Preview: 'Archer' crude but clever

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FX will sneak preview its new animated series "Archer" at 10:30 tonight after the fifth season premiere of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." No promotion, no hype, "Archer" won't even show up in TV listings. It's sort of like Fox's "Glee" campaign but with no money committed. That fits the down-and-dirty, indie feel of "Archer," which comes from one of the creators of Adult Swim's "Frisky Dingo."

"Archer" focuses on suave, jerky spy Sterling Archer (voice of Jon Benjamin), a mama's boy who works for his mother, Malory (Jessica Walter, "Arrested Development"), the head of spy group ISIS. Archer's ex-girlfriend, Agent Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), accuses him of "dragging around a 35-year-old umbilical cord."

Archer is an entitled, racist, misogynistic brat who uses women in the ISIS office, including his mother's secretary, Cheryl (Judy Greer), who pines for Archer despite his abuse.

"No, don't," Archer says to her when she's on the verge of tears, "you're so ugly when you cry."

The tone of the show is absolutely consistent with "Frisky Dingo" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Clearly FX wants to get in on the Adult Swim act by creating its own block of raunchy comedies that appeal to a primarily male audience.

"Archer" may be crude but it's far more clever than last fall's disappointing "Testees," and "Archer" wins points with its observational humor about modern life and in its mocking of mundane workplace minutiae, such as computer passwords and the lack of security at a spy agency.

FX has ordered six episodes of "Archer" which will not air until January 2010.

In addition, four more scripts also have been ordered. A six-episode fantasy football-themed comedy called "The League" will air with "Sunny" sometime this fall, but no premiere date has been announced.


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