Archer Shines, Unsupervised Bombs

If you tuned into FX at 10pm last night looking for a solid hour of animated comedy, you probably left half satisfied. The third season of Archer, which is arguably TV's funniest show, premiered and didn't miss a step. It was half-an-hour of rapid-fire zingers, cartoon danger, and Burt Reynolds. That was followed by the premiere of Unsupervised, arguably TV's worst new show. It was half-an-hour of zero jokes, annoying characters, and me trying not to smash my brain into unconsciousness. Unsupervised barely stood a chance on its own, but airing it after Archer? Ouch.

First, let's discuss how awesome Archer was, even if doing so is like talking about how mint chocolate chip ice cream tastes great. Of course Archer was awesome, it always is. Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) met his match in Burt Reynolds, his oft-mentioned idol. But because this is Archer, and because Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) is a well-known slut of monumental proportions, Burt was dating Malory and that obviously didn't sit well with our Sterling.

Conflicted over being in the presence of his hero and knowing the legend was banging his mom, Archer threw a tantrum and plotted to break them up. But there was a very wise writing choice in making Burt Reynolds a sweet old man who just so happened to be a legendary badass. The easy choice would've been to make him out-asshole Archer, but in casting Burt as a kinder, gentler version of Archer, the writers created a scenario where, try as he might, Sterling just couldn't bring himself to hate Mr. Reynolds and his sweet 'stache. Let's not forget that while we love Sterling Archer, he also happens to be one of TV's jerkiest jerks. Watching him be slowly won over by Burt, who gained Sterling's confidence through touchy-feely logic and suave action-hero moves, was a legitimate character arc for a man whose previous biggest arc was switching from blondes to brunettes.

Okay, that was a poor attempt at an academic approach to Archer, because really, it's a silly show that happens to be really, really funny. That car chase alone was one of the best scenes in the series' history, and it was made better by what looks like some improved animation techniques. And Dr. Krieger's van? Best new ride on TV.

On the exact opposite side of the bell curve was the premiere of Unsupervised, which is currently sitting right alongside Work It, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, and How to Be a Gentleman on my list of the worst new comedies of the season. The show is essentially a modern-day take on Beavis and Butt-head, but without any of that classic's subversive humor. Or any humor in general. And that's a shame, because it's assembled quite a cast.

The show is about Gary (Justin Long) and Joel (David Hornsby), two average high-schoolers with sex and partying on their minds. And like most average high-schoolers, they're fucking stupid and shouldn't be on television. Quality TV teens have been on the rise lately, but how these one-note, generic characters made it to my screen is beyond me. The awkwardness of our teenage years is a tried-and-true comedy gold mine with plenty of veins left to tap. But Unsupervised handles that territory with a complete lack of cleverness. We're talking uninspired "jokes" about new hairs on character's butts, the difficulty of boner control, and boobs as fat sacks. Those subjects dressed up with wordplay or angst would be funny, but Gary and Joel simply yammer on about them, assuming the mere idea of wanting to 69 with a schoolmate is funny. It's not.

Unsupervised was promoted with an It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia connection, as Hornsby (who also wrote and created the atrocious How To Be a Gentleman) and Kaitlin Olson are involved in both shows, but that's about it. It's Always Sunny knows how to dress up its jokes. Unsupervised doesn't.

Believe it or not, I don't like trashing new shows. It's not fun. But after one episode, Unsupervised is terrible. Having it follow the vastly superior Archer, which is everything an animated comedy should be, is suicide. This a rare whiff by FX, which is normally a gold mine for original TV programming.


Funnies from Archer:

"You drive like an egg." —Burt

"Leave me for some hot little 20-year-old? Well, I'll show him... I'll go find me a 10-year-old." —Malory

"I'm going to watch Hooper and masturbate 'til my fingers bleed." —Pam.
"Just tape them up." —Carol/Cheryl


Funnies from Unsupervised:


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (38)
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This is the dumbest thing ive read in a while. Just because you dont get comedy out side of the slap it in your face because your to dumb to understand suddlty style of Archer (which is the worst comedy cartoon ive ever seen) doesnt mean some other show isnt funny. My co-workers and I quote this show at work all the time cause its great.
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this is the most retarded review ever.

Archer gets attention for dumb, over the top shit. It gets old REALLY quickly.



Unsupervised stays much more grounded to reality and is still funny in realistic scenarios.

its a different twist, and its a shame this show didnt get more promotion because it could have went somewhere.



shame on you for your shitty review.
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Unsupervised was somewhat weak the first episode, but each episode continued to get better. I'll admit that there is little humor in it, though. I have kept up with it since I really like the main characters. Since Good Vibes was cancelled unfairly by MTV, I had to find another show of a couple of boys who had some good heart in their characters.
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Archer is hilarious but Unsupervised gets better ever week and actually has some heart to it.
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Man, I could not agree more. Archer obviously rocks, but I gave Unsupervised a chance and it sucked incredibly hard. Haven't seen How to be a Gentleman, but I think it's awesome that this David Hornsby I've never heard of happens to be heavily involved in both that AND Unsupervised. Quite a feat.
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Wow, and for some reason I still h8 prententious critics who don't bother watching more than 5 minutes of a show before passing judgement. I can't speak for "How awesome Archer is" -never seen it, but Unsupervised is actually much better than other cartoons of the past two seasons "Bob's Burger's", "Alan Gregory"...I found it to be quite funny, not as good as Beavis & Butthead, then again, anyone whose actuallly watched B&B would know that Unsupervised is nothing of the sort. It would probably be closer to "Daria", subtle darker humor mixed w/ intermittent toilet humor, as if Daria & Eric Cartman had a love child.
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Daria was fairly watchable, even though it was pretty dry. I'd say Unsupervised has plenty of things in common with B&B:



- The two main characters are teenage boys

- One has brown hair, one has blonde hair

- They're both idiots

- They're both ugly and unpopular

- They get boners

- The animation is ugly and irrelevant, relying on content over eye candy



But B&B still has funny moments. Unsupervised definitely strayed from that...so far.
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I agree, Archer is one of the funniest shows on television. This episode did not disappoint! Unsupervised was not that great, I'll give it one more chance.
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"Holy shit! Is that Burt Reynolds?" I actually said that before any of the characters did. This episode wasn't hilarious, but it was funny enough, and it was just plain fun. I hated those last three episodes, but this one picked up just fine.



Unsupervised is a true Nickelodeon-or-FOX-worthy pile of shit, but I don't get how everyone seems to be in accord with Unsupervised's failings, but so many people love Bob's Burgers. They're equally bad. Truly, equally bad, but Bob's Burgers has some kind of Community cult following. Community is at least clever. I mean, they sacrifice humor for all their...cleverness, but if it's what the people want...
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Unsupervised was so awful, I had to watch to see how it ended.
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Archer is awesome. Unsupervised was very average. New animated comedies just aren't trying hard enough, they are either too pretentious or super unfunny.
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Archer was pretty good, but there wasn't a single thing drawing me to Unsupervised... and I *love* Beavis & Butt-head!
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Archer is a good show but calling it the funniest show on TV is something only a fanboy would say.



Archer is basically Get Smart meets Southpark meets Adult Swim



it's nothing groundbreaking or all that new
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Wait? How are its influences making it less funny? I got lost a bit in that triple loop of a logic jump you made there.



But just to clarify? This is what what you said sounded like to me: "Archer is like an orgasm meets ice cream meets money". So not a bad thing at all. Also, Archer is, in fact, like an orgasm meets ice cream meets money. It *is* the funniest half an hour out there, and that's no disrespect to the bunch of great comedies running right now, because there are a ton of very, very good ones.
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your logic is flawless



dude, it's a matter of opinion not fact



of course I guess that depends on what the meaning of *is* *is*
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Right. Apparently, only groundbreaking or all that new makes a show funny for some people. They're gonna have a painful life ahead of them.
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when did i say it wasn't funny



go get a sense of humor and we can talk
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Does that imply you were making a joke somewhere? If so, you might want to work on your own.



It's not the funniest show, but bringing up whether it's groundbreaking or new as if that changes how funny a show is fails a logic test in anyone's opinion.



So actually...work on that, too.
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I dont think that Tim is really off here. I struggle to think of a funnier show on television right now. Family Guy is fairly meh these days, Modern Family is possibly *as* funny as Archer on good episodes, most of the sitcoms are fairly lame. So you want to battle his claim, show us something better. I dare you.
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your logic flawless



in my opinion there a number of funnier shows



if I list them, how are you going to prove Archer is funnier?



Archer is kinda funny, but Family Guys isn't funny at all
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"Is that a ghost?" LOL :D The best line of the show. <3 Archer so much.
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Well, this wasn't Archer's best installment by a long shot but it was leaps and bounds better than Unsupervised. While watching the latter, I was forced to assume that someone high up at FX must have owed the Sunny folks big. There's no way that show got the green light based solely on its merits.



Long-time watchers of FX may remember that while they were always on the mark with their dramas, their first few forays into comedy were fairly disastrous. But after finally seeing the light and giving us gems such as Sunny, The League and Archer, it was a real disappointment to see them slip and fall with this dud. Something this boring was better left on Fox proper, who now seem hell-bent on giving us lukewarm (at best) new animated comedies.

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Leave it to "Archer" to show every big budget half hour comedy littering the major networks how you use a guest star. Burt hasn't had material that good to work with in many years and the result was the funniest half hour of the season of any comedy.



Other funny parts Woodhouse confusing Reynolds for Clark Gable as the cartoon Burt did look very much like Gable. And Pam in her excitement of seeing Reynolds... "My panties are so wet you could drown a toddler in 'em. .. Not that I would." Also, Reynolds asking Lana if Krieger's anime girlfriend was a ghost. Poor Ray.



"Unsupervised" really missed the mark; but great cast. Romany Malco, I think its finally time for him to return to "Weeds".
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Loved this episode of Archer!
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Overall Unsupervised wasn't a good show but it had some redeemable qualities. The writers are showing some respect for the characters (Kristen Bell's character is interesting) and I half-laughed a bit but the show's not good enough for me to keep watching. Then again I find Archer annoying and not really funny so I would suggest the gulf between the shows is fairly narrow.
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Unsurpervised, Napolean Dynamite, and that other unspeakable animated show!

Gong 'em!!!!!!
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"The show is essentially a modern-day take on Beavis and Butt-head"



That's what I was thinking the whole time I was watching it. I even thought of the kid that kept smelling his cast as this show's "Stewart." I did enjoy this show though, particularly the scene when they went to their Australian neighbor's house for kebobs. And "Stewart" arriving at the party made me laugh too.



Also, "Gon' get sone new drawers. Gon' get some new freakin' drawers!"
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Archer, the funniest TV show? Are you high? Typical Surette douche statement.
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It's fine to not think it's funny...but what is funny to you? Something current, plz.
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The fact that you have Patrick Dempsey as your avatar renders you void.
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No he's not, because Archer is HILARIOUS. You can disagree, but why exactly do you feel entitled to call him a douche?
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I am surprised you did not include Alan Gregory among the bad shows considering it's animated like Unsupervised, which I actually thought this was better than Gregory.



That said, I was more interested in the background art even though they were sort of depressing. Otherwise, I found the show to be sort of pointless. Why is it on the air?
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I reeeally wanted Unsupervised to be good. Justin Long, Kristen Bell, Cricket, Fred Armisen, Kaitlen Olsen, Conrad, the cast sounds amazing on paper. Then I watched and was frustrated for 20 minutes. It wasn't very funny. I didn't hate it as much as Tim, but I still didn't find it very funny.
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I had no idea those guys worked on the show. Explains a decent amount, actually. Portlandia...New Girl...



Kristen Bell's cool, but I've never seen her on anything funny. Still haven't, it seems.
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I thought Unsupervised was pretty funny, I have to disagree with the author.
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I was a little disappointed by Archer last night. I thought it was good, but not as great as Season 1 and 2. Maybe I hyped myself up too much for Season 3.
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I agree with you about unsupervised. I was actually looking forward to another animated show from FX. But this was random and not in a good way. It is hard to explain fully why I don't like it. I just think it is dumb.
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I got a pretty good laugh on Unsupervised when in response to why guys like boob's Justin reply, "It's like how chicks love balls"...

I laughed a few times...
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