TIP: S10E01 "Bort the Garj"
Archer, if nothing else, relishes in the obscure. Sometimes it makes subtle references, and other times it does it with bells on.
The first episode I ever got to work on was S1E07 “Skytanic” and one joke still sticks out to me.
Captain Lammers: No! No! No! What happened to discretion!?
Lana: What happened to that bartender?
Malory: Right? Guy sees an empty glass and all of a sudden he’s Judge Crater.
It was during that first season that people started to realize that some of Adam Reed’s jokes were not written to be laughed at now, but were for you to come back to, later, after perusing the internet for hours learning all about one of the most mysterious disappearances in the 20th century.
This writing choice is not intuitive. Some might argue that it’s a terrible way to make television, and that a joke isn’t funny if you have to explain it. In most other shows, obscure jokes get cut from the script because “no one will get it”. And yet here we are, with Adam Reed’s unconventional choice having been applauded for it’s obscure details that nerdy writers love to gather up and explain to you in so many listicles. It’s something about the show that makes it unique. Archer is not specifically concerned about getting everyone to laugh immediately. It has survived because it gets a dedicated percentage of people to keep laughing over and over, with each rewatch, because the jokes slowly reveal themselves. Adam Reed has had uninhibited creative freedom on Archer, which has lead to admiration for his approach, and equal parts abhorration for his direction. It seems like two sides of the same coin.
Maybe you haven’t seen that infamous episode of Magnum P.I., but Archer gets even better after you have.
And if you’re reminded of Battlestar Galactica when watching Archer: 1999, you likely won’t be surprised that Donald Bellisario worked on that in the 1970’s too.
Mr. Bellisario’s filmography isn’t any more responsible for the content or direction of Archer than Alex Toth, Glen Larson, Herman Melville or Gene Roddenberry, but the more of their work you take in, the more you understand and appreciate the cloth that Archer is cut from and quilted back into. More than almost anything else, Archer is a love letter to pop-culture.
I’m mostly writing this because it’s been on my mind (can't imagine why), but also because it should be of no surprise to you when I say that this week, your drink of choice is also obscure, not currently fashionable, but a timeless classic nonetheless.
First, a quote:
It is a curious fact, and one to which no-one knows quite how much importance to attach, that something like 85 percent of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonyx, or gee-N'N-T'N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand variations on this phonetic theme.
The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian ‘chinanto/mnigs’ which is ordinary water served just above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan 'tzjin-anthony-ks’ which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the only one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that their names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.
This week, we’re drinking the genteel-English-cousin-on-your-moms-side of the gin & tonic:
Gin & Bitter Lemon
What is bitter lemon?
If you have to ask, it says a few things about you. One is that you were born after 1970, and two, that you probably live in America. Bitter Lemon never quite caught on here, and thus it can be hard to get your hands on stateside, though certainly not impossible. Lucky, it really isn’t that tough to approximate DIY.
Bitter Lemon is just a soda that features quinine and lemon juice. Quinine is what gives tonic water it’s bitter sweetness (and also its prophylactic properties against malaria). The lemon juice just adds some refreshing zest.
To approximate, just keep your limes in the crisper, and make a standard gin & tonic to your liking, with a lemon wedge squeezed on top and you'll be most of the way there. Cheers!