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Boris Galerkin
Dec 17, 2011



Tiggum posted:

It's not though. Some media is about a continuing story. Archer isn't and never has been. Nothing has ever mattered in this show. It's all been a series of excuses to get these characters into new, funny situations right from the beginning. This season is no different, because Archer has never cared about continuity or character development.

If there'd been a dramatic shift in tone, or if the show had gone from serialised to episodic, then you might have a point. But it didn't. Remember how one time they went to space? Remember how another time it was suddenly revealed that Cheryl was super rich and cared a lot about trains? Remember how most of the characters were completely different people in season one?

The only thing that's changed is the excuse. Previously when they wanted Archer to become a pirate king they worked it (loosely) into the spy agency backstory. Then they realised that they didn't actually need to do that because the spy agency was only ever an excuse to put these characters into different scenarios every week.

Okay but the thing is, those things you mentioned all “mattered” and affected character development. I’ll give you the going into space thing, but Cheryl being megarich comes back time after time. People being different from season 1 is fine too because they’ve “grown” and we’ve grown with them by watching the show. Pam revealing that she’s actually a badass rear end kicker is the reason Archer sees her in his comatose dreams the way he does.

But every single thing that’s happening in this and last season don’t matter because it’s all fake. It’s all in Archer’s head. The characters aren’t growing or developing anymore because they literally aren’t the same characters we’ve gotten to know in previous seasons. When Arched wakes up every single thing that happened just goes poof.

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fishing with the fam
Feb 29, 2008

Durr


Tiggum posted:

It's not though. Some media is about a continuing story. Archer isn't and never has been.

This isn't true though, and is the source of many peoples complaints. The show has become increasingly serialized and reliant on plot. How do you square that with buy in to character and plot not mattering?

I seriously can not see how "increase the plot but plot doesn't matter" could ever result in satisfying results.

Tiggum
Oct 23, 2007


fishing with the fam posted:

The show has become increasingly serialized and reliant on plot.
It hasn't though. Even in the more apparently serialised seasons (like Vice) the episodes were mostly just stand-alone random bullshit that could be played in any order. The only exceptions are explicit two or three parters.

algebra testes
Mar 5, 2011



Lipstick Apathy

Like I think Ray is an example. He just alternated between wheelchair/no wheelchair depending on whether the plot needed it or if it was funny to have one or the other.

But then again them riffing on the audience expectation of that in the jungle episode was pretty awesome.

Phenotype
Jul 24, 2007

You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.


That's fine, but he was still Ray Gillette. We have moved from "See the wacky cast of the spy agency and their misadventures" to "See the misadventures of this wacky cast of characters voiced by the Archer actors". I think I said this before, but I signed up to watch Sterling Archer, the world's most dangerous secret agent, and his ruthless mother and so on, and even when they disbanded ISIS and starting selling cocaine or whatever, we were still at least following the same characters. If they'd said "Archer's canceled, check this new show starring H. Jon Benjamin and Aisha Tyler and the same animators", I'd think I'd be a little more accepting, but as-is I'm a little frustrated that they're trying to sell me the same show with an entirely new premise and cast of characters.

cosmically_cosmic
Dec 26, 2015


Phenotype posted:

That's fine, but he was still Ray Gillette. We have moved from "See the wacky cast of the spy agency and their misadventures" to "See the misadventures of this wacky cast of characters voiced by the Archer actors". I think I said this before, but I signed up to watch Sterling Archer, the world's most dangerous secret agent, and his ruthless mother and so on, and even when they disbanded ISIS and starting selling cocaine or whatever, we were still at least following the same characters. If they'd said "Archer's canceled, check this new show starring H. Jon Benjamin and Aisha Tyler and the same animators", I'd think I'd be a little more accepting, but as-is I'm a little frustrated that they're trying to sell me the same show with an entirely new premise and cast of characters.

Wasn't there like, a new show by the same people that got canned?

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-...d-a6797106.html

Oh wow it got replaced with a Louis C.K. animated comedy.

I mean, knowing that, I'm kind of not suprised that they've basically ended archer as a show and just made different shows with the same people/assets. It's a shame they couldn't get legit spin-offs, but it is what it is.

EDIT: Though I am liking this season a lot more than Archer Noir, which was both less funny than any other season and just generally depressing because the whole thing is about how Woodhouse's voice actor is dead in real life.

cosmically_cosmic fucked around with this message at May 18, 2018 around 17:05

Brigadier Sockface
Apr 1, 2007


It's much easier if you take a Blackadder approach.

FactsAreUseless
Feb 16, 2011


mobby_6kl posted:

Haven't seen the latest episode yet but so far this is pretty fun. As much as I like noir, Dreamland was kind of boring so this is way better perhaps because it doesn't feel so serious. Still, I feel like more episodic approach would work way better for this show.
I haven't seen the new season yet but Dreamland was really dull. It was competently done but I can barely remember it. I liked seasons 5 and 7 more than 6 though, and I though S4 was a little stale compared to the 2-3 peak so I'm okay with them mixing it up.

Blazing Ownager
Jun 2, 2007

Now I'm radioactive!

That can't be good!


Boris Galerkin posted:

Okay but the thing is, those things you mentioned all “mattered” and affected character development. I’ll give you the going into space thing, but Cheryl being megarich comes back time after time. People being different from season 1 is fine too because they’ve “grown” and we’ve grown with them by watching the show. Pam revealing that she’s actually a badass rear end kicker is the reason Archer sees her in his comatose dreams the way he does.

But every single thing that’s happening in this and last season don’t matter because it’s all fake. It’s all in Archer’s head. The characters aren’t growing or developing anymore because they literally aren’t the same characters we’ve gotten to know in previous seasons. When Arched wakes up every single thing that happened just goes poof.

Counter-point: I stopped watching the show because it suddenly started taking the Archer - Lana drama seriously and started dulling it's edge dramatically to try to go the deep route, when the show never, ever was good at that.

To go back to their older shows it'd be like if they wanted an 'awww' from a relationship on Sealab or Frisky Dingo.

They also started wanting to make it way more safe; I remember an interview talking about how they wouldn't let them sell the cocaine because it'd be 'over the line' and poo poo. But the humor comes from just how hosed up things are, so if you aren't going to let them be hosed up.. I don't know, that season really got me as lost potential.

Blazing Ownager fucked around with this message at May 19, 2018 around 12:09

tsob
Sep 26, 2006

Chalalala~


fishing with the fam posted:

Which is true of every piece of fictional media ever produced.

"I was really invested in the main characters growth and journey, whi..."
"YEAH, WELL MICHAEL CORLEONE DOESN'T ACTUALLY EXIST SO WHO GIVES A gently caress."

What I find weird about this debate is that while the events of the dream seasons might not have any greater overall narrative causal relationship, they still have internal consequences. Archer isn't swanning around in his dreams telling people to go gently caress themselves because they're only a figment of his imagination and nothing they do matters. The various events contained in an episode have tension and consequence to the cast and to the season as a whole, even if they'll stop mattering when it's over. If you don't like the setting or the humor isn't hitting for you etc. that's perfectly understandable, but being down on the seasons because nothing in them matters just seems odd to me.

Almost the entire cast are recognizable as well, so I also find it weird that people are saying it's only Archer that is. The only character that isn't close to their regular depiction is Ray. Mallory, Cheryl and Pam's personalities are basically identical, Cyril might as well just be talking with an accent and Lana is just a less trained version of herself who isn't used to all the weird poo poo that Archer is.

That said, I found it notable that Archer isn't even a particularly good combat pilot. I'd have expected the show to push him as a great one frankly, since he's normally super competent at the things he dedicates himself to, even if his personality and vices get in the way of him demonstrating it constantly but even in the same plane as Ziggler he was poo poo and it was only Pam's shooting that saved them from Ziggler toasting them. That Pam just sighed and went with it does demonstrate yet again what a good friendship she and Archer carry through the seasons though, and I hope there's more scenes like the two of them spit-balling ideas and commiserating over the "Loosey Goosey" from last episode. It's even weirder that Archer is kind of a poo poo combat pilot when you consider that it's his dream and he's normally so full of himself. Says a bit about his subconscious I suppose.

Milo and POTUS
Sep 3, 2017

I will not shut up about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I talk about them all the time and work them into every conversation I have. I built a shrine in my room for the yellow one who died because sadly no one noticed because she died around 9/11. Wanna see it?


Blazing Ownager posted:

Counter-point: I stopped watching the show because it suddenly started taking the Archer - Lana drama seriously and started dulling it's edge dramatically to try to go the deep route, when the show never, ever was good at that.

To go back to their older shows it'd be like if they wanted an 'awww' from a relationship on Sealab or Frisky Dingo.

They also started wanting to make it way more safe; I remember an interview talking about how they wouldn't let them sell the cocaine because it'd be 'over the line' and poo poo. But the humor comes from just how hosed up things are, so if you aren't going to let them be hosed up.. I don't know, that season really got me as lost potential.

A spy agency involved in the selling of drugs is scandalous. Scandalous!

underage at the vape shop
May 11, 2011


this season is pretty funny and i appreciated the bf109s

qirex
Feb 15, 2001



My only real beef with how the show has changed over time is I don't find it as funny as it used to be. It might be the same jokes they used wore thin or they already had everybody sleep with everybody else or just writers' fatigue but compare to how much was going on in episodes like "Once Bitten" which, even though it has that weak multiple minute Heaven Can Wait sequence, is packed full of jokes [and is one of my favorite pieces of TV].

I'm enjoying Danger Island ok but the only joke that's really got me so far this season is Crackers hissing "it's a knob" through the door in last week's episode.

tarlibone
Aug 1, 2014

Am I a... bad person?
AM I??


Grimey Drawer

That's another good counterpoint to the notion that continuity has never mattered: sexy shenanigans.

Over the course of the regular seasons (any season that doesn't have a subtitle), the characters sleep with each other here and there, and it tends to either have long-term consequences down the road, or it at least gets referenced, with a little wink and nod to the audience when you get one of those "Hey, I slept with [X]! / Oh, that's right!" exchanges.

Also, just look at Barry and Katya over time.

Zulily Zoetrope
Jun 1, 2011



Muldoon

I think the weakest parts of this season (and the last, like, three) is whenever they rehash the old running gags. There's been two "well I guess just pout!" already, and neither had a twist or any kind of punch as heavy as Ray staring Archer down as he rolls out on a wheelchair. The voicemail gag is funny because every time it happens it's even more ridiculous than any previous situation, and they subverted it half the time.

The strongest part of this season is definitely Crackers. Krieger is definitely coming out the strongest in the coma seasons. I genuinely enjoyed the Aaron Liebowitz episode last season, even if it tonally wasn't Archer at all. Show still good.

"Not as much as this map, though."

tarlibone
Aug 1, 2014

Am I a... bad person?
AM I??


Grimey Drawer

My only complaint with the last two seasons is that, for obvious reasons, there are no voicemail gags.

The gags themselves are usually good for a giggle, and they were spaced out far enough so that you didn't always expect that a phone call placed to Archer would definitely mean there was a gag coming up (unlike, say, any time Bart called Moe's Tavern; you always knew how that would end). And the stinger was the "Leave it!" instruction, which seems at least a little rude, with the automated message that his voicemail was full anyway. So, not only do you get tricked when you go to his voicemail, but he's not polite about it, and it's all moot because he never checks those messages anyway.

But what always got me was the reaction the person being gagged gave. I swear, I could watch Mallory crush phones and glasses with one hand all day long.

(And the gag he left on Ray's phone when he got hold of it one day came out of nowhere, and the explanation was hilarious.)

I wonder if they could work something up with an answering service? Well... probably not in 1930s Danger Island....

cosmically_cosmic
Dec 26, 2015


Blazing Ownager posted:

They also started wanting to make it way more safe; I remember an interview talking about how they wouldn't let them sell the cocaine because it'd be 'over the line' and poo poo. But the humor comes from just how hosed up things are, so if you aren't going to let them be hosed up.. I don't know, that season really got me as lost potential.

Is this real? Malorie is keeping Cheryl as a sex slave this season and the Archer crew regularly commit like war crimes in previous seasons but selling cocaine is too far?

They even have cocaine turn Pam into a supermodel and joke about her doing poo poo tons of it, not to mention all the other casual drug use in the series, but they think having the main chars sell drugs is too far?

I'm rambling on about it but it's seriously blown my mind.

tarlibone
Aug 1, 2014

Am I a... bad person?
AM I??


Grimey Drawer

cosmically_cosmic posted:

Is this real? Malorie is keeping Cheryl as a sex slave this season and the Archer crew regularly commit like war crimes in previous seasons but selling cocaine is too far?

They even have cocaine turn Pam into a supermodel and joke about her doing poo poo tons of it, not to mention all the other casual drug use in the series, but they think having the main chars sell drugs is too far?

I'm rambling on about it but it's seriously blown my mind.

Well, some of stuff you mention (like war crimes) is done so cartoonishly that it's not really an issue. Selling massive quantities of cocaine, though, plays to audiences differently than, say, blowing up an oil line in a country where the same word (a dog's name) is used for snake, Friday, and bread. Or, I don't know, killing the Italian Prime Minister, who is wearing a latex gimp suit with an internal butt dildo. These examples go so far beyond crossing the line that they cross the line twice, and if you can do that, it generally becomes funny.

Pam slimming down by becoming a coke head is different than selling massive amounts of cocaine for cartels. And besides, it's done really cartoonishly--she's eating enough cocaine to kill an entire 5-star hotel full of rich, white, trust-fund frat boys. Her consumption of the drug is so absurd that it crosses the line twice. It's really hard to do that with selling a metric ton of cocaine for a cartel. Or, the CIA, I guess. I mean, just try to come up with a way to make that cross the line twice. I've been trying to do it, and I can't come up with so much as a silly premise that makes selling for cartels funny.

Zulily Zoetrope
Jun 1, 2011



Muldoon

Cheryl hasn’t actual had any coerced sex so far, and I think it’s a fair assumption that she’s not going to. If she did, that would be way worse than selling coke, yes.

tsob
Sep 26, 2006

Chalalala~


I mean Ray has already raped Cyril when he passed out in a bathroom stall, so I don't really see how Cheryl whoring is any worse than that.

cosmically_cosmic
Dec 26, 2015


tarlibone posted:

Well, some of stuff you mention (like war crimes) is done so cartoonishly that it's not really an issue. Selling massive quantities of cocaine, though, plays to audiences differently than, say, blowing up an oil line in a country where the same word (a dog's name) is used for snake, Friday, and bread. Or, I don't know, killing the Italian Prime Minister, who is wearing a latex gimp suit with an internal butt dildo. These examples go so far beyond crossing the line that they cross the line twice, and if you can do that, it generally becomes funny.

Pam slimming down by becoming a coke head is different than selling massive amounts of cocaine for cartels. And besides, it's done really cartoonishly--she's eating enough cocaine to kill an entire 5-star hotel full of rich, white, trust-fund frat boys. Her consumption of the drug is so absurd that it crosses the line twice. It's really hard to do that with selling a metric ton of cocaine for a cartel. Or, the CIA, I guess. I mean, just try to come up with a way to make that cross the line twice. I've been trying to do it, and I can't come up with so much as a silly premise that makes selling for cartels funny.

But that's the thing, it's so arbitrary that they think they can't do selling cocaine in an over-the-top funny way, you can glorify basically trying to OD on the stuff and make it funny, but not something that is already built into the concept?

Like of all the things they think people would be offended about... Selling cocaine? I know in america they have daytime tv shows about coke dealers, fictional and documentary so I can't imagine it being considered more vulgar than like murder and surprise sex and so on. Hell Breaking Bad is the most loved thing ever, and before that they even had Operation Meth Nazi in Frisky Dingo!

And I know I'm just rambling on but it seems so weird of a thing to take a stand on. For a second I was gonna say maybe one of their friends died from a cocaine overdose or something and that's why they don't want to, but then there's the Pam stuff so I guess that makes no sense as a reason either.

The fact they made coke dealing the whole purpose of the show makes the moral stance against it seem so strange too. Like I get if you don't want them to ever sell it for comedic reasons but... Yeah I'm gonna stop ranting now.

cosmically_cosmic fucked around with this message at May 19, 2018 around 22:32

tarlibone
Aug 1, 2014

Am I a... bad person?
AM I??


Grimey Drawer

Honestly, to me it was all a good decision to have them not sell the cocaine. Maybe the reason was stupid and arbitrary considering some of the other stuff the show has done (although I explained my own theory on why it's not that arbitrary); I'll grant you that that's a possibility. But, the motive notwithstanding, by choosing not to turn ISIS into a cocaine trafficking organization, they got to do something even funnier: they got to show how this group of people somehow can't manage to sell an extremely hot commodity, even as they are surrounded on all sides by high demand. In fact, the harder they try, the more they fail at this task.

To me, each failure was funnier than the last.

Trying but failing to sell it was just funnier than any scenario I can imagine in which they would have actually moved the product.

Proteus Jones
Feb 28, 2013



College Slice

tarlibone posted:

Honestly, to me it was all a good decision to have them not sell the cocaine. Maybe the reason was stupid and arbitrary considering some of the other stuff the show has done (although I explained my own theory on why it's not that arbitrary); I'll grant you that that's a possibility. But, the motive notwithstanding, by choosing not to turn ISIS into a cocaine trafficking organization, they got to do something even funnier: they got to show how this group of people somehow can't manage to sell an extremely hot commodity, even as they are surrounded on all sides by high demand. In fact, the harder they try, the more they fail at this task.

To me, each failure was funnier than the last.

Trying but failing to sell it was just funnier than any scenario I can imagine in which they would have actually moved the product.

I'll say it again, but Archer Vice will always have a place in my heart if only for the "Eat a dick, Jungle" sequence.

Milo and POTUS
Sep 3, 2017

I will not shut up about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I talk about them all the time and work them into every conversation I have. I built a shrine in my room for the yellow one who died because sadly no one noticed because she died around 9/11. Wanna see it?


tsob posted:

I mean Ray has already raped Cyril when he passed out in a bathroom stall, so I don't really see how Cheryl whoring is any worse than that.

What I think they mean is cheryl whoring is less an issue than whoring cheryl.

tarlibone
Aug 1, 2014

Am I a... bad person?
AM I??


Grimey Drawer

Proteus Jones posted:

I'll say it again, but Archer Vice will always have a place in my heart if only for the "Eat a dick, Jungle" sequence.

My favorite gag is the slap attack. The first time my wife saw it, she drat near pissed her pants. I can't remember if the slapping fits started with Vice, but some of the best examples were in that season.

SimonChris
Apr 24, 2008

The Baron's daughter is missing, and you are the man to find her. No problem. With your inexhaustible arsenal of hard-boiled similes, there is nothing you can't handle.

Grimey Drawer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcKk22LNdJE
The main problem with Archer Vice is that the stuff they showed in the teaser was way cooler than what actually ended up in the show. The first half of the teaser was pretty much a preview of the show, but then there is a ton of cool scenes in the latter half that never actually happened. I wonder if they changed their mind or what?

tsob
Sep 26, 2006

Chalalala~


Milo and POTUS posted:

What I think they mean is cheryl whoring is less an issue than whoring cheryl.

My point was that the show has already played actual, literal surprise sex of an unconscious colleague as a joke so Mallory pimping Cheryl and Cheryl accepting because of a lack of viable alternatives doesn't seem over the line in comparison. Cheryl seems to have found a way to turn the situation to her advantage without ever having to have sex for someone else's dime, and it's almost certainly going to be more entertaining that way, but I don't really see how one is fine and the other is too far regardless.

Zulily Zoetrope
Jun 1, 2011



Muldoon

Unconscious surprise sex is definitely the skeeviest thing the show has joked about, but I daresay that coerced sex might be a tad worse.

cosmically_cosmic
Dec 26, 2015


tsob posted:

My point was that the show has already played actual, literal surprise sex of an unconscious colleague as a joke so Mallory pimping Cheryl and Cheryl accepting because of a lack of viable alternatives doesn't seem over the line in comparison. Cheryl seems to have found a way to turn the situation to her advantage without ever having to have sex for someone else's dime, and it's almost certainly going to be more entertaining that way, but I don't really see how one is fine and the other is too far regardless.

See all this just makes the 'actually selling cocaine is morally too far' thing all the more silly.

tsob
Sep 26, 2006

Chalalala~


Zulily Zoetrope posted:

Unconscious surprise sex is definitely the skeeviest thing the show has joked about, but I daresay that coerced sex might be a tad worse.

I think I'd probably come to the opposite conclusion if I had to grade them, but I think the show has already dealt with coerced sex anyway since Mallory wanted Archer to act as honeypot for a gay informant in season one if I recall and I'm pretty sure she was pushing Lana to have sex with Barry before the show re-wrote their dynamic to Lana being icked out by Barry. They're not as explicit as Mallory pimping Cheryl in this season, but she was still paying Archer to have sex with someone for value at the end of the day. The show dealt with skeevy sexual dynamics and just skeevy stuff full stop on a fairly regular basis throughout the first couple of seasons: see also Ray contemplating buying a slave boy for a while or Archer and Lana both sleeping with Skorpio as part of a mission, even though I'm pretty sure both found him fairly repulsive.

tsob fucked around with this message at May 20, 2018 around 14:29

Proteus Jones
Feb 28, 2013



College Slice

tsob posted:

I think I'd probably come to the opposite conclusion if I had to grade them, but I think the show has already dealt with coerced sex anyway since Mallory wanted Archer to act as honeypot for a gay informant in season one if I recall and I'm pretty sure she was pushing Lana to have sex with Barry before the show re-wrote their dynamic to Lana being icked out by Barry. They're not as explicit as Mallory pimping Cheryl in this season, but she was still paying Archer to have sex with someone for value at the end of the day. The show dealt with skeevy sexual dynamics and just skeevy stuff full stop on a fairly regular basis throughout the first couple of seasons: see also Ray contemplating buying a slave boy for a while or Archer and Lana both sleeping with Skorpio as part of a mission, even though I'm pretty sure both found him fairly repulsive.

Hell, it happened in the pilot. “Just the tip”

Red Oktober
May 24, 2006

wiggly eyes!



I never got the problem with them not being able to sell cocaine. For me the obvious reason was: of course they can't sell the cocaine, because that's the objective. And they need to fail because thats what makes it funny. Successful ISIS (rather than Archer being extremely competent at a few things) isn't where the core of the show is, and it's more funny to watch them fail selling one of the hottest commodities in America.

Tenzarin
Jul 24, 2007

Let me sing you a song


Taco Defender

Its been a long fall since the height of Archer Vice.

tsob
Sep 26, 2006

Chalalala~


Red Oktober posted:

I never got the problem with them not being able to sell cocaine. For me the obvious reason was: of course they can't sell the cocaine, because that's the objective. And they need to fail because thats what makes it funny. Successful ISIS (rather than Archer being extremely competent at a few things) isn't where the core of the show is, and it's more funny to watch them fail selling one of the hottest commodities in America.

I think people were just excited about seeing these characters we're used to seeing fail actually succeed and seeing how they'd waste the riches success garnered them in stupid ways.

SimonChris
Apr 24, 2008

The Baron's daughter is missing, and you are the man to find her. No problem. With your inexhaustible arsenal of hard-boiled similes, there is nothing you can't handle.

Grimey Drawer

Yeah, having them fail at the exact same task over and over is just boring and repetitive. It would have been more interesting if they had been allowed some initial success, only to fail at the more high-level task of trying to run a drug business.

Also, part of what kept the spy agency plots interesting is that the character's really were highly competent at some things, and often managed to bumble their way to successful mission completion in the end. They didn't just fail at everything all the time.

Zulily Zoetrope
Jun 1, 2011



Muldoon

Yeah, for all the poo poo they got, ISIS usually achieved what they set out to do. The Vice Gang didn’t accomplish anything until they stumbled into the CIA weapons shipment. I like the second half of Vice, but the standalone episodes in that season are by far the show’s weakest.

counterfeitsaint
Feb 26, 2010

I'm a girl, and you're
gnomes, and it's like
what? Yikes.

I haven't been crazy about this season, even Crackers. But Crackers wearing little parrot hats to match whatever the guys are doing might single handedly save this entire season for me. That's the dumbest, funniest background gag ever and I think at the end of the season one of them is going to be my new AV.

algebra testes
Mar 5, 2011



Lipstick Apathy

Episode owned. Pam + Archer + Crackers combo best combo.

tarlibone
Aug 1, 2014

Am I a... bad person?
AM I??


Grimey Drawer

I love how Archer points out that Cracker's dislike of other bird species is racism.

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Postal Parcel
Aug 2, 2013


tsob posted:

Almost the entire cast are recognizable as well, so I also find it weird that people are saying it's only Archer that is. The only character that isn't close to their regular depiction is Ray. Mallory, Cheryl and Pam's personalities are basically identical, Cyril might as well just be talking with an accent and Lana is just a less trained version of herself who isn't used to all the weird poo poo that Archer is.

I'm highlighting this because I think the conceit of this season(and the previous one) explains why characters are acting the way they are. This is all a coma dream by Archer, and the characters are, for the most part, reflections of how Archer sees them. Mother is controlling and conniving, though sometimes "kind". Cheryl is a rich girl who's loving insane. Pam is a big ox of a woman(was she a man last season?) who still creates the strongest friendships with Archer. Cyril, especially, is a tool and a loser and an rear end in a top hat*. Also, probably a nice guy. KriegerNoir is a still a magical German nazi with super science powers. Krackers though, is a bit more difficult to pin down. Even Barry was still a murderous, sociopathic robo-monster, and Woodhouse was still an addict and one of the most important relationships in Archer's life.

The most interesting characterizations are Lana and Ray because they are a bit off. In both iterations, Archer has been immediately attracted to Lana. But in both situations, arguably, the romance is rather shallow. Especially this season considering that I don't think they've spoken since episode 1(2?). That said, she still retains her badassness, once as an IRS agent and now probably a princess with combat skills. Ray feels more like a "joke" character in that in Noir he was "the white guy" in the jazz band and here he's a cocky french policeman who always gets dunked on. I'm not really sure what it's trying to say.

All that said, it's ironic to me that everyone says "they're different characters" when the setting is different but the characterizations still (mostly) fall in line with how Archer saw them while he was alive.

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