It’s starting to become clear: baby jokes are here to stay. As the role of Lana and Sterling’s not-love child gets bigger and bigger on the show, we’re now seeing entire episodes about young Abbiejean Kane. This means Archer as a show is now becoming more and more like Two and a Half Men, veering from edgy adult humor to tamer sit com content.
“Sitting” employs a familiar plot structure: Lana reluctantly leaves her baby with Sterling, Sterling inevitably runs into trouble. This episode’s trouble comes from a Pakistani named Farooq, voiced by Portlandia’s Kumail Nanjiani, who effortlessly outsmarts Archer as he poorly attempts to care for his child. The episode starts off with plenty of callbacks (“rusty Krieger,” people getting shot at the apartment bar) but doesn’t really get funny until halfway through; then it gets great.
Seeing Pam, Cheryl, Krieger, Cyril and Ray playing poker in the office late at night is not a pretty sight. The writers do a good job of giving the characters new idiosyncrasies and one-liners that serve as either throwaway jokes or plot points. Here, the card game ends up being a pivotal turning point in the progression of events as Pam and the others forcibly intervene to assist Archer in his babysitting.
I enjoyed seeing Pam enter “beast mode,” one of the funniest scenes in the episode. When the surprise came at the end, I was a little unsatisfied. At this point, Archer gets shot by a gun so regularly in the show that a viewer might lose sight of what it means to actually get shot. The further the show distances itself from hints of possible realism, the sadder I’ll be to see Archer get shot for no reason.
The baby is the real topic of interest here. Introducing new, lasting characters is tough. The show can barely keep track of its meager remaining cast already; Barry showed up once this season after a long hiatus and Katya is just biding her time. If AJ is here to stay (and god forbid let’s not consider the alternative) then we have to get used to more baby episodes. The entire dynamic of the show has changed, and while it’s still worth asking why Lana didn’t leave way back before the cocaine even came into play last season, her presence on the show remains enduring funny and the ultimate foil to Sterling.
Despite the transition to new devices and different humor, I liked this episode a lot. It has clever jokes and snappy animation, along with a standard amount of generic character interaction that shows off each one’s funny side. I praise it for trying to move in new directions, but with one reservation. Breaking into the headquarters building to hack the mainframe has been done before. A couple of times, if I’m not mistaken. Find a new God to pull from your machine. Otherwise, this is a funny achievement that fits the show’s legacy nicely.