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The morning after Archer essentially rebooted the premise of the series in its fifth-season opener, the executive producers and voice cast gathered at the Television Critics Association winter press tour to talk about turning their animated spies into cocaine dealers.
“We take a two month break after we finish each season, and it sort of popped into my head,” said creator Adam Reed. “At it’s heart, it’s a show about bickering roommates. That doesn’t change. But instead of spies, they are now drug dealers.”
The move was not an easy one. Archer‘s decision to relocate to Miami required a lot of new animation and ditching most of their banked assets. Of his call with FX, Reed remembers an executive saying, “Yup, whatever. Terrible business decision. Do with that as you will.”
“We decided they no longer live in the houses they’ve been living in, they’re no longer working in the same building — it’s all new,” Reed explained. “It’s just been daily panic attacks ever since then, but these guys are still laughing in the voiceover sessions.”
“International spying is a lot like international drug-dealing, it turns out,” added H. Jon Benjamin, who voices the titular character.
The first episode back was a big one for Archer. The Monday premiere set an Archer best for a season opener with 1.65 million viewers and 1.3 million adults 18-49.
“I have no idea if it’s Netflix or promotion by FX, but it’s really nice to have people like what you do,” said EP Matt Thompson. “Adam and I have been doing this for a while, and nobody has really liked us before.”
Outside of the drug-dealing, running themes this season include Archer wanting a pet tiger, Pam developing an addiction to eating and baking with cocaine, Lana’s pregnancy and Cheryl’s new career as a country singer.
The character, voiced by Judy Greer, is getting her own album (as alter ego Cherlene) with country icon Kenny Loggins.
“Kenny Loggins plays a dastardly version of himself,” said Reed. “He calls himself K-Log.”
The album, which includes a Cherlene/K-Log duet of “Danger Zone” comes out on Feb. 17 — the same day as Archer‘s “Danger Zone” episode, a preview for which has been making the rounds online for a while.
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