There are many reasons why Playboy loves Archer, FX’s long running and critically acclaimed animated comedy. From the gorgeous animation and thrilling action sequences to the raunchy sexcapades between coworkers (and the HR manager as the worst violator), Archer may well be one of the best shows on-air today. Even as a cartoon, it is also one of the smartest, thanks to the show’s frequent use of obscure historical and pop culture references for laughs, like the time Archer references Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener when protesting bringing chocolate fondue to a threesome.
At this point, Archer is well-known for reinventing the show between seasons, like Season Five’s sublime Miami Vice parody and last season’s relocation to Los Angeles. When Archer returns for it’s eighth season on April 5 (moving to FXX, from its old home at FX), we’ll be introduced to the noir-styled Dreamland, taking Archer and the gang to 1940’s Los Angeles and placing them in mysterious new roles. While series creator Adam Reed has clearly imagined an high-octane world for the characters this time around, fans looking for a resolution to last season’s game-changing cliffhanger — (SPOILER) where Archer was seemingly found dead, floating face down in a swimming pool — might be disappointed. To get some clarity on Archer’s fate, we spoke with Archer star Chris Parnell about the show’s new setting. And Cyril’s abnormally large penis.
The last season of Archer ended with a pretty shocking cliffhanger, with Archer floating face down in a swimming pool. Season Eight seems to be set in 1940’s Los Angeles, and the main cast are all a bit different this time around. What exactly is going on this season?
Well, everybody’s got different roles this season. The essence of all the characters are the same: Mallory’s a crime boss, Archer’s a private detective, and I’m a crooked cop. Pam is also a detective and living life as a man. Krieger is still his crazy self, and he works for “Mother,” Jessica’s character (Mallory). And Lana is a lounge singer.
Does this season connect to last season’s cliffhanger? Will that be explained?
I don’t think it’s explained, as far as I remember.
What other eras/genres would you like the show to tackle in future seasons? A Blade Runner style-future ? A post-apocalyptic 80s-style Escape From NY?
Those both sound pretty cool. Yeah, I’d like anything in the science fiction realm.
Since the start of Archer, Cyril has had a lot of character growth, fulfilling his dream of becoming a field agent and taking part in missions…even saving Archer’s life on at least one occasion. In Season Five, Cyril was briefly the President of San Marcos and then eventually in Season Seven, he launched his own detective agency. When you first took on the role of Cyril, did you know that his role would evolve and grow as much as it has?
No, not at all. I had no idea this would go many different places. That’s one of the great things about the show and where Adam takes it season to season. Obviously, when we did Archer Vice, that was a pretty big change. I did like being a field agent, that was fun. Now we’re changing it up this season and I think it will probably be different every season going forward. I never foresaw that, but it’s really fun!
How much input did you have on the creation and evolution of Cyril’s character? Was his abnormally large penis your idea?
[Laughs.] No. It’s all (show creator) Adam. I think as he became familiar with how I play Cyril and sort of ran with that. But I can’t claim too much input, other than my voice and acting.
Before becoming a field agent, Cyril was the team’s comptroller. Do you have any idea what a comptroller is or does?
[In a very Cyril-like voice.] Yeah, I mean, roughly. He’s sort of a “head accountant.” He’s in charge of all the monies and keeping track of them. I think that’s what a comptroller does.
Now that Cyril has saved the day a few times and proved himself a dashing hero, is there a way that we can convince producers and directors to start casting you in suave, heartthrob roles? Maybe you can be the next Bond.
[Laughs.] I don’t think that’s going to happen…and I’m not sure I would want it to. The few times I’ve been asked to play something that veered that way, I didn’t feel particularly confident in that kind of a role. It’s one thing with my voice, with voice acting, but on camera — I don’t know. Only if its a guy who thinks he is suave and cool but obviously isn’t… that I can do.
You provide the voice for both Cyril on Archer and Jerry on Rick & Morty, characters that are defined by being gloriously petty, timid and irritating. How does it feel to be the most annoying man in animated television?
It feels great. Yeah, I guess, for better or worse, it’s something that’s in my wheelhouse and fun to play. It’s fun to play those kind of guys. Cyril is not quite as pathetic this season as he has been, but Jerry is certainly nothing if not pathetic most of the time — and it’s fun. They are both written so well, it’s just awesome to play, and it’s so much fun doing that than playing something straight.
If you had to be stuck on a desert island with either Cyril or Jerry, who would you choose to be marooned with?
Oh, I think Cyril. Cyril is a lot more bearable than Jerry.
Archer Season Eight premieres Wednesday, April 5 at 10PM E/P on FXX.