Comic-Con 2011: FX's 'Archer' brings the raunch
A boisterous screening and Q&A for the animated spy comedy
In his many voiceover roles, H. Jon Benjamin has played a spy ("Archer"), a frustrated burger chef ("Bob's Burgers"), a soccer coach ("Home Movies") and a little boy (also "Home Movies"), among others. Thursday afternoon at Comic-Con, he tried to play the role of insurrectionist.
Late in the "Archer" panel, a fan asked about the possibility of a feature film about Archer, Lana and the rest of the agents of ISIS. "Archer" creator Adam Reed said he considers the idea all the time, but "The trick has been getting FX to even entertain the thought of considering it. I get the, 'Well, we'll see. When you're 12, we'll talk about getting a pony."
Reed then pointed out a handful of FX execs sitting in the front row and said, "Don't let 'em leave until they agree to do it."
And then Benjamin smiled maliciously and barked, "There's thousands of you against them!"
The fans didn't exactly need Benjamin to incite them to riot. They were already primed to demonstrate their love of the show with the episode FX screened, which will be airing Sept. 15. (FX is airing a three-episode mini-arc in the fall to wrap season 2. The DVD will then come out on Dec. 27, and season 3 will debut sometime in January.) Titled "Heart of Archness, Part 1," it picks up where the last episode left off, with Archer dealing with the murder of his fiancee in a very Archer way - which ultimately involves sharks, pirates and guest stars Patrick Warburton and David Cross.
The crowd whooped and hollered throughout the episode (the mere sound of Warburton's voice created a reaction that drowned out a good 10 seconds of dialogue that followed), and the actors - Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell, Judy Greer and Amber Nash - all soaked up their fair share of applause as they took the stage, with Benjamin standing on a chair and raising his arms in triumph to extend his moment.
Moderator Todd VanDerWerff from The AV Club opened things up by asking the actors if there was ever any material that they were initially too horrified to say. The game-for-anything cast couldn't come up with many examples, until it was Benjamin's turn.
"I was pretty offended by the really long anti-Semitic rant that Adam wrote for this episode," he began, as Tyler buried her face in her hands to try to control her laughter, "that was fortunately cut out. And I had a hard time saying all that stuff, but I did it as a favor. You missed it. It was after the Hitler mention. There was a whole long thing... It was a good portion of 'Mein Kampf.'"
On the subject of season 3, Reed promised "Bigger and better adventures. Hopefully some outer space. Morocco has been bandied about repeatedly." After some heckling from his actors, he admitted "'Almost as good as season 2' is what we're shooting for."
During the fan Q&A, Benjamin was unsurprisingly asked to recreate Archer's "Danger zone!" catchphrase. He was at first reluctant, then tried to act like he didn't know how to set it up, at which point the air filled with dozens of people screaming "Lana! Lana!" at the top of their lungs. (Tyler: "All so angry!") But he's a pro, and he did it, and people loved it.
Reed said that the third season would finally go more into the origins of the character he plays, Ray Gillette, explaining, "We do find out a little more backstory about Ray, besides him being an Olympic bronze medalist in men's downhill."
As the crowd snickered at the double entendre involving the very gay Ray, Tyler insisted, "Skiing!" And Benjamin added, "There's no Olympics for that... yet."
After the "Danger Zone" bit, the other actors were asked to recite their favorite line of dialogue from the first two seasons. Nash went with Pam's "Holy shitsnacks!" Greer sheepishly said, "Geez, ow," which had been part of an earlier answer. Parnell said, "Hello!," which he admitted was his answer to a similar question at last year's Con. Tyler went with "Unkempt bush?!? My vulva's as smooth as a veal cutlet!" (Though at first she accidentally switched "vulva" and "veal," confusing everyone.)
And then Benjamin recited several lines of the Jewish prayer "Shema Yisrael."
Finally, the actors were asked a variation of Todd's opening question: have there ever been lines they've outright objected to for the filthiness? This time, Reed said that the only time he ever has trouble with the raunchy stuff is when Jessica Walter comes in to film.
"She'll say, 'This next scene, I say this thing, and I don't understand exactly what it is,'" he said, embarrassed. "And then I'll explain some horiffically bodily fluid-based joke to her.... And then she'll go, 'Oh, Adam!' And I'm just really quiet, and she'll go, 'Screw it. Let's do it. Here we go.' But I'm always so embarrassed to explain to her what she's actually saying.
"The rest of them, I don't think care."
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