaging.” The network was apparently unimpressed by research into age-of-consent laws in other countries.
Asked about the process of recording an episode, Parnell kept it simple by saying, “I don’t know about anyone else. I jump around, do my job, have a good time.” Nash said she spends a lot of time wondering whether she’s funny or if Reed is just “laughing at his own jokes.”
“I am a genius,” Reed quipped.
Everyone seemed to agree that Pam Poovey has the best lines, with the cast offering their favorites. Nash suggested the phrase, “like a chupacabra, but for dicks.” Benjamin offered, “like a drowning toddler in my panties.” Tyler countered with, “So turned on that I could cook this chili in my cooch.” All Reed would say is, “Yeah, those were good.”
Returning to the topic of preparation, Benjamin joked that he “eats a bowl of cum.” Holbrook quipped that fans “wouldn’t hear that at The Vampire Diaries panel.”
Tyler pointed to the message on the back of her nameplate, cautioning, “all talent, please be aware that many members of your audience may be under 18 years of age, or don’t want to know what you do on Saturdays.” The ballroom erupted into laughter and applause, causing Benjamin to respond, “Don’t be silly, I’m Jewish. I don’t drink cum on Saturdays, just Sunday through Friday.” He paused and added, “You guys love your cum jokes.”
“I was an altar boy,” Holbrook shot back. Before the exchange was finished, Tyler suggested Holbrook speak only to Parnell, saying, “Chris Parnell is your only hope for reasonable conversation.”
Holbrook tried to get the conversation back on track by asking Nash if Pam was in fact the grossest character on television. She replied, “Pam is disgusting. And lovable.”
The moderator wondered whether Parnell has asked Tina Fey if Dr. Leo Spaceman from 30 Rock) could join Isis for an episode of Archer. Parnell smiled, “I don’t know that there’s a need. And I’m sure NBC would say no.”
Tyler was asked about Lana’s love for Archer, and responded that the character “loves Archer like a goiter.”
For Holbrook’s final question, before opening the floor to the audience, he asked how Reed kept the cast in line. Tyler interrupted, suggesting that Reed keeps no one in line and is, in fact, the one who says, “Let’s burn some shit!”
The first audience question was to Reed, wondering whether Season 4 will introduce new characters, and why Pam isn’t an agent. He responded, “Yes, and I don’t know.”
The next question was actually more of a comment, with the woman stating that she and her daughter had created an Archer drinking game. While Tyler joked that such behavior was “great parenting,” everyone on the panel did want to know the rules. The woman mentioned a few, including drinking any time Lana says, “yup” or Pam says “nut sack.” It was suggested that playing the game correctly during the pilot episode would result in alcohol poisoning. Great parenting, indeed!
Another fan asked whether there were plans to bring Kenny Loggins onto the show. Reed took a beat before responding, “I’m gonna say yes so it won’t seem like you just thought it up and I stole it.” The audience clapped loudly.
“Everyone always forgets about Messina,” Benjamin sighed, the joke clearly flying over many heads in the crowded ballroom.
Asked whether another of Reed’s shows, Frisky Dingo, would ever make a comeback, the audience burst into applause. Sadly, Reed dampened any hopes for a return, saying, “I don’t own it, and they [Adult Swim] didn’t like it when it was on.”
Another fan asked about recurring villains, and Reed replied that Barry the Cyborg will definitely return. While the next question about so many comedians doing animation was deemed by Benjamin to be a “dumb question,” Tyler said it would keep happening because comedians “like eating and stuff.”
The final audience question dealt with rumors about Reed writing each episode by locking himself in a room and drinking a bottle of liquor. Reed responded that it wasn’t all true, with Benjamin adding, “There’s no room.”
Holbrook concluded the panel by asking the cast who would play their character in a live-action version. Nash suggested John Goodman as Pam. The audience loudly suggested Parnell himself play Cyril. The actor responded that wouldn’t work because he’s “too short,” but he could see the role played by Alexander Skarsgard. While Tyler initially joked that she’d pitch Nell Carter as Lana, she’d “fight” anyone who tried to take the role away from her.
Benjamin went with Jon Hamm as Sterling Archer, before looking at Reed and saying, “Who would play you? That guy who created ALF? I guess Raymond Burr.”