The Math Humor of Archer
Archer is an animated comedy series about a spy agency. I shamelessly admit that I am a devoted fan.
The show’s protagonist, Sterling Archer, is a pompous, egocentric misogynist created in the image of James Bond. But don’t expect high-level humor or martinis that are shaken, not stirred. Instead, Archer offers off-color wit and binge drinking, with Sterling delivering such lines as,
Lying is like 95% of what I do.
Wait, does Vermont have liquor stores? It has to. It sucks there.
Who can blame you if you find it surprising that I would appreciate such low-brow humor? Especially given the prurient nature of material that I regularly offer on this blog.
Did you hear about the constipated mathematician?
He worked it out with a pencil.
What kind of pencil?
A #2 pencil, of course.
But the show also occasionally includes a math reference, like this one.
Who am I, Alan Turing? He was also in X-Men, remember?
Don’t blame me. I never said that the math references were used correctly.
In Season 2, Episode 5 (“The Double Deuce”), it appears that Archer has difficulty with measurement conversions…
Sterling Archer: “So, how much are we talking here?”
Woodhouse: “Oh, nearly 1,200 pounds.”
Sterling Archer: “What?! Nobody is getting killed over… however much that is in real money.”
But then in Season 4, Episode 12 (“Sea Tunt, Part 1”), he demonstrates an uncanny ability to convert between measurements…
Malory Archer (pointing to a map): The bomb is on the ocean floor here at a depth of 8,000 feet.
Sterling Archer: Or 1,333 fathoms.
Lana Kane: How do you know that?
Sterling Archer: How do you not?
A little later, Sterling remarks that the distance is 0.43 leagues below the surface.
So the show isn’t completely devoid of intellectual content. Just mostly.
Why did the spy hide inside a math book.
Because it was under cover.
I know. Painful. This one any better?
A young woman was having trouble finding a post-doc after getting her doctorate in math, so she applied for a job as a spy. At the interview, she was given a sealed envelope with confidential information. She was told that she shouldn’t open the envelope under any circumstances, and she should deliver it to the fourth floor immediately. She left the interview room and, unable to control herself, she opened the envelope. Inside, a message read, “Well done! You’re the kind of person we’re looking floor. Report to the seventh floor.”