Archer season 4 episode 7 saw the gang have a Kitchen Nightmare of their own. Animated spy comedy Archer debuted in 2009 and follows the egotistical, womanizing and alcoholic title character. The show is intended as a parody of 1960s spy movies and TV shows like Get Smart, with a dash of the Roger Moore-era James Bond movies thrown in. While Archer is frequently sucked into world-saving missions, the series milks much of its comedy from the interpersonal relationships between the spy and his neurotic workmates.

Archer quickly attracted a cult following thanks to its witty writing and excellent voice cast, including H. Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers), Judy Greer and Chris Parnell. Creator Adam Reed has mixed up the format of Archer more than once, including season 5’s Archer Vice – a Miami Vice parody – and the season 7 finale left Archer in a coma. This allowed later seasons to experiment with noir in Archer: Dreamland or sci-fi with Archer: 1999. Even in his coma-induced fantasies, Archer still can’t seem to get along with his mother Mallory or co-workers.


The long-running series even crossed over with reality TV cooking shows in Archer season 4 episode 7 “Live And Let Dine.” The setup has Archer, Lana, Ray, and Cyril go undercover at the restaurant of famous chef Lance Casteau (guest star Anthony Bourdain) due to a threat being leveled at the Albanian ambassador, who is due to dine there. Adding to the stress is the camera crew following them around for Casteau’s show B**tard Chef recording their every move and each one of his withering insults.

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Archer season 4 episode 7 “Live And Let Dine” is basically an extended parody of shows like Hell’s Kitchen, with Anthony Bourdain’s Casteau being a demonic version of sweary chef hosts like Gordon Ramsay. The episode is at its best with the interplay between Archer, Casteau, and Lana, with the latter being tasked with answering the restaurant’s phone and letting customers know its booked ten months in advance. Archer takes naturally to his role as a jerky boss too. It also turns out Mallory has been trying to get a table at this restaurant for ages – and was responsible for the “anonymous” assassination threat for that very reason.

Archer season 4 episode 7 “Live And Let Dine” is ultimately a lightweight episode with a gimmicky premise, but Anthony Bourdain’s committed performance combined with the show’s acidic tone makes it work. There’s also a twist ending that isn’t hard to figure out as the episode unfolds, though it does suggest maybe Archer has untapped potential as a chef.

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