Some of you may know the television show Archer on FX, It’s a somewhat comedic stereotypical spy-crime type show with a cast of animated characters whom each fit stereotypical character archetypes. Now what I’m here to discuss is that the show displays its diversity in an comedic manner but also somewhat stereotypical light, and not always positive stereotypes either. Now disclaimer this show is obviously full of satire, so the harmful remarks and attitudes some may see others display are not real depictions of the beliefs of the creators, however are works of comedy and entertainment deliver in an animated format. Now, the exact levels of diversity shown is interesting. The shows takes a modern look at peoples lives and tosses weird mixes of older beliefs and world situations coupled together to make a joke or a quick laugh often at the expense of others, but still making it a realization that most of these individuals realize they’re being jokes about and often counter with their own jokes or their own words. A prime example of the episode Diversity Hire which release circa 2010. The cast of Archer have a new agent known as Conway Stern, whom is a black AND Jewish special agent, his entire presence was entirely for the purpose of a “diversity hire” which means hiring someone of minority denominations for the purpose of diversifying the workplace. The show continues to display Conway as the butt-end of Archer whom is (the titular character) at odds with Conway, and eventually the whole cast. The episode plays out with some obviously not suitable for this environment scenes to describe, but essentially Archer and Conway end up in a small fight in a locker room and they both agree that the moment became “gay”, and Archer leaves tongue-twisted attempting to think of an insult for Conway but instead Conway retorts to the tongue-twisted Archer the name “Sammy Gayvis Jr”, which is a reference to Sammy Davis Jr. The shows continues to throw Conway as the butt of their conversations, when Lana the only black character previously on the cast gets benched for behavior she gets angry and calls him McJewson, and another cast member claims she’s just angry because is no longer the only black individual there which doesn’t end well obviously. Beyond this episode is a running hatred of the Irish, why? Its portray that the Ms.Archer hates the Irish with an irrational reason. But the shows does represent racial diversity, the cast is not limited to straight white males whom display typical behavior. We have the more side-lined male Cyril whom is white but is not typically represented as “in-charge” especially in cases of members of the other-sex, we have Lana whom is shown to be a black, liberally focused, ex-activist and she is the big diversity breaker, she is in a position of power compared to most of the cast, she is portray as being more dominant in terms of personality and defiantly fights those who discredit for gender, race or other reasons. We have has the slightly stereo-typically effeminate gay character Ray whom is portrayed as a less overly obviously gay and as more as a sassy gay. He’s often portrayed as a big stereotype himself, he can be effeminate, he can be more subservient to other around him, and sometimes more dominant. There are moments where he is portray as being a “wuss” where insult cause him to cry, and what not, but there are times when he also is shown to be less stereotypical. He’s shown despite his less masculine portrayal to be a former Olympic athlete, and more level-headed compared to the rest of the cast even when there are cases when he shouldn’t be.
The show doesn’t hide the facts that some characters are more promiscuous or less so, and it’s not afraid of showing characters whom are not straight and christian, it display the story, and the comedy and it does so in every episode without trying to focus on the diversity. It plays obviously on the real world as well. While the events of history are wildly different than those of the real world it stills portray that gays, trans and etc are all equally represent somehow in someway at some-point. We have a cast of characters whose interpersonal relationships are not defined by normal roles either, there is no leader or good or bad necessarily. The cast is the cast they all have roles and act differently, Archer is portray as a stereotypical Spy, think James Bond’s skills and suaveness with Austin Power’s comedic elements and lack of focus on his job. Lana is conceived more as a work focus woman looking to get ahead, while she is also shown to not be just another black woman, she isn’t portrayed to be manly either (although there is a running jokes that she has big hands and sometimes they’re referred to as gorilla hands or man hands in slights against her character). Now the show is also not for everyone, it doesn’t require a sense of intelligence to watch but rather the willingness to laugh at the reality and simplicity of some of the characters when Archer for example is attempting to pretend to be a homosexual to bait a homosexual spy, he goes for the most colorful, outrageous type of outfit and look, something that is almost downright disrespectful but then comes the homosexual characters whom even toss their own jokes at him, and make it clear that he is outrageous something that is a joke in-itself, he’s not gay, he doesn’t get how to be gay and being told that he looks outrageously gay to the point of being a joke. The whole show goes at it like it is just life there are prejudices yes, other characters fight them other characters accept them. It’s how life works in the real-world in a sense it makes the world and the characters relatable, even if you don’t match their entire life it’s clear each one as aspects that you can relate to. Ray comes from a small backwoods town of West Virginia, and he’s the clear example of coming from that environment and even being in the closet to his immediate family and townspeople. Lana comes from parents whom love her and are Doctors and Professors and are portrayed as being hard on her as to want more out of her life. Archer grew up with little parental guidance and what guidance he had is not good guidance. You don’t have to be black to emphasize with the environment Lana grew up in and is in the shadow of, you don’t have to be a alcoholic womanizing super-spy to emphasize with Archer’s lack of parental figures and guidance. You don’t have to apart of LGBTQ or any orientation for that matter and not find being relatable to having come from a town that is more “backwoods”. The shows does a good job of displaying casual life with over the top themes and portrayals, something Doctor Who doesn’t do in the same way, it’s portrayal aren’t always relatable in the same fashion they’re more super stereotypical rather than stereotypical in terms of a character type. I feel like if you can stomach the bad humor, take a few moments watch the show and see if you can feel a relation with any character.
#Note Sorry this is a week late, just been horribly busy, and I just saw the Blog requirement today.