Archer has had a rough few years, both in-universe and out of it. Budget cuts since 2016 have seen the show reduced to an ever dwindling number of episodes per season, yet still lumbering on, propelled solely by the strength of tired gags devised by better writers ten years earlier. Three years of coma seasons – Naruto levels of filler – have left fans thinking it’s time to take this dog out to the shed and Old Yeller it. In-universe, Sterling Archer feels the same: broken, rejected, and incapable of matching up to his old glory, having only recently woken up from a coma into a world that simply doesn’t need his antics any longer. For now.
Archer hasn’t known what to do with itself for years, and even in this long-awaited return back to consciousness, it is clear that it still just wants to relive the dreams of the past, not bold enough to come to an end on its own terms and not pitiful enough to yet be smothered with a pillow. The gag of Pam being Archer’s only real friend seems to be the only thing worth watching for – out of all the fanservice desperately being thrown about like Tec-9 hollowpoints, it’s the only bit that gives the show a little spark in this otherwise dreary retread into The Glory Days, But Totally Cynical Now.
It’s just sad. I wanted better for so long, but when it came, I realised they simply lost the last of their vitality in 2016.