Everyone’s favorite alcoholic/sex addict/super spy Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is currently back for another season of the outrageous hit FX series, Archer. Things have changed a lot for the members of the ISIS team this season. For one thing they aren’t called ISIS anymore (for obvious reasons) and because the one-time government agency turned drug cartel has now been absorbed by the CIA. Also, no more Archer Vice plot as last season’s title change, which reflected the change in the show’s direction, has also been axed. This means Pam (Amber Nash) is fat again, there’s no more drug deals, and perhaps the biggest change of all; Lana (Aisha Tyler) has a baby! Baby Abbiejean is now the newest member of the gang and was a bit of her shock to her father — the unknowing Archer.
We spoke with the star himself, H. Jon Benjamin about the Archer Season 6 finale, his favorite television show finales, and the possibilities of an Archer movie.
With all the things that Archer’s done, all the places he’s been, is there anything that he hasn’t done or anyplace he hasn’t been to yet that you would like to see them do in future episodes?
Wow, there’s like nowhere left, right? Now he’s going inside the human body and I wouldn’t have thought of that one. He’s been in space and in the ocean. I’m trying to think, back to the womb? I don’t know where else he could go besides, he’d have to reverse time maybe. Time travel? That’s the only dimension he hasn’t covered yet.
Do you like the fact that Archer has gone, over the years, more and more out there and bizarre? Or do you wish it would go back to being more of a regular spy show?
I think actually this season; it sort of did kind of go back to a little bit more of the way it used to be until the finale. But Adam Reed is always trying to push the stories. For sure I think there’s been little elements that have gotten weirder, a little weirder, and more surreal. I think that’s good.
Now that Archer is a dad—in this week’s past episode there was some suggestion that maybe he should be considering his own, the risks he takes in his mortality. And if you can be a dad, should you rein it in? Do you think Archer is thinking about that? Does he have the depth to think about that? Will that be affecting him?
Yes. I think it’s evident in the show that he’s definitely, it’s a consideration for him now. I can only speak from experience, I didn’t care about my kid until he was like nine, so he’s got time. That’s maybe not so good to say. But he can’t read, he’s twelve, so he’ll never read this.
I think there’s always— especially considering the way he had his child, he is slowly improving from the last child he had. Progress is slow, but life is pretty short. Archer, I think he’s got to pick up the pace as far as self-examining and figuring out how to get his life on track. But I’m not sure that will ever happen in the show. But like I said, he’s got some time to while his daughter’s still a baby. Maybe try and speed up some actualization.
If the supporting characters were real, could you see yourself being best friends with any of them if you had to choose?
Oh man, that’s rough. Maybe, I can’t see myself hanging out with Archer. That would be— although I have hung with people like him in my past. But at this point I couldn’t keep up, and wouldn’t want to. I would have to go with— and I’m not going to hang out with Krieger. I’ll go with a safe bet and say I’ll hang out with Cyril, although it wouldn’t be that much fun. I could see a movie with him, maybe grab a glass of wine.
I feel like if you hung out with Krieger you might not live.
I don’t think anybody would hang out with Krieger, I don’t think, right? You’d just be, like immediately call the cops. And be like, I met a guy who’s just going to kill people.
Are there any talks of making Archer into a movie? And if so, who would you like to see playing Sterling Archer?
Well, definitely not me. Let’s say, Paul Giamatti, he kind of looks like me. No, no, that wouldn’t work. I don’t know, that a tough one. There is a lot of handsome actors out there. I saw a trailer for the British spy movie that’s coming out recently that had a guy that kind of looks exactly like Archer. He seemed like he had the attitude, I just don’t know what his name is. So it can, but you have to figure out who it is for me. I think it is The Man from U.N.C.L.E. That being said, the guy who’s going to be in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the movie.
Reboot. That being said, there’s certainly been talk about making an animated movie of Archer. I know people have brought it up. I guess that would be up to a consortium of people who would give the money to do it, and I don’t mean to make that sound nefarious. I feel like they would strive to make an animated feature before they would make a live action one. I would think, just because the show’s for the fans and the show.
What is your favorite season finale from any TV show?
Oh, from any TV show? From any TV show? I sometimes I like to say St. Elsewhere just because it’s so— but I didn’t really like it. But I think I ironically started to like it and then I talked about—and I use it as a reference all the time.
If I’m in any situation where I’m talking about a TV finale, that the whole thing was a— as I remember it, a, St. Elsewhere was a hospital building in a snow globe. And the whole thing was a dream of a boy with mental disabilities. I just thought that was pretty good. So I have to say, I’m dating myself, St. Elsewhere. But let’s face it, we’re all going to die.
What is your favorite Archer season finale?
Oh, wow. I liked the Sealab one. But I think probably my favorite would have been Archer Vice, where it wrapped up that whole season arc. I thought that was really smart, and I didn’t know what was coming until I read the script. That was cool to figure out why the whole thing was a sideways plot by Malory; which makes total sense considering her character. So I liked that a lot, so I’ll say that one.
This season final is clearly inspired by the movie Fantastic Voyage. And that movie takes some little twists, including a traitor being on board in the original film. I know you can’t reveal that, but can you help?
Yes. I’m going to toe the line and say, I can’t say what’s going to happen. But mainly because I have no recollection. But let’s go with, I can’t say. But I think they’d both apply.
It’s not common for Archer to venture into really pure science fiction. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about what inspired that move and how much fun it was maybe, or not, to work on this episode?
Well no, it’s great. I had him read his, sort of ventured into this territory before with the Sealab finale and when they go to space. A lot of some of that stuff comes from allusions to shows and scenarios from fiction that he’s liked. Animation allows you to do that.
For Archer, it seems to work. I guess some of the crazy, and he certainly has a science fiction bent. And so whenever he can let that creep in, he does. Certainly not in the first four seasons, but I think now that Archer is getting on in years, it’s like he’s letting that loose a little bit. I think it’s fun. I always like it.
Who would you want to voice besides Archer?
Out of the cast, probably Pam. I like Pam. Pam says the craziest sh**, and I’m a big Pam fan. Then I’d get to do my famous southern accent.
Do you like Season 5 Pam compared to, back to normal Pam? How do you like that switch from Season 5 to the coke addict Pam?
I like regular Pam the best. I like Pam the way she is. I like office Pam more than crazy coke adult Pam.
Your co-star, Judy Greer, is going to be in Ant-Man pretty soon. Is there any dream comic book or superhero movie that you’d want to be a part of?
I don’t know. I always like Sub-Mariner. That’s the one movie they never made. Maybe that’s for a reason because nobody likes Sub-Mariner except for me. But I feel like maybe they’ll never make Sub-Mariner. But I would love to be Sub-Mariner, especially with my real body. That would be so weird, be a real Jewish, middle-aged Sub-Mariner.
The biggest impact of any single character on the show this season would have been made by the one that hasn’t been mentioned at all so far, and that’s Abbiejean. What are your thoughts on how she affected Archer personally?
Yes, I think the underlying plot element in this story, or certainly the underlying emotional element in the story is Abbiejean’s existence. And how it affects Archer’s relationship with Lana, which I think is the principal relationship in his life, and the one I think he needs to keep going. I think they did a really good job with it because it’s complicated for Archer to change so radically, even when you have a kid.
I think a lot of people think that change is easy, just by the sake of having a kid, but in actuality it’s not. Like I said before earlier to somebody, he’s making [indiscernible] progress. Hopefully it will catch up, but she’s going to be a mess.
I think if I were to tack on a real life trajectory for Abbiejean, she’ll be a mess. Lana is, compared to Archer, is pretty stable. She’s probably the most stable character in the whole show.
H. Jon Benjamin stars in the season finale of Archer which airs tonight.