H. Jon Benjamin on Saying Goodbye to the FX Show

On Sunday, December 17th, the animation dynasty known as Archer comes to an end; the animated spy comedy, created by Adam Reed, reached its 14th season this year, with the three-part finale Archer: Into the Cold bringing the story of Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and his fellow agents to a conclusion.

“It’s hard to end the show, for sure,” Benjamin tells Consequence, saying that he and the rest of the Archer cast learned about the show ending on a group call organized by executive producers Matt Thompson and Casey Willis. “It was kind of a shock, but at the same time, it’s just very unusual for a show to keep going. And year to year, there was always uncertainty as to whether or not the show was going to go another season.”

Benjamin adds that “Archer kind of technically was going to come to an end after Adam Reed left the show in Season 10. After that, I think it was sort of more of a ‘How long do we have left?’ I think they did a really admirable job of recreating the show in the wake of Adam, who was the creative force behind it, for the remaining four seasons. But I think once Adam left, it was maybe a little bit more like, ‘Well, I wonder how long the show can last?’ There’s animated shows that go on for 30 years, so you never know.”

Benjamin teases that Into the Cold reflects, in a way, the show’s own occasionally precarious history: “In the world of the show, [the spy agency] has always been on the chopping block. So the natural ending for things is going to be like, ‘What’s gonna happen when the agency dissolves, and what’s going to happen to all these characters?’ So, it’s gonna be what happens when everything falls apart. All the characters have gone through so much over the course of the life of the show, and they tend to keep landing on their feet, but the finale definitely explores a real existential crisis for the agency.”

It’s the conclusion of a journey that began with the show’s original premiere in 2009, kicking off a decade-plus run of anarchy anchored by Benjamin alongside one of TV’s strongest voice casts (including Aisha Tyler, Judy Greer, Chris Parnell, Amber Nash, Lucky Yates, and the late great Jessica Walter).

One fun fact about Archer is that Benjamin never had to audition for the title role, instead receiving a direct offer for the series. “I remember how surprised I was,” he says. “It’s really pretty rare I’d get an offer — certainly at that time — so I might have been like, ‘Is this a mistake or something?’”

In fact, Benjamin says that he definitely remembers “being a little bit concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to play a spy well — I thought maybe I would have to be doing a different character than I had normally done, because my prior work was pretty much my natural voice and a lot of improvisation. So I was like, ‘I wonder why they’re choosing me for a spy?’”

Author: Michael

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