When a comedy show has been around as long as Archer has, there are bound to be a bunch of running jokes. These are the gags that have popped up consistently in some of the most iconic episodes throughout the series' 10 seasons. If you're a longtime follower of the show, you'll find the most gratification and hilarity from each of them.
The list of running gags in Archer is a long one. This is a dense show with a deep history. It rewards you for binge-watching and picking up on the laughs that get done repeatedly but in fresh ways. If you're looking to start Archer or if you want a trip down memory lane, here are the 10 funniest running jokes.
How is Sterling Archer not deaf after everything he's been through? From gunshots to explosions to the constant yelling that goes on around him, it's a miracle that he can still hear. One of the series' earliest running gags involves the tinnitus he's gotten from it all.
Whenever a loud noise goes off near Archer, he starts hearing a piercing sound and nothing else around him. The only thing that seems to help him get past it is putting a finger in his ear and repeatedly saying, "mawp." Nobody really knows why he does it but it's always funny.
Thanks to Archer's family wealth, he's always had a loyal servant around. That person is Sir Arthur Woodhouse. Though he seems to be paid handsomely by Sterling's mother Mallory, Woodhouse must endure a terrible boss . Archer is incredibly mean and vicious to the man.
Sometimes it's physical abuse like a slap. But more often than not, it is verbal and emotional. Archer degrades Woodhouse, throws his clothes off of the balcony, and never lets him go on vacation. As much as we laughed each time, you couldn't help but feel bad for Woodhouse.
When everyone found out that Cheryl was a member of the rich family who built the railroads within the area, they were stunned. But Archer found something that Cheryl owned that he liked a lot more. That would be her pet ocelot, Babou. When he first heard Babou existed, Archer paused for a moment before charging in to greet him.
From that point forward, each time Babou appeared, Archer lost his mind. He was excited that Babou remembered him and spent his time playing with him, even if he ended up injured and with his clothes ripped. Archer went as far as to rescue Babou from death on a train. His excitement at seeing the ocelot is what makes this so hilarious.
We'll preface this by saying that it might be a bit awkward for many readers. For the most part, the term "sploosh" became a thing on Archer because of the team's inappropriate Head of Human Resources, Pam Poovey. She used it, with a crude hand gesture, and everyone else picked up on it.
Since Archer is a show with a lot of content garnered towards adults, some mature jokes are to be expected. "Sploosh" is used when someone in the group is sexually attracted to another person. On paper, it isn't that funny but this one is all about the timing and the delivery.
6 Brett Gets Shot
Poor Brett. He's a character who was always off in the background and only became prominent when a certain thing would happen to him. That thing just so happened to be getting shot. It seemed like any time there was a gunfight, Brett would get hit by a stray bullet somewhere off-screen.
And nearly every single time, the shot was fired by Archer leading to a loud "dammit Archer!" Brett was shot in nine different episodes, including a classic where he had to answer the phone while bleeding and getting berated by Mallory, who called him "Mr. Bloodmobile." Alas, Brett was finally killed off in season five.
5 Danger Zone
If there's one thing that Sterling Archer loves more than turtlenecks, rampages, and booze, it's 1980s pop culture. It comes out when he gushes over Burt Reynolds (another good running joke that paid off when Reynolds appeared on the show as himself). But his favorite 80s thing might be Top Gun.
The most popular song from that film is "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins and Archer sings it quite often. He drops it in when he wants to pay homage to the song or when he's trying to be annoying. Usually towards Lana and her dangerous feelings for him. Like Reynolds, this had a great payoff when Loggins guest-starred in an episode.
4 "You're Not My Supervisor"
Cheryl is easily the most underrated character on the show. Nearly everything that she says will make you laugh because she's just so outrageous. Her most classic catchphrase has to be shouting, "YOU'RE NOT MY SUPERVISOR!" It's her go-to line whenever someone tries to boss her around.
It is a relatable line because we all wish we could yell it at someone. What makes it work so well for Cheryl is how loud and aggressive she is when yelling it. The best had to be when she screamed it at Mallory, only to realize that she actually is her supervisor.
3 Voicemail Pranks
This is the biggest gripe that Mallory seems to have with her son. For everything he does that would upset a mother, it is his voicemails that bother her most. That's because they aren't your typical voicemails. Archer loves to fake out his callers by pretending he's answering the phone.
The first few are pretty basic. But as the show progressed, they got more elaborate. They'd go on for several minutes and felt more realistic each time. Eventually, Mallory got so frustrated with them that she flat out refused to call Archer. And if she did, she'd wait en excruciatingly long time to make sure she wasn't getting tricked.
The co-dependent relationship between Archer and Lana is one of the driving forces of the show. It also gave us this outstanding running joke that gets us every single time. It involves Archer trying to get Lana's attention and doing so the way a child would with his mother.
It starts innocent enough with him calling her name. But if she's busy or if she's ignoring him because he's being annoying, Archer gets louder and louder each time. It culminates in a massive, "LANAAAA!" She finally responds and he usually just has something dumb and irrelevant to tell her.
You know The Office had "that's what she said?" It was their way of pointing out that something being said was inappropriate. In Archer, they have the simpler "phrasing" as their equivalent. Archer uses it more than anyone else on the show but most of the characters have gotten in on it at points.
Whenever it gets used, it brings laughter to anyone watching. Whether it's a comment about someone coming to dinner or something being hard, you can bet a mention of phrasing will happen. It is often followed by a "boom" from those who feel they nailed the joke.