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TV Review: Archer – “Fugue and Riffs”

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The Season Four premiere of Archer answers a question that has been bothering a very small contingent of animation fans: why does secret agent Sterling Archer sound exactly like fry cook Bob Belcher? Of course, the practical answer is that both are voiced by H. Jon Benjamin. Creator/show runner Adam Reed decided to explore the answer within the context of the Archer universe and does so in his usual imaginative, amusing way.

The episode opens with an exterior shot of Bob’s Burgers. It’s a rainy night and a car pulls up with four Russian gunmen. “Bob” is working the grill, and his family, including his wife Linda (John Roberts from Bob’s Burgers), are sitting around. They are all drawn in the Archer style, so Sterling has a bushy, Tom Selleck-esque mustache. After the Russians enter the restaurant and threaten him, “Bob” subdues them, though he’s not clear how he was able to or why he understand Russian. One dying man reveals more people will be coming for him. In order to find out why Russians think he’s someone named Archer and to protect his new family of two months, ‘Bob” leaves them and takes up at a spa.

Turns out Sterling is suffering from a self-induced case of psychogenic retrograde amnesia so the ISIS team has to ease him into remembering who he is because the shock to his memory could cause him to stay within the “Bob” persona. They set up a fake KGB attack with ISIS employees lab technician Krieger and comptroller Cyril playing Russians; however, things naturally get complicated when real KGB agents show up at the spa to kill Archer.  

While it doesn’t reach the same brilliant heights of last season’s premiere “The Man from Jupiter,” and to be fair how could it without guest star Burt Reynolds in it, “Fugue and Riffs” delivers the usual outlandish and raunchy humor the series is known for. It also sets a few plot points in motion.  Kudos the all involved for bring the series back for another season.

The fourth season of Archer debuts on 1/17 at 10pm ET/PT

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS