One show I have gotten into as of late is Archer on FX. As a fan of SeaLab 2021 and Frisky Dingo, Archer continues the trend of hilarious, though probably inappropriate comedy that is solely reserved for late night. It ranks up there with South Park, Aqua-Teen Hunger Force and Futurama as late night guilty pleasures that you can’t help but watch when it’s on FX, Comedy Central or Cartoon Network.
Amazingly, Archer, while incredibly well-written (not surprising since SeaLab and Frisky Dingo were also very well-written animated comedies), really benefits from an all-star voice cast. Actors such as Judy Greer (Married, the Village), Chris Parnell (SNL), Aisha Tyler (Talk Soup), H. Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers) and Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) add considerable depth to the show’s hilarious, and multi-layered characters. As good as Adam Reed’s previous animated incarnations were, he never had a voice cast as talented as the one on Archer, and it is easy to understand why Archer has become such a huge hit among Animated Comedy fans.
That being said, I always like to cross pop culture with sports whenever I get the chance. And, as a way to express my thoughts about the Kings off-season, instead of doing a traditional “analysis” or “grading” of what the Kings have done this summer, I have decided to correlate a player or person in the Kings organization with a character from Archer. So, let’s take a look at the Kings going into 2015-2016 as characters from ISIS (and for the record, not the Muslim terrorist organization, but the International Secret Intelligence Service; and yes, I know they do not use the name on that show anymore and have tried to block out any reference to it in past shows).
Sterling Archer: Demarcus Cousins
Archer is the star or the show as well as the figurehead of the secret service agency. He is the main agent for both better and worse, and the same is true with Boogie on this Kings roster. As all the missions and operations revolve around the drunken, womanizing, but strangely lovable and skilled secret agent, the Kings organization centers on the multi-talented, but sensitive and hot-tempered All-Star post player. The Kings will do anything to try to please the budding superstar, for both the benefit (bringing in free agents like Rajon Rondo, Marco Belinelli and Caron Butler) and detriment (seriously limiting their future options by trading away Nik Stauskas and draft picks in order to clear cap space) of their organization, much like Malory does for Sterling (and she does, because even though she is self-centered, she always manages to overlook all of Sterling’s “unsavory” characteristics and actions).
Sterling has a hot and cold relationship with the other members of ISIS and Cousins proves to go through something similar. One some occasions Cousins seems to be buddy-buddy with many of his teammates. After all, who could forget Omri Casspi fixing Cousins’ headband on the bench and giving him a fist bump in thanks, as demonstrated in the video below:
But, while there are plenty of examples of Cousins being a solid teammate, there are also occasions where the fussy start loses his cool with his fellow Kings. It was a regular sight to see him yelling and sulking at teammates, especially now departed ones like Nik Stauskas and Derrick Williams. Heck, Cousins has a reputation for driving off talent that don’t mesh with his prickly personality. Thomas Robinson and Isaiah Thomas are examples of young King talents who were dealt or let go because they either didn’t mesh with Cousins’ personality (in Thomas’ case, who never seemed to get out of Cousins’ doghouse after the Chris Paul incident) or to get someone who got along with Cousins better (as in Robinson’s case, as he was replaced with Patrick Patterson, who played with Cousins in college at Kentucky). Much like Archer drives people in his office over the edge with his drunken antics and self-centered comments and actions, Cousins has had that kind of effect driving Kings players, coaches (Paul Wetphal, Keith Smart and now George Karl being prime examples) and even management (Paul D’Alessandro seemed to be in Cousins’ doghouse after he fired Mike Malone, a coach that Cousins deeply respect).
Is Cousins’ prickly personality going to cause the same kind of downfalls that flummoxed ISIS? It’s hard to say, but Cousins proves to be entertaining, talented and unpredictable for the Kings and Kings fans, just like Archer is with television audiences.
Lana Kane: Rudy Gay
Much like Lana is to Sterling, Rudy is the Robin to Cousins’ Batman, only comically more. You could argue that Rudy might be more valuable to the Kings because of his positional and scoring versatility (Rudy arguably has had the best seasons of his career in Sacramento), but because of his sidekick status, Rudy doesn’t seem to get the appreciation he deserves in the Kings organization or from Kings fans compared to Boogie.
Rudy has always seemed to be groomed to be the franchise player of an organization when he was drafted eighth by the Grizzlies. But after that failed somewhat in Memphis and miserably in Toronto, he has found his niche as the talented second-in-command in Sacramento, much like Lana with ISIS. Of course, that comes with good and bad. Rudy still gets more respect in the organization than most Kings players, much like Lana is more respected than her on-again, off-again, rebound Cyril or Cheryl or Pam. Unfortunately, Rudy always seems to pale in importance in comparison to Boogie. Despite the myriad of mistakes or issues that might flare up with Boogie, they still seem minuscule to whatever mistake Rudy may make on the court in the eyes of Kings fans. Though he has improved greatly in Sacramento, advanced stats people still are hard on Rudy (phrasing!), like Lana is the subject of unnecessary ridicule with Malory, the head woman in charge at ISIS.
On Archer, Lana is a multi-talented field agent who takes her job seriously, but is easily influenced by those around her, though she can be stubborn in her way about it. On the Kings, Rudy is an extremely multi-talented player that can play 2-4 and be a nightmare for opposing players at any of those positions, though he can infuriate Kings fans at times for trying to do “too much”. Rudy also seems to be more of “people” person than Cousins, as demonstrated by his ability to lure Rondo to Sacramento and his “near” luring of Josh Smith as well (though he eventually signed with the Los Angeles Clippers). He is not an enigmatic player like Cousins, as he seems to fit better in the organization with more players and their personalities on this Kings roster (much like Lana with ISIS in comparison to Sterling). That being said, it’s obvious that when it comes to the hierarchy of importance and power in the organization, Rudy takes a clear backseat to the alpha dog Cousins (Like Lana to Sterling).
I know Rudy may not like the comparison to a female character from an animated show, but it’s obvious that Lana is the perfect Archer characterization for him in this Kings organization. Rudy may be more efficient and dependable on the court (like Lana is as a field agent), but Rudy won’t ever capture the impact and heights of Boogie as a King (Sterling with ISIS).
Pamela “Pam” Poovey: Darren Collison
Pam Poovey is an odd cat on Archer. She seems to be the more competent of the office pair (her and Cheryl) and she has her stuff together in comparison to the other members of ISIS. As the ISIS agents and staff are prone to constant ups and downs, Pam seems to be the most stable of the bunch. That being said, though she is stable, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s spectacular or great in what she does. But she’s comfortable with who she is and offers a lot of hidden talents (bare knuckle fighting for one) though she can be the object of ridicule among many in the organization.
Darren Collison may not be an overweight, gossipy, white human resources director for a secret service organization, but he shares many of the same traits as Pam. He is vastly underrated and has performed much better than expectations in Sacramento. He is adept at pushing the tempo and generating offense in transition, and he has the size and athleticism to make things difficult for most point guards in the league. Amazingly, Collison has put up the same exact true shooting percentage the past three seasons (57.5 percent) for 3 different teams (Clippers, Mavericks, and Kings) and he has averaged a PER at least over 16 the past 3 season (including 17.5 last year). Collison is not a Top-10 point guard in the league, but last year he proved that he could be a serviceable point and is a key cog going forward for this organization, even if his signing was ridiculed at the time (because he placed fan favorite Isaiah Thomas).
But despite his value and underrated status, Collison, much like Pam, doesn’t get the love he deserves. Like people in ISIS make fun of her weight, basketball circles categorize Collison as a career backup (as evidenced by the Kings signing Rondo this year). Pam is known for crossing multiple boundaries with her co-workers with her socially awkward comments leaving her with a “less than stellar” reputation at the office. Collison suffers from a similar reputation, as he is more known for not matching Thomas’ personality or scoring ability, and for being routinely schooled in the playoffs by much better point guards (such as getting overshadowed and schooled by Stephen Curry in the 2014 first round).
No matter what he does, Collison can’t seem to escape that label of being “overrated”, “replaceable” or “mediocre” even though he is more valuable to the Kings than most think. The same remains true for Pam, as her value and character doesn’t stand out in comparison to Sterling or Lana or Malory, but it’s safe to say that she is a valuable contributor to ISIS and character to the Archer universe.
Cyril Figgis: Ben McLemore
Cyril is clearly the second-class citizen among field agents at ISIS. He struggles to find a fit in the organization, even though he tries his hand at dating Lana (disastrously, mind you) and taking certain roles during missions (also quite ineffectively). However, Cyril can surprise at times. Though he looks like an accountant, Cyril somehow is able to find success (though short term success mind you) with women. Of course, this has had a destructive quality with his relationship with Lana, but while Cyril certainly could use more points in the “macho” category (especially in comparison to Archer), he is no slouch with the ladies (or at least finding fleeting relationships).
Ben McLemore has been kind of a punch-line since coming to Sacramento. He is obviously talented, but he just hasn’t put it together in his two years in Sacramento, and he always seems to be at the discussion of trade talks or being replaced. He offers big time athleticism and shooting potential, but nothing about his game is consistent, and like Cyril with ISIS, this has given him an “expendable” label with the Kings. Two years ago during the Dunk Contest, McLemore and Shaq teamed up to do a comical “King themed” act before and after his dunk, only for McLemore to be spectacularly outdone by John Wall’s dunk (it was a perfect duplication of what Sterling does to Cyril when Cyril tries to “outdo” Sterling in anything). Last year, the Kings looked to be on their way of replacing McLemore with the drafting of Nik Stauskas, but lackluster play from Stauskas and a massive cap-space-clearing trade has left Stauskas in Philly, and McLemore still remains. Much like when Lana or ISIS may think they have a better replacement for Cyril but they end up with him in the end, the Kings have done the same with McLemore: he’s still wearing a Kings uniform, though they aren’t necessarily over-thrilled with him it seems at times.
Cyril may be a harsh characterization of McLemore, who I think really progressed in his second year and is starting to find confidence in his shots, something he didn’t have his rookie year. But, we are in the “Archer” universe, and unfortunately, McLemore and Cyrical just share too many similarities.
Cheryl Tunt: Omri Casspi
Cheryl doesn’t seem to be a fit in the ISIS organization. She’s a ditz, she comes from a wealthy family, she has all kinds of weird issues (especially with her romantic partners) and she has hot-and-cold issues with the members in her organization (especially the main trio of agents: Archer, Lana and Cyril). Surprisingly, Cheryl is a fit with her partner in-crime Pam, and seems to not irritate too much the head of the organization, Malory, who seems to be grossly irritated by everyone who works for her.
Omri Casspi fulfills the same role with the Kings. He obviously has somewhat of a decent relationship with Cousins. (I mean, how many people would Cousins allow to touch his headband, let alone head on the bench?) But, it was obvious at times that he was also the subject of Cousins’ up and down streaks on the court if he made a mistake or was in the way of an irate Cousins heading toward the bench. Watch as Cousins takes out his anger on a chair right next Casspi, and of course, Casspi picks it up. All that is missing would be a “Cheryl-esque” ditzy comment while picking it up.
Much like Cheryl, Casspi is more talented than people think, as he has become much better scoring at the rim this second time in Sacramento (he used to be primarily a 3-point specialist). That being said, his talent has only seemed to be realized in the Sacramento organization, and that’s a big reason why he re-signed with the Kings this off-season. But, like Cheryl with ISIS, Casspi is appreciated in Sacramento and he seems to be a key cog and fan favorite in Sacramento going forward, much like Cheryl has become a favorite character of “Archer” fans.
Raymond Q. Gillette: Andre Miller
Ray, in all his flamboyance, proves to be one of the more level-headed members of ISIS. Much like his appearance and impact is more limited on the show, the same proves to be true with Miller, who was acquired late in the season by the Kings. Ray doesn’t get the most respect from people in the organization, and he can be the object of ridicule at times, but it is obvious that he knows what he is doing and he had confidence in what he does for the organization (though it often goes unrealized thanks to the main agents in charge, i.e. Archer and Lana).
Miller is a throwback vet who obviously had a good effect on the Kings younger players, which were yearning for leadership last year after shuffling through some many campaigns with a “Captian-less” ship. Though Miller’s game is not pretty, and can be the scoff of many fans and basketball analysts for his “old man” skills, he is effective and holds a vital role on the Kings now and hopefully going forward, should the Kings re-sign him. Of course, much like Ray’s role on the show, it’ll be interesting to see how big a part he will have on the Kings in the future, should he have a role at all.
Whatever happens, it will probably be common to see Miller pinching his nose and sighing in frustration with the Kings next year, similar to what Ray does when Archer or Lana or Cyril (or even Malory) refuse to take his advice. Let’s just hope that Miller is doing that as a King.
Dr. Algenorp Krieger: Vlade Divac
Dr. Krieger is the mad genius of the ISIS research department. Vlade is the mad genius of the Sacramento Kings department. Krieger often creates new kinds of technology that serve no immediate or relevant purpose to the agents or organization. Vlade has engaged in some transactions (the Sixers trade; the Luc-Richard Mbah-Moute signing) that don’t seem to really fit the purpose of what the Kings are trying to do (become a winning franchise again for a long period of time). Krieger when he gets caught seems to blubber and show little idea of what he is doing. Many media experts and fellow GMs think Vlade is blubbering his way through his first year in charge of Kings basketball operations without a concrete plan or idea of what he wants to do beyond this year. Krieger has a beard. Vlade has a beard.
The similarities are just way too uncanny. Of course, I hope Vlade isn’t as ineffective as Krieger. I think Vlade does have a plan, but I think he may be trying to rush the Kings back to success a little bit too quickly, as evidenced by the Sixers trade, which seemed to be a sign of playing his hand too early. (Seriously, how many other teams were really considering Rondo at the end of the day?) Whether it was a good call or not, only a couple of years will tell if Vlade pulled a smart move as head of operations for the Kings or simply demonstrated a “Krieger” (i.e. crazy and ineffective).
Let’s just hope that Vlade stays away from the risque, holographic Anime and cocaine, unlike Krieger.
Woodhouse: David Stockton
David Stockton was a nice little story for Gonzaga and has been a nice story going forward for the Kings. Despite going undrafted, Stockton fit well in Reno’s “Grinnell-style” system, and eventually earned himself a call up to the league a couple of times late last year.
But let’s face facts: Stockton has no relevant purpose on this team other than being a warm body and to give people high fives. The same proves to be true for Woodhouse, who is Archer’s servant, and is mainly there to help Archer accomplish whatever crazy, perverse idea he has going on in his drunken state back at his apartment. In fact, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if Cousins treated Stockton like Archer treats Woodhouse. After all, that kind of treatment would be expected with a star player and an end of the bench rookie who probably won’t be spending that much time with the organization or the league in general.
I can only hope that Cousins doesn’t make Stockton eat a bowl of spider webs if Stockton turns the ball over in the preseason.
Malory Archer: Vivek Ranadive
This is the last, and the easiest comparison of the list (other than Cousins to Archer). Malory Archer runs ISIS as her own personal vanity project, looking to utilize the organization and her agents for her own personal wealth, gain and status. Vivek seems to be using the Kings as a vanity project for himself and his own goals to change basketball and how a franchise is run. Unfortunately for the both of them, this hasn’t always worked out to their success. Malory’s many missions have failed due to her own ego and self-centered nature getting in the way. Vivek’s quest to create a “NBA 3.0” has often fell flat and the subject of ridicule, as evidenced by the failed tenure of Pete D’Alessandro and Chris Mullin, the firing of Michael Malone, and his inability to mend the relationship between George Karl and Cousins this off-season.
Much like Malory, Vivek is often confusing where he places blame concerning the multitude of issues running amok in the Kings organization. Often times, it looked like he was putting the responsibility on the previous leaders in the front office (i.e. Pete and Chris), only for it to come out that they weren’t all that responsible at all. Also, while Vivek tries to put the right people in charge, it also seems at times that he loses control of the key people in his organization, leading to conflict and a tense working environment when their personalities get out of control (i.e. Karl and Cousins). Malory suffers from the same issue, as her son Archer and Lana often take to their own personal issues in the midst of everyone, and instead of diffusing it, Malory seems to let it happen to the amusement of herself. That is not saying Vivek is amused by this current situation, but it makes you wonder why he doesn’t step in more when the issues are minor and just developing (rather than later and they are already major problems).
I don’t think Vivek is as heinous or as a selfish as Malory Archer. I really think he wants the Kings organization to be good and he really wants this team to be good for the city of Sacramento. But some of his decisions make one wonder if he has had a bit too much to drink in the office, much like Malory.