Archer officially starts its third season with a great get: Burt Reynolds. Having Archer's hero in the house makes for a fantastic opening episode.
He comes into the picture when he and Archer are at the same bar; after trying and failing to pick up another random woman, Archer gets his face introduced to the bar by none other than his favorite actor. Unfortunately for Sterling, Burt Reynolds is there because he's meeting Malory for a date. Rather than throw up, as he would usually do, Archer decides to faint instead. "It was an involuntary reaction," he declares the next day, sporting a black eye courtesy of the floor. Adding insult to injury, Malory has no idea that Burt is Archer's hero despite it having been obvious since childhood.
In other news, apparently a Cuban hit squad is targeting our favorite superspy, and he'd have known that a week earlier if he actually picked up his phone instead of letting his mom sit through an "elaborate voicemail hoax." The sane plan would be for Archer to lay low, but this is Archer we're talking about. He spends his time trying to break up Burt and Malory, making her think she's been dumped while he abducts Burt and threatens to put him in a mental hpspital "in someone else's name." Unfortunately, his love for Burt distracts him from his plan.
After his last van got destroyed at Archer's wedding, Krieger (Lucky Yates) has a new one, complete with a wheelchair ramp for the now-paralyzed Ray (Adam Reed). The new van quickly gets shot up outside Archer's pad when the Cubans roll up. Archer ends up cutting Burt loose to help save his friends (once they get out of the world's slowest elevator). Burt scares the daylights out of Archer with his driving, while trying to talk some sense into Archer at the same time. It's pretty hilarious to see the overconfident Archer completely freaked out.
Burt saves the day, leading Archer to tell his now-drunken mother that Burt didn't really break up with her, and send her off to a movie premiere with his hero. It's neat to see him be nice toward his mother, though we can't blame him for that being a rarity when her response is to tell him to "blow it out your ass."
I have to admit that unlike Archer, I am not a huge Burt Reynolds fan, but being able to cast him is so spot-on perfect for the show after numerous references. I absolutely love that the show introduces him in the way that does the most psychological damage to Archer, as his mom's newest boyfriend. So much of the show involves putting the screws to everyone, and you can't do it any better than that.
What I appreciate about the episode, though, is that the show is still called Archer. It doesn't become The Burt Reynolds Show. Adam Reed gets the best use out of his guest appearance, but the focus is on (and the brunt of the humor comes from) other sources, whether it's Krieger's new van following the same fate as his first, the elevator gag, or the always-awesome moment where Cheryl/Carol screams "You're not my supervisor!" (doesn't Judy Greer do that so well?). In that sense, having Reynolds is just the icing on the cake. A predictably awesome cake.
I'm so glad that Archer is catching on, because it really is the funniest show currently on television, and I'm glad to have it back.
If you missed them earlier: check out my interview with H. Jon Benjamin (the voice of Archer) and my review of the brand-new tie-in book How To Archer.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.