Over 23 feature films, James Bond has proven himself to be a rake so suave at enticing the ladies, handling a firearm and lobbing a perfectly-timed comeback that he’s just a couple of skills shy of Greek godhood. But what if his life consisted of more than just alpha-male wish fulfillment? What if 007 offset all that jetsetting and gunplay with recouping drained 401(k) accounts, disposing of accidentally murdered prostitutes, undergoing breast-cancer treatments—all while surrounded by cogs-in-the-machine co-workers who largely lack his worldliness, panache and expensive tastes? Bond would come off as, well, kind of an asshole, which is exactly what makes Sterling Malory Archer such a killer riff on the super spy. The protagonist of Archer, FX’s high-grade animated comedy, is clearly cut from the cloth of Sean Connery-era Bond and resewn into an environment that illuminates the absurdity of his existence. On one level, Archer is a brilliant look at Bond ideals gone askew. On another, it’s a dysfunctional workplace comedy fleshed out by the lovable miscreants and sexual deviants working at ISIS (aka International Secret Intelligence Service), an agency secretly located beneath a dry-cleaning business.
Before the show’s fourth season debuts on Jan. 17, a solid cross-section of its cast are taking part in a four-date tour called Archer Live! Philly will play host to the flesh-and-blood versions of Sterling (H. Jon Benjamin, who was born for this role), manipulative matriarch Malory Archer (Jessica Walter), sarcastic field agent Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), meek comptroller Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell), skeezy mad scientist Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates) and HR rep/former underground fighter Pam Poovey (Amber Nash), plus Archer creator/executive producer Adam Reed (also the voice of dagger-tongued agent Ray Gillette) and executive producer Matt Thompson. Festivities will include line readings of memorable scenes, a question-and-answer session and likely hearing Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” blast from a quality speaker system. If you have no idea what to make of that last reference, consider it good incentive to Netflix the series then attend this shindig.
Fri., Jan. 11, 7pm. $32. Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South St. tlaphilly.com