I recently came across Archer, the animated FX series, while looking for something to watch in bed on my laptop. I hadn’t really been very interested in the show but I had heard pretty good things about it on the AV Club, so I thought: “What the hell?”
What I didn’t know, however, was that this show was created by Adam Reed, one of the co-creators of SeaLab 2021. Sealab 2021, for those of you whom do not know, was one of the original Adult Swim shows. It reused characters and animation from a cheesy Hanna Barbara 60’s show called Sealab 2020 to create its own irreverent, insane, and viciously funny stories. It’s a show that mixed the highest wit with the dumbest gags. While shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force or The Brak Show seemed more popular, Sealab was the one I loved the best. So, when I realized Archer was from the same mind as Sealab 2021, I was sold.
Archer did not disappoint. Like Sealab 2021, it is a collection of horribly funny characters acting terribly to each other. Taking place in a modern-day yet still quasi-60’s universe, the superspy Sterling Archer and the rest of the ISIS intelligence agency get into stupid adventures while also dealing with the most banal mundane situations at the same time. It’s kind of impossible to describe the tone of Reed’s shows. One thing I can say, however, is that they are not for everyone. In fact, I think they are actually made just for me and my warped sense of humor. I can’t universally recommend them to really anyone but myself. But I cannot recommend them to myself highly enough.
Which brings us, finally, to what prompted me to write this show. Before Archer but after Sealab 2021, Adam Reed created a show called Frisky Dingo that I really had no idea existed. It was on a few years ago but I had kinda stopped watching Adult Swim shows and wasn’t paying attention. After enjoying Archer, I decided to go back and watch it on Netflix. I got the first disk yesterday. I finished it last night and eagerly await the next.
How can I describe this show? Words are not enough. It’s kinda about a superhero from the Bruce Wayne/ Tony Stark mold named Xander Crews, aka Awesome X, searching for a new supervillain. It’s also about the supervillain Killface trying to simultaneously raise his son and build a device to destroy the world. It’s also about a team of inept robots, a reporter transformed by radioactive ants, and a love story between an android and an anthropomorphic lobsterman. But this really doesn’t do it in terms of a summary. And that’s fine, because it’s too good for such easy categorization.
So what more can I say? Well, this game plays “in-poor-taste” chicken with me with every episode. I tend to push things, especially humor, to an envelope where it stops being funny and gets kinda sick/gross/vulgar/awful. I am fascinated by that razor’s edge and, to the detriment of many people around me, I go over the line way too much. But Frisky Dingo is right there with me. In fact, in the game of chicken, even I have to veer away occasionally as I sit, shocked and pulverized by the horrible humor have just witnessed. It is…well, just breathtaking.
So as I said before, I can’t really recommend it. It has things that once seen cannot be unseen or once heard cannot be unheard. But unlike the hand steamer that a eastern European woman tried to sell me at Woodbury Common, it really is perfect for me. So I thought I’d share. I only wish it hadn’t taken so long for me to catch on to this.