Posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 by Fred Topel
This is not the first time Archer has drastically changed the format for a whole season. Season five was Archer Vice, a pastel, florescent spoof of Miami Vice. The series was back to the spying game for season six, but season seven will find the Archer team working as private detectives instead.
No matter what they do, we can be sure the Archer gang will make outrageous, inappropriate claims and shout over each other in exasperated cacophonous chaos. We got to speak with Archer creator Adam Reed as he was putting the finishing touches on season seven. Archer returns Thursday, March 31 at 10PM on FX.
Is the whole season going to be the Archer gang working as private detectives?
They have opened a detective agency in Los Angeles. At least in the ’70s and/or ’80s, to be a private eye in California, you have to have either 2,000 hours of investigative work or a law degree. Since Cyril has a law degree, it’s actually going to be the Figgis Agency and all the former field agents are now working under Cyril, which Archer more than anybody really hates.
Are detective stories a lot different than spy stories?
You know, surprisingly not very different. A lot of misadventure and bickering seems to be common for both professions.
Did you know this was where the season was going to go when you ended season six?
Yes, yes. The wheels were already sort of turning. I didn’t know early on in season six or I would’ve tried to sprinkle in some call forwards, but yes, by the time season six was over, I knew this was what they were going to be doing. I was already watching Rockford [Files] and Magnum [P.I.] and Simon & Simon, all my favorites from growing up.
Is it a season like Archer Vice where you get to do a really specific genre?
There are little tributes to a lot of the ’70s and ’80s detective series, a little bit the detective genre as a whole but for the most part, the cases I think are very analogous to missions. It’s not too much different from spying. They’re still spying on people, just domestically rather than internationally. Malory and FX were worried about the grubbiness of the private investigation profession. So early on Malory is insistent on positioning them as the detectives for the stars. They wind up in the elite circles of Hollywood.
You said Malory and FX were worried about that?
Malory and FX it turns out have very similar concerns.
Did something happen during season six where you thought they can’t keep being spies forever?
I was just worried about writer burnout and viewer burnout on spy stories. It seems like we had a little bit of a geopolitical lull for several seasons but now as the news is more dominated by global conflict, it was a little harder to escape as a writer into spy stuff when the news is all not great lately. Having them be detectives was a good way for me at least to shut out the bad news and have fun that didn’t involve terror cells.
Is this a permanent change in direction for Archer?
I’m not sure. I’m not sure. I don’t know what the future seasons will hold. I’m just trying to bring all the moving parts in season seven together in the last script.
Does Archer and Lana’s baby age between season six and seven?
Yes, yes. She’s now 26 years old, married. No, one of the episodes is them trying to get her into an elite private preschool so she is essentially pre-pre-school. So yes, she is aging normally. I guess normally for real people, not normally for cartoon people.
Besides pre-school, are there new jokes you can do about their baby as she gets older?
One of the running jokes is just “where is the baby?” The baby is not going out on these cases really so trying to avoid older brother Chuck syndrome from Happy Days. The baby is not in every episode, I’ll say that.
Is Malory still the babysitter?
We have a nanny. There is now a nanny so Malory can now be shitty to the nanny.
That’s a new character?
We don’t actually meet the nanny. She is uncharitably off screen.
Do you ever worry about running out of inappropriate things for the characters to say?
No. If I run low, usually the voice actors have plenty of inappropriate ad libs in the booth.
Do you also come up with random distractions for them to lose focus on the main plot?
Yeah, usually we try to have a good B story. There are a couple sort of season long runners that are certainly distracting, like people settling into Los Angeles, and then the office dynamic has really changed since Cyril is now the boss. Pam and Cheryl have sort of been enlisted as helping with these investigations now so they’re not stuck back at the office. They turn out not to be great at investigative work.