TV Diary | Archer: “Drift Problem”
TV Diary | Archer – Episode 3.07 – “Drift Problem” – Original Airdate: 2/9/12
Episode Grade: B
Ironic that an episode that bears the word “problem” in its title would end up being one itself. Now, that’s not to say that Archer’s fourth 2012 episode is a bad one – far from it – but it’s clear that it’s the weakest of this new batch of episodes by a fairly obvious margin. On some level, trying to live up to a string of all-time great episodes like “The Man From Jupiter,” “El Contador,” and “The Limited” was a tall order and hoping that “Drift Problem” would continue the streak was something probably akin to pushing your luck at the tables in Vegas. You know you’re going to crap out at some point so you shouldn’t be too angry when you finally do. “Drift Problem” took two disparate yet equally hilarious ideas – Archer’s obsession with his birthday and Pam’s apparent racing of drift cars against the Yakuza – and tried to fuse them together via the new, Krieger-souped-up Dodge Challenger that Malory purchases for Archer for his birthday , yet failed to fully land either of its tentpole ideas. Sure, Archer’s birthday provided some great moments  as did Pam’s extracurriculars with the Japanese mob, but neither had the impact they could/should have really had. As soon as Malory gave Archer the super-Challenger and warned him that he’d better not let anything happen to it or – God forbid – let it get stolen, it was pretty clear that’s where the story was going to be headed . Pretty much every line that H. Jon Benjamin delivered as the Challenger went through its pre-recorded spiel of the car’s features was pure gold, particularly his squeals of gleeful laughter when the in-dash bar was revealed, and the car’s presence allowed Reed to muse on the frustrations of product placement , but too much of the storyline felt reheated. And the Yakuza angle? Could have had potential but in some ways it felt similar to how an episode of The Simpsons will start out with one thread only to abruptly shift and try to tie that idea to another completely unrelated angle without much success. Still, casting George Takei as the head Yakuza boss was inspired and watching Archer have a complete mental break upon the realization that Malory duped him not once  but twice – she stole the car because of course she did – was a nice scene. “Drift Problem” was easily the slightest of this year’s installments but if an episode like this that does actually have its moments is the season’s floor, I’ll surely take it.
 That he has completely inappropriate feelings for: “So… I hope this doesn’t sound weird but I kind of want to have sex with you. Is that alright?”
 His berating Woodhouse after Woodhouse brings him breakfast in bed THEN drops confetti all over the room, as well as Archer musing on the genius marketing strategy of Carvel were highlights.
 Looks like Adam Reed was content to get all Freddy Foreshadowing this week.
 Lana: “Wow, so… how much did Dodge kick in?” Malory, disgustedly: “Not as much as you’d think.”
 Archer’s “losing” the new bike that Malory bought him for a childhood birthday was the impetus for her warning about the car here.
*Even despite the disappointment that was most of the episode, at least Krieger was back (briefly) this week. That’s not nothing.
*The animation on the Dodge Challenger and the ensuing car chases were just as impressive as those in “The Man From Jupiter.” That’s some money well-spent.
*There’s a nice extended gag where Archer’s not entirely sure if the car can actually talk to him. I’m a sucker for jokes that seem to go on too long but in reality go on just long enough. This was one of those.
*What exactly was the punishment that Malory visited upon Archer in the flashback for losing his bike? It may have been some kind of reference that I wasn’t getting.
*Love the recurring bit with Archer fakeouts on his voicemail. His birthday one that Malory was duped by was incredible.
*Cheryl likes Malory beating her around too much. Not that that’s surprising.
*”It’s black, powerful, sexy… like if Ron O’Neal was a car.” Superfly represent!
*”It’s OK. I’ll just wait here while you go make me a whole new birthday breakfast not covered in garbage.” “It’s not garbage, sir.” “Scraps of paper which, by definition, yes… is garbage.”
*”Nutella steak and eggs?”
*”I wonder if Fudgy The Whale will be there. Or Cookiepuss. (Chuckle) Cookiepuss… those guys at Carvel know what they’re doing.”
*”Paging Dr. Boy… Dr. Birthday Boy!!”
*”Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero.”
*”Ow… I think.”
*”What’s that? You want me inside you?”
*”What else does it do?” “Press that red button.” “Wait… is it gonna kill everybody?” “Press that blue button.”
*”It makes the Mach 5 look like a vagina!”
*”Corinth is famous for its leather!”
*”Oh, God… he’s got an erection.”
*”Seriously, Dodge? Apple juice?”
*”Who steals cars, Woodhouse?” “GYPPOS!!”
*”OK… I’m gonna drink some of this and then I’m gonna do a huge spit take on ya.”
*”And against those pinky-less bastards you had better come correct.”
*”I’m not crappy — I just started.”
*”Right in the head and ass.”
*”And who taught you to drive anyway?” “This guy I know named my dead father.” “Oh, I… uh…” “Yeah… I bet you feel like a dick.”
*”You used panty-vending sonsabitches!”
*”That was for Pearl Harbor!”