YMMV: Archer

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Archer is clinically insane. The countless traumas heaped on him by his mother as he grew up, coupled with the stress of his work as a spy, and compounded by multiple brain injuries (including two cases of meatball surgery and a mind-control chip) and Katya's and Jakov's deaths, has gradually pushed him to further and further extremes of disassociation with reality, up to the point where he has a two-month-long retrograde amnesia episode at the start of the fourth season, where he thinks he's Bob.
      • He also might have an Ambiguous Disorder; Lana and several other characters have speculated that Archer might have some sort of developmental disorder, if not atypical autism.
      • His conversation with Ray in "Archer Vice: The Rules of Extraction" may or may not point to him being suicidally depressed.
        Ray: How long will it take you, Archer, to admit that you dick around every time we're in danger, just to screw with everybody, because of your complete - no, your utter contempt for your own mortality?!
        Archer: I mean, yeah. Duh.
    • Even as early as "Training Day" he admits to being depressed.
      Archer: Happy, Cyril?
      Cyril: No! No, I'm not happy!
      Archer: Well, guess what? Me neither! I mean, big picture, I wouldn't say I'm a happy person.
    • Cheryl/Carol is actually a sensitive woobie who's afraid of alienating other people with her wealth, and she keeps working at ISIS because her coworkers are her only close friends. The woman's worth millions, so she obviously doesn't need the paycheck. And she's probably been at ISIS for at least a few years, but the others didn't find out about her wealthy family until late in Season 2. Considering how open she usually is about personal stuff (like her weird fetishes) it seems a little odd that she kept that little detail to herself for so long. Maybe she was afraid of losing her only real friendships.
    • Alternatively, given Cheryl/Carol's statements about thriving on hatred for those around her (saying it's the only reason she gets out of bed in the morning in the season four premier) and her admission to Sterling that she's aroused not only by physical but also emotional abuse, hanging out with the violent, dysfunctional ISIS crew might be a pleasurable experience for her. When she revealed that she was loaded everyone treated her more nicely and less like a lowly secretary which coincided with her becoming much more bratty and mean because she wasn't getting the abuse she craved from them.
    • Was it really an accident that Cyril shot the defecting KGB operative (see What an Idiot, below)? Or is he secretly a KGB sleeper agent?
  • Awesome Ego: Archer. He's a smug, idiotic, alcoholic, narcissistic ass who is totally in love with himself. But just happens to be able to kick enough ass and screw enough chicks to back it up.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Base Breaker: Barry. Either he's a witty and intelligent villain who's justified in his hate for Archer, a fun bad guy we Love to Hate, or just an annoying drag on an episode. Katya post Face-Heel Turn gets a bit of flak for the latter, too.
    • Slater. The characters in-show can certainly agree that he's an insufferable prick. As for the fans, they either Love to Hate him or they just plain hate him for stealing Mallory's role as Mission Control, resulting in Mallory being Demoted to Extra for the entirety of Season 6.
    • Lana. Depends on whether or not you find her Only Sane Man traits hilarious or naggy.
  • Better on DVD: The Running Gag and Call Back quotient gets higher and higher the longer the show goes on, so you're going to miss a lot of jokes if you don't watch them in order.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The season 5 finale has two fighter pilots talking about tapas and a man who apparently wasn't the father of one of them.
  • Broken Base:
    • Most fans agree that Barry became a Knight of Cerebus in the season 2 finale. Whether this was the right idea is debatable-either he became a great Love to Hate character and recurring villain, or he just made the show uncomfortably dark and serious.
    • Whether it was a good idea to change the premise of the show from a spy agency to a drug cartel. Most fans are willing to give the new format a chance, though. It's ultimately moot as the series goes back to being about a spy agency after the end of the fifth season.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Barry and his gun.
    • Archer and his new spy car in Drift Problem.
  • Crazy Awesome: Cheryl, the pyromaniac secretary who spouts non sequiturs at any given moment, eats glue as a snack, and somehow becomes a successful country singer despite her insanity.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Malory's entire character. She's openly abusive to her son and granddaughter, she had an affair with the head of the KGB, drinks like a fish, had a very inappropriate relationship with her dog, and uses ISIS as her own personal servants. Oh, and she chews Sterling out for doing the exact same things that she does.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Season 6, where she thinks AJ (an infant) is too fat and hopes she learns about cigarettes soon.
    • Much of the humor in the show is built on Crossing the Line Twice. Whether or not you like the show will depend heavily on whether you think they go too far, not far enough, or manage to get it just right.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: With everyone being an unlikable jerk and the fact that very little is accomplished throughout the series, a lot of people find it hard to enjoy the series.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Archer drugging Lana and carrying her off to Wales, which Archer has to clarify that it wasn't for "sexual assault-y reasons." Understandably, Lana is pissed about it for the rest of the episode.
  • Ear Worm:
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Cheryl, being lauded by critics and fans alike for her bizarre behavior and insane quips.
    • Ditto for Pam, until Season 5's Character Focus made her too massively annoying, and her What an Idiot moments made her take The Scrappy slot away from Cyril.
    • Krieger and Ray both proved popular enough early on to be incorporated into the main cast, with Lucky Yates even getting his name in the opening title sequence come Season 5. (Adam Reed, on the other hand, hasn't, given that he already has his own credit at the end.)
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Archer/Katya, Archer/Lana, Pam/Cheryl.
  • Fetish Retardant: Cyborg Katya. Archer learned the hard way that her genitals are detachable. Krieger also mentioned that her skin was made from dead hobos and the sight of robot parts peeking out from her wounds after fighting Barry are all gruesome reminders of how little of the real Katya remains.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Malory and the heads of various rival organizations, including ODIN and the KGB.
    • The Honey Pot seems to be a fairly common tactic used by ISIS.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In 2014, a terrorist organisation with the acronym ISIS has become notorious for its brutality, savagery, fanaticism and mass-murder. As a result, in Season 6, the in-universe spy organization ISIS will be integrated into the CIA, avoiding further use of the term.
    • In the season 2 episode "Movie Star", Rona Thorne loses control of an automatic weapon at the firing range and accidentally shoots Brett. A few years later, an instructor at a Nevada gun range was shot to death after he gave an Uzi to a nine-year-old girl.
    • All the jokes about Woodhouse dying have become less funny with the passing of George Coe.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Every episode is littered with really obscure literary and cultural references; for example, Pam has The Destruction of Sennacherib by Lord Byron tattooed on her back. This is a trademark of Adam Reed shows, since Frisky Dingo and Sealab 2021 are similarly littered.
    • While Archer's crack about Krieger's movies fell under All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles, the title of the movies ("Fisherman's Wife" and "Fisherman's Wife 2: The Retentacling") are a direct reference to a famous Edo-era woodcutting.
    • Most of the offhand references to spy lore are actually historically accurate.
    • In the WW1 flashback in "Double Deuce", Reggie got shot by a German sniper after Woodhouse wasted three matches lighting his cigarette in night time No Man's Land. This is a reference to a supposed superstition (that might or might not have really existed) that lighting three matches in a row meant certain death because it allowed enemy snipers to spot, aim at and finally fire at each of the lights.
    • In "The Archer Protocol" Archer assumes that Crash McCaren is an assassin because his last name is Irish along with some other flimsy logic. Crash corrects him that his name is Scots-Irish. It is a nitpick but they are technically distinct groups. To quote Colbert:
      There's no Irish blood in Scots-Irish People. They are Scottish Presbyterians, who were given land in Ireland. They took our land and drove my people across the River Shannon, where we were forced to farm rocks by Oliver Cromwell and I will see him rot in Hell before you call Scots-Irish people Irish!
      • Fitting then that Archer, whose mother hates the Irish, wouldn't know the distinction.
    • Lana's "Fiocchi" underwear is actually a Shout-Out to Fiocchi Munizioni, an ammunition manufacturing company that produces ammunition for, among others, Lana's signature TEC-9 handguns.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The episode "The Honeymooners," which concerned Archer and Lana trying to stop North Koreans from buying enriched uranium, aired just after the real North Korea threatened yet again to attack South Korea and the United States with nuclear weapons.
    • As mentioned above, due to an actual terrorist organization named ISIS being in the news and popular culture, the sixth season of Archer has the agency back in business in association with the CIA. An ISIS logo is seen being removed from the office, though its new name is still unknown.
  • He's Just Hiding: Nikolai Jakov, whom the created has confirmed multiple times as being Killed Off for Real, is still theorised to have survived somehow, or be revived as a cyborg.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In "Double Trouble", the season two finale, Ray reveals he is a defrocked priest but can still legally administer weddings, but can't get married himself. A few months after it aired, New York legalized same-sex marriage.
    • While it was already funny, the lyrics to Archer's 'Mulatto Butts' ringtone ("black ass momma, white ass daddy") take on a whole new meaning once it's revealed Archer is the father of Lana's baby girl.
    • Archer's obsession with wearing a turtle-neck sweater on every mission just became a bit funnier now that James Bond is shown wearing one for Spectre
  • Ho Yay: "Honeypot," "Double Deuce" and "The Wind Cries Mary" are drenched in it.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Archer, and considering the childhood he had, it's clear he has a heckova Freudian Excuse.
      • One example in particular is Archer's flashback to boarding school where he, as a young boy, sits alone in athletic sweats by an empty field, holding a lacrosse stick. That not even the kids at boarding school would play lacrosse with him was kind of heartwrenching.
      • To go further than that: being alone on his sixth birthday because his mother couldn't be bothered to be there and Woodhouse getting high on heroin in the bathroom, getting lost in New York at the age of nine because Malory couldn't be bothered to tell him she moved, getting breast cancer, his friend Ruth dying, his fiancé –as far as he knew– dying, her leaving him after finding out she's alive, just to name a few things.
    • "Stage Two" demonstrates the principle quite well in one scene with both Archer and Brett - after the latter, who's been constantly shot as a result of Archer's carelessness, dickishly makes fun of Archer's breast cancer, Sterling gives him a vicious beating in response.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Malory. She's a bitchy, overbearing, promiscuous harpy, but is still entertaining for those exact reasons.
    • Barry, at least by the third season.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Gillette actually refers to Lana with this moniker after she explains her plan involving all the employees of ISIS getting bragging rights about sleeping with her...which they never actually get to do, all while knowing they would never admit to not having sex with her.
    • Security cameras filmed Archer switching blood samples to get out of the paternity suit over the Wee Baby Seamus. The test turned out positive anyway, so Barry altered the security footage and let Archer get nailed in court. And since Archer waived his rights...
    • Cyril, of all people, became a Magnificent Bastard (at least, temporarily) in the episode "El Contador".
    • In "Lo Scandalo", Malory kills the Italian prime minister, uses the ISIS staff's squick reaction to get them to dispose of the body without asking questions, and anonymously calls the cops on herself so they'll discount her as a potential suspect. And it is implied that the whole murder was part of a decades-long plot of revenge against said Italian prime minister for murdering a young man in the 1940's who may have been Archer's father.
    • In "Crossing Over", Barry becomes one when he finds and kills Jakov without breaking a sweat.
    • And Katya in "Viscous Coupling" when she uses Archer to take over as KGB head and build a ship for Barry to get back to earth.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Do you want to X? Because that's how you X."
  • Moral Event Horizon: "Double Trouble" marks Barry's crossing from good to evil when, after being revived as a cyborg, his attempted murder of Archer results in the death of Archer's fiancee Katya. Not only does he not show remorse, he actually boasts about it to rub it in to Archer immediately afterwards.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Googling "earballs" brings up an Urban Dictionary entry claiming that Cheryl popularized the word; however, Dr. Timothy Leary used to say it when he was still alive.
    • The "Black Mexican" cocktail Archer creates in "Sitting" — tequila mixed with Kahlua — is actually called a Brave Bull and dates to the 1950s. It's apparently quite tasty. Adding cream or milk makes it a Colorado Bulldog, not a "White Mexican".
  • One True Pairing: Zig-zagged with Lana/Archer:
    • In Season 1, while Archer seems to be under the impression that Lana is still in love with him despite them having broken up, Lana hates Archer enough to shoot him in the foot twice and waiting until Malory OKed it to remove a knife from Archer's back.
    • Season 2 has the pair warm up to each other somewhat. They also almostnote  have sex when Archer is diagnosed with cancer. However, Archer ends up finding his true love Katya only for her to be killed by Barry in the following episode.
    • Season 4 has Archer and Lana closer together than ever, with Lana even kinda considering getting back together with him in "Viscous Coupling" before he abruptly ends the conversation after getting a call from Katya. In "Sea Tunt, Part II", they have some actually civil, if not outright caring, interactions after Lana reveals that she is pregnant, and Archer agrees to give her the underwater breathing equipment in his place. And as he drowns, his last words are "Lana! I... love... you..."
    • Season 5 gets heavier still as the Ship Tease is near-constant throughout the season, especially considering he's the only one who's shown concern regarding her pregnancy, culminating in the season finale where it's revealed that Lana's sperm donor is Sterling. She decided to use his sperm (without his knowledge) as she realized, over the years, that she really loved him.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Pam seems to be back to her old self as of season 6.
    • Cyril started to win some fans over once he became a field agent in the later seasons and had some badass moments like manipulating a Colombian drug lord (El Contador), punching Archer in the face (Coyote Lovely) a good chunk of Season 5, being effective in the mission to Colombia and later overthrowing a dictator and running an army effectively. He also got a lot of sympathy points after Lana callously laughed at him when he told her he loved her.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Archer and Lana's relationship is the main focus of season 6, and glossing over several other plots of the episodes. Unfortunately, it takes up so much time that the other characters are often relegated to a few scenes in a B-Plot.
  • Shipping: Since pretty much every member of the main cast has at least some Ship Tease with everyone else, this is inevitable.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Cyril has few fans, mostly for his poor shooting skills and shining moments mostly being a case of This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman. Although the episodes where he shines are often very much loved by the fanbase at large. Lately, though, he was getting some better moments.
    • In Season 5, Pam took over this slot for her unfunny humor and Character Focus for the first half of the season. Jokes about her cocaine addiction also got old really fast. As with Cyril, she became Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
    • Rodney, for being a one-note Obstructive Bureaucrat with nothing interesting about him. His scenes felt more like padding than anything else.
    • Pam's sister, Edie, albeit intentionally. Who occupies her screentime endlessly berating and insulting Pam. It really tells you something when someone can outdick Barry.
    • Lance Casteau, for the same reasons as Edie. Again, also intentional.
    • Lana turned into this in Season 6. Between her callous behavior when she hired an actor to kidnap AJ just to have Archer prove he'd do anything to save her and callously laughing in Cyril's face when he says he still loves her, the fans were completely disgusted with her behavior.
    • TV's Michael Gray , where he is portrayed as a flamboyant, irritating Man Child.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Spy Groove.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Barry and Katya get together because they're both cyborgs. Later episodes show that their relationship is dysfunctional and Katya still holds Archer in higher regards than Barry, while season six reveals Katya left Barry for good.
    • To some, the Archer/Lana relationship of season six.
  • Squick: There is a lot of often-disturbing sexual activity/references in the show. This is bound to pop up at any time.
    • Sterling's attitude towards any sexual implications involving his mother.
    • Cheryl's reaction to hearing Malory say "We'll just see how tough Sterling is when he can't suckle at my teat!"
    • The fact that Malory used to have Sterling check her for lumps.
    • Pray that you never learn or figure out what Lucas Troy revealed to Archer at the end of his episode. The final seconds of the episode are spent with the characters driving away with blank faces.
    • In Heart of Archness: Part II Archer has just had a threesome with two women. He then comments on how he's "slathered in every bodily fluid known to man". Most of those fluids are yellow and brown...
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The Vocal Minority Hatedom towards the fifth season and ISIS being shut down and becoming a drug cartel.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • In "Crossing Over" Archer bonds with Jakov, who's one of the potential candidates to be his father. As the episode progresses, Jakov is murdered by Barry while Archer is off goofing around. Archer is horrified to learn that Jakov was killed because he was screwing around instead of protecting him like he was supposed to. You think this might lead to an existential crisis like what he went through after Katya was killed, but he's back to his usual jackassery by the next episode.
    • One complaint about the season four premiere and finale is that they're too short and take too long to set up the plot, so they don't have enough time to develop the plot or the new characters.
    • In "Skytanic", Cyril and Lana push a timebomb off the zeppelin, accidentally bombing Wales in the process. Despite her and Archer visiting Wales in "Archub Y Morfilod" and interacting with Welsh terrorists, this was never brought up once.
  • Uncanny Valley: The jerky animation and semi-photorealistic designs can invoke this trope for some. Especially the Bob's Burgers characters Archer-fied, it's not that bad if you watch both and are used to the Archer animation (Even less if you've never seen Bob's Burgers) but watch an entire season (or more) of Bob's Burgers, then watch that Season Premier intro again, it's extremely jarring.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: In the Season 6 premiere, Archer is supposed to be seen as the bad guy for heading to Thailand to escape being a parent. While it is wholly irresponsible of him, Lana did steal Archer's sperm to make a baby, and didn't even tell him until after the baby was born.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Lana gives Cyril grief when he cheats on her. This is true, but Lana wasn't faithful either, having slept with Skorpio and possibly a billionaire Sikh, the former having been done before Cyril cheated on her.
    • A lot of Lana's baby plot puts her in a bad light: She gets herself pregnant with Archer's sperm without his knowledge, and even when he offers to help her at every turn, she's often been rude to him, even stating she would rather lose the baby than marry him. She attempts to shoot him in the face during birth, but is only stopped because her rifle was empty. While Archer is a goofball, she's been even very nasty to him after AJ's birth: she hired an actor to kidnap AJ and prove his worth as a parent, which got Archer shot. And she expresses no remorse over anything she does.
  • Vocal Minority: Much of the Hatedom towards the fifth season.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Archer causing a seaplane to run out of fuel by assuming autopilot maintains flight plan, then crashing it by lowering the landing gear while its pilot attempts a water landing, in "Heart of Archness Part I". He then eats all the rations in the liferaft and causes himself and his fellow survivor to be captured by pirates.
    • In "Crossing Over", Cyril kills an unarmed, subdued, cooperating KGB agent who was about to defect and give ISIS a full rundown of KGB operations, including Barry's master plan. In the same episode, Cheryl takes Barry to the ISIS safehouse where Jakov is being housed in protective custody. The first case was accidental, and the second case, Cheryl's ditzy behavior prevented her from realizing the depth of her errors.
    • Noted by Lana to Cyril in "The Wind Cries Mary" in response to him dressing in orange clothing. He says so he won't accidentally be shot by hunters and she points out it makes him an easy target for the guy intentionally shooting at them. Lucas Troy calls out Lana in the same episode for her spray and pray firing method while only ever carrying two magazines.
    • Ron ruining Archer's attempted bluff in "Midnight Ron" by accidentally letting it slip that he's out of bullets.
    • In "Sea Tunt Part II", when the ISIS agents are posing as a local news crew, Archer and Ray insist on giving themselves biographies that could be debunked with a 5 second Google or Wikipedia search. Well, Archer did - Ray just wanted to tweak Archer's nose by putting his alter-ego higher than Archer's.
    • Pam proves she's Too Dumb to Live by buying amphetamines from the yazuka, with money she knew to be counterfeit, fully aware that she'd pay for her mistakes.
    • The husband of the woman Archer sleeps with in "Heart of Archness part 1". He's out playing golf on the first night of their honeymoon. Archer points this out.
  • The Woobie:
    • Poor, poor Woodhouse.
      "Sometimes I think I should just run away! ...But who would take me in? No one, Woodhouse. No one."
    • Also Brett, Pigley, Pigley II and Goatley.
    • Archer is this in his childhood flashbacks. In particular the one in Season 4 when it's shown that he used to love alligators... but grew to hate them after receiving a stuffed version from his biological father, whose face is never shown, and that memory got repressed (assuming it wasn't a hallucination).
    • Pam in the episodes where she is unappreciated and viewed as an Abhorrent Admirer by others.
    • Babou in most of his appearances.
    • Krieger's holographic girlfriend. Mostly played for laughs, though.