Season 9: Danger Island
This page can be used to compare and contrast the characters and the trope makeup between 'classic Archer' and the dream season that is Danger Island, as well as to contrast the genre-shifting that has taken place across the seasons. It also looks at the some of the narrative tropes that are introduced as a result of serialising the previously episodic show. By limiting the scope of analysis of the season to a limited set of tropes (hence quantitative analysis) taken only from the Tropes Of Legend it is possible to gain insight into the structure of Danger Island at the micro as well as the macro level. For instance, it becomes obvious that the characters which feel (qualitatively) the least substantial correspondingly have the least tropes associated with them. In contrast, characters which feel the most well-developed have the most tropes associated with them. (To that end, Archer, Pam and Fuchs are clearly the most developed, followed by Crackers and Charlotte with Malory, Lanaluakalani and Ray at the bottom.) This quantitative analysis conforms with the intuition that the best characters are those which are more well-developed by laying bare the tropes from which they are composed, thus providing as close to an objective assessment of subjective factors as possible.
Different Tropes For Preparing Archer
This is an overview of the most obvious tropes rather than a list of all the tropes, as there are many more obscure tropes being played with in the season which can be added at a later date, or analysed on a separate page. Therefore, the following list is not intended to be exhaustive, but indicative. Of the 236 most often used "tropes of legend", the 68 below are the ones that are easily identifiable as being present in season 9.
The geographical / historical / anthropological / linguistic references can be understood in terms of:
- Author Appeal with a major focal point being World War II as well as a desire to experiment with Genre Shift, and to juxtapose Genre Savvy with Genre Blind characters.
Character changes can be understood in terms of:
- Flanderisation of the characters, with dramatic reductions in the characters scope and abilities.
- Character Derailment which seems to be a choice of selecting only those traits needed for the purposes of the plot.
- Nice Hat (multiple instances).
The narrative structure can be interpreted as a combination of:
- X Meets Y - Archer meets Tales of the Gold Monkey / Danger Island / Raiders of the Lost Ark etc.
- Story Arc - an attempt at the serialisation of episodes, as opposed to self-contained episode arcs.
- Crapsack World - Shithole Island as Charlotte calls it; Archer says its "stuffed to the tits" with deadly animals.
- Either way, it is called Danger Island for a reason.
- A Curb Stomp Battle which the protagonists manage to win, defeating the Nazis by the skin of their teeth.
- Deus Ex Machina on both sides, but not before things go
- From Bad to Worse.
- Refuge in Audacity is evoked as cannibalism sequences, testicles, Fuchs and Charlotte, Malory shooting all the Nazis are all too extreme to be taken seriously.
- Suspension of Disbelief is required, but difficult at times due to breakdowns in internal logic.
- Just in Time is subverted with a hint of dramatic irony when the cannibals arrive just in time to rescue Archer and Pam from the quick sand, only to then tie them up for the eating.
- A Bittersweet Ending is mixed with a Downer Ending.
- Recycled in Space - the dream seasons are all recycled versions of classic Archer, but season 10 with be an exemplar of this trope.
- Mood Whiplash due to the up and down nature of the episodes, some being more dramatic, others more comic.
- Lots of Lampshade Hanging.
The Idol can be seen as a:
- MacGuffin driving the plot forward, a Forbidden Fruit and a Chekhov's Gun - subtly introduced and becoming progressively more important.
The Mech is a:
- Humongous Mecha, a Deus Ex Machina as well as Chekhov's Gun that is subtly introduced in a box for most of episode 7, becoming important at a critical point in the sequence.
'Classic Archer' meta-comedic elements:
- Meta Concepts, Porous fourth wall, Subverted Trope, Call Back, Running Gag, Shout Out and Reference Overdosed are all utilised.
- A staggering number of references are incorporated to generate an uncharacteristically real sense of geographical and historical context.
The characters in the season are dream personae and so are not identical with the original characters. This has arguably caused a certain amount of upset among the fans due to the fondness people have developed for them over the years. Nevertheless, here is a brief overview of tropes embodied by the new versions.
- Berserk Button - pressed by Ziegler.
- Call to Adventure - subverted: unintentional, seeking the idol for financial reasons, doesn't realise the Nazis want to take over the world with it.
- Genre Blindness - especially around Noah.
- Phrasing - Archer says "I had a thing about 6 inches."
- Saving the World - subverted: he isn't intending on doing so, it's a consequence of his selfish desire for the idol as much as his dislike for Nazis (and his mother).
- Too Dumb to Live - taking off for a flight around an island without checking the fuel pump.
- What the Hell, Hero? - Pam calls Archer out for wanting to shoot Ziegler as being "chicken shit".
- Action Girl - parachuting, shooting lizards and being a general
- Beware the Nice Ones - not to be messed around.
- Idiot Ball - telling Malory about the idol in ep 3 drives the plot for the rest of the season.
- True Companions - subverted and inverted with Archer.
- Big Bad
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler
- Nazi Occultism
- Kick the Dog - shot troop in the head.
- Moral Event Horizon - Fuchs attempted rape of Charlotte; German shooting monkey.
- Deus Ex Machina - subverted in ep7: the widow maker is a kind of deus ex machina; as well as played straight with the Mech.
- Lame Pun - Ziegler/brick-layer.
- Meaningful Name - subverted: the regular mispronunciation of Fuchs/Fooks as Fucks is played for laughs.
- World Domination - a Nazi habit.
- Villainous Breakdown and descent into a drug-fueled frenzy.
- Damsel in Distress - seduced by Archer, abandoned by her husband and preyed upon by Malory.
- Damsel Scrappy - who will save her from herself?
- A God I Am - inverted: instead of believing *herself* to be a goddess, she is *mistaken* for a goddess by the natives. She sees no need to disabuse them of the notion and revels in her deification.
- Break The Cutie - subverted as Charlotte is neither sweet nor lovable, but she is a cutie who gets broken down and exploited
- Cloudcuckoolander - always asking for oysters.
- Rule of Cool - awesome tracking skills.
- Captain Obvious
- Genre Savvy - wants to check to see if Fuchs is dead; petroglyphs.
- Hand Wave - subverted: no explanation for how his hand was eaten but not the rest of him.
- Everything's Better With Princesses - inverted as her being a princess doesn't improve the story.
- Too Dumb To Live - sleeps with Fuchs, gives him idol (without taking payment), thinks Dutch masters are just cigars etc.
- A God I Am - subverted: Lanaluakalani's huge ego is quick to assume the natives think her to be a goddess, but it is Charlotte that they worship.
- Deadpan Snarker - her default state across the entire show, brought to the fore again with competition from Crackers and Charlotte.
- Rule of Cool - taking out the mortar guns, walking around a battle ground drinking.
- Damsel in Distress/Dude in Distress - subverted when he is placed in a barrel and left with no-one helping him.
This is one person's attempt to analyse Danger Island and is by definition limited. It is possible to be expanded at a later date, if the author feels it necessary. If others wish to provide their own interpretation and analysis, this is welcomed via the creation of additional sub-pages.
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