Are you watching “Archer” on FX? This animation-for-adults spy-spoof series is the only thing on TV that both a) consistently motivates me to remember when it’s on and b) makes me laugh uproariously with every freaking episode.
The cast is a giant melty casserole of funny people, with Jon Benjamin (who will always be Coach McGuirk to me) as the titular secret agent Sterling Archer, and Jessica Walter (late of “Arrested Development”) as Malory Archer, Sterling’s overbearing mother and the head of the ISIS spy agency, not to mention Chris Parnell as Cyril and the brilliant Aisha Tyler as Lana Kane. There is no dead weight on this show. Everyone is hilarious.
My favorite character, however, is Human Resources Director Pam Poovey, voiced by Amber Nash (who is equally entertaining even out of character) and described adorably by same as “the sturdy bisexual.”
Early on, Pam seems present mostly to fulfill the fat office-lady cliche, but in time her character turns out to be smart, tough and refreshingly honest. Though she is constantly insulted and bullied by her co-workers (as is pretty much every character, to be fair), she seems to know she deserves better. Whether Pam is gossiping about her colleagues, leaving graffiti all over the city or resolving HR disputes with a dolphin puppet, girlfriend is unabashedly following her heart no matter what anyone thinks.
In the second season episode “El Secuestro,” Pam is kidnapped and held for ransom by a pack of criminals who mistakenly believe her to be a wealthy heiress. They also mistakenly believe her to be a helpless victim, until Pam reveals she paid her way through college by fighting in illegal bareknuckle brawls. Pam doesn’t have to wait for rescue, which is a good thing, as rescue isn’t on the way. Pam can rescue her own damn self.
I know, it’s ridiculous, but the whole series is absurd, in the best possible way. Pam’s appeal stems from the fact that she is dismissed by her colleagues, a casualty of low expectations, and yet she just doesn’t care. Pam knows she can take care of herself. Pam keeps on eating her food, seeking out sexual partners, and kicking ass.
I can’t really articulate why I love Pam so much: Part of it is that she is someone I would like to hang out with (so long as alcohol was not involved, as I doubt I could keep up). Part of it is probably that she reminds me of myself in a lot of ways, and frankly I don’t see many women on television to whom I can readily relate. I mean, I have a dolphin puppet on my desk right now. That is how obsessed I am with Pam.
"Archer" is currently on FX Thursday nights at 10:30 EST. You can also watch some episodes on Hulu, and the whole first season is available for streaming on Netflix. Get in there. And tell me if you love Pam as I do.