by Rob Rector
If my effusive slobbering over Archer episodes each week was too much, then you may want to skip this week when (what this critic feels is) one of the best-written shows of all time tosses in an obscure throwaway line from (what this critic feels is) one the best musical acts of my lifetime, the Beastie Boys.
The Kanes, episode 8 in the sixth season, features a rather simple setup -- both Sterling (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) and Lana (voiced by Aisha Tyler) travel to visit her folks so that they can meet the new grandchild, A.J. And even something as relatively milquetoast as this devolves into a car-chasing shootout by the episode’s thrilling -- and exceptionally animated -- conclusion.
We first join Sterling and Lana on the plane where Sterling -- drink in one hand, baby in the other -- who is having trouble recalling the first time he met the Kanes (voiced by Keith David and CCH Pounder). The well-heeled couple are steeped in science and are none-too-fond of Sterling’s more carefree approach to life. It’s basically “Meet the Parents” with a helluva lot more gunplay.
The rest of the crew packs up into a van -- Mystery Machine-style -- and winds up in a bad part of town. But honestly, the secondary plot is lighter than usual and aside from a few one-liners and, of course, another atypical Pam encounter, barely registers.
The Kanes had some ribald fun with flashbacks of younger Lana awkwardly navigating through life, and there are many a double-entendre mixup between Sterling and the family that seems ripped from an old Three’s Company script and translated by Noam Chomsky (since when have you heard main characters debate medieval Slavic literature?). But when Mr. Kane’s coveted research is stolen from his home, things escalate rather quickly into a shot-for-shot re-enactment of the classic car chase from Steven McQueen’s 1968 film Bullitt.
Just as the bottle episode a few weeks back was devoted to the talents of its voice actors, this week’s installment was a testament to its pen-and-ink (and digital) wizards behind the scenes. And for Sterling to sit behind the wheel of a replica of one of his hero’s signature cars, it was a thrill that rivaled the Burt Reynolds cameo a few season’s back.
But most of all, The Kanes mere mention of an obscure line from an obscure Beastie Boys tune “B-Boys Makin with the Freaky Freak” that won my heart, if only for the reason that I felt just the slightest bit cooler that Sterling would use it as a go-to line and that perhaps I was -- in that nanosecond -- as cool as he is.
Sterling: “Speaking of McQueen, if there was ever a time for tactleneck…”
Sterling (to Lana): “Sorry I tried to spit-roast your mom.”
The soft, orgasmic “meep” sound Sterling had when first getting behind the wheel of the Mustang.
Any flashback featuring a fro-sporting Lana.
Sterling (laughing to Lana): “Your middle name is ‘Anthony’?”
Lana: “Named after Susan B.!”
Sterling: “Our ugliest president?”
Sterling: “Because Berkeley!” “How does an entire city get a pass on unacceptable behavior?!”
Sterling: “Well if it’s gonna be that kind of party… yadda yadda yadda … in the mashed potatoes.” (Look up the lyrics to the aforementioned Beastie Boys song for this one.
Episode Rating: AShare: