Archer is one of the funniest animated shows on television and deserves every bit of fandom it gets. With that fandom comes a big following of people who don’t just watch the show, but have some pretty good ideas about its secrets. Theories like the mystery of Archer’s father, if he even has one, and the world of the show (did Kennedy ever get shot?) have been addressed by fans on Reddit and elsewhere. Thanks to these diligent fans, there are lots of theories about Archer that just might explain everything.
Below you will find some of the best Archer fan theories to consider and debunk. You’ll have to decide for yourself which ones could be validated in future seasons of the show and which ones don’t hold up.
The Main Cast Represent The Seven Deadly Sins
Redditor always_absent thinks each main character represents one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Sterling represents Pride given his constant boasting and desire to be above everyone else. Cyril’s sex addiction paints him as Lust. Cheryl is Sloth given her reluctance to do anything and being a bored socialite. Ray represents Envy as he express jealousy at not being team leader in most spy missions… also he envies everyone else’s use of their natural legs. Pam is a Glutton based on her eating something in almost every episode. Lana is Wrath given her high temper and anger at her coworkers. Malory is Greed due to her constantly being concerned about wealth to the point that she wanted to steal an atomic bomb and ransom it back to the U.S. government.
Cyril Always Knew ISIS Was A Fraudulent Spy Network
Cyril always knew ISIS was a fraudulent spy agency, according to Redditor HarlequinWasTaken. Being an accountant and lawyer, Cyril had access to ISIS financial information and knew what laws he’d be able to skirt by and loopholes to use to keep the company running. This is why he had a minimal reaction when ISIS was outed as an illegitimate agency by the FBI at the start of season five.
ISIS Is Broke Thanks to an Amazing Healthcare Plan
Ever wonder why ISIS was always strapped for cash from Season 2 onward? Tmotty on Reddit found out why: the amazing healthcare plan.
When Malory was incapcitated during the season 1 episode, “Training Day,” Pam and Cheryl rewrote the ISIS healthcare plan to have a $0 co-pay and a $0 deductible. With all the on-the-job injuries that ISIS members incur due to missions or random attacks (especially to Brett, the bullet sponge), it’s no wonder that the company is broke. They keep footing 100% of all the medical bills.
Archer’s Codename Is Actually His Mother’s
Sterling’s code name, “Duchess,” is one of the many reasons why he openly resents his mother. But is his anger misplaced?
Redditor IAmBirdPerson believes that Sterling’s code name of “Duchess” isn’t because of Malory’s dog, but because it was Malory’s old code name when she was spy for the OSS. This theory holds some weight since Malory is determined to leave a legacy. After all, Sterling’s middle name is Malory and Ms. Archer consistently hounds Lana to add “Malory” to baby AJ’s name. The name “Duchess” is already legendary within the espionage community, so why not give her son that mantle so it can live on?
Archer Takes Place in a World Where JFK Was Never Shot
Archer fan Dan Whitley shared this theory on his blog that argues the show takes place in a world where John F. Kennedy didn’t die and served eight years as President of the United States. He goes on to further explain why the show has such anachronistic elements, such as old computers mixed in with cell phones along with the existence of agencies like ISIS and ODIN. The idea is basically that the Cold War never ended and it hindered some progress.
Sterling Has Asperger’s Syndrome
Redditor cif3141 believes Archer’s behavior is due to Asperger’s Syndrome. This not only explains Archer’s inability to read certain social situations and emotional outbursts, but also Archer’s hidden genius. Sterling is an avid reader, as you know since the show has lots of literary references, so this affliction can explain his literary memory. This can also explain Archer’s highly efficient spying skills despite his lack of proficiency in other areas.
That or he’s just an assh*le. A very smart, proficient assh*le.
Krieger Is Archer’s Best Friend
Wait, Dr. Krieger? The creepy scientist is Sterling’s best friend? According to Redditor Stunsthename, the two are best pals and with good reason.
Out of the entire cast, Archer is less antagonistic to Krieger than the others. That’s because Krieger was responsible for the sweet spy car Archer got on his birthday and brought back Archer’s dead wife, among other acts of kindness. While we don’t always see them hanging out, Stunsthename argues that they probably get along quite well when they aren’t at work.
Cheryl Is Crazy in Love with Archer
Ever wonder why Cheryl acts so crazy and why she works at ISIS despite being a billionaire? Redditor jerkinmylurkin knows why.
Cheryl is crazy and in love with Sterling Archer. I mean, she slept with men Archer hates like Conway, Cyril, and Barry. Could it be Cheryl’s twisted attempt at making Archer jealous? This could also be a reason why Cheryl is fascinated with including violent play during sex, since she knows Sterling is a killing machine. On top of that, during the show’s silhouetted intro, Cheryl’s silhouette is accompanied by a broken heart, indicating that it may have come from the show’s namesake and protagonist.
Malory Adopted Krieger
Why Malory was such an absentee mother to Sterling? Redditor gorillaPete thinks that Malory Archer wasn’t going on missions, she was raising her adopted son, Krieger!
Malory killed Krieger’s family when he was 15 and raised him as her own, away from Sterling so there wouldn’t be any family friction or uncomfortable questions. This explains why Malory took Krieger with her to see The Wiz on Broadway. She was bonding with her adopted son.
Woodhouse Has Cut and Run
While in real life, Woodhouse’s voice actor, George Coe, passed away, the show has yet to explain where the character disappeared to. Even Archer doesn’t know where he went.
Redditor theshadykoala gives Woodhouse a happy ending. In the episode involving Woodhouse’s tontine, Sterling casually mentions that he would kill Woodhouse for a million dollars. Archer also inquired about Woodhouse’s “will situation.” It could be that between seasons Woodhouse found out that he was the last surviving member of the tontine agreement, took the fortune, and fled before Archer could find out.
Sterling Is a Government Experiment
Piggybacking off of the “Archer Has No Father” theory, Redditor grambocrackah thinks Sterling is actually a U.S. government case study to monitor the progress of a genetically-engineered human. Again, this explain’s Archer’s near-superhuman durability and expert proficiency at all things spy-related.
Woodhouse Is Actually Sterling’s Father
This theory is so plausible that even Archer’s voice actor H. Jon Benjamin believes it. We know that on the show that Woodhouse helped Malory give birth to Archer, so it isn’t out of the question that he would also be responsible for Sterling’s conception. It would also explain why Woodhouse was so dedicated to Archer when a man of Woodhouse’s skills probably wouldn’t resort to being a nanny turned butler, especially to a spoiled brat like Archer.
Archer Knows He’s Starring on a TV Show
Wonder why Sterling Archer breaks the fourth wall more than usual in Season 5? Redditor nmp12 thinks it’s because Archer knows he’s on a TV show – and no one else does.
Why do you think he runs into danger so candidly and so often? He knows he’s a cartoon. No matter how many times he’s shot, stabbed, or in mortal danger, he secretly knows that aside from the pain, he’ll turn out okay. He always wins.
Boris, The Real KGB Mastermind
Lorican_DM, from Reddit, believes the true mastermind behind the KGB is the lowly – and often simple-minded – Boris.
Boris does actually showcase his intelligence at various times, correcting coworkers and even his superiors. He is also linked to the numerous cyborg characters such as Barry and Katya. He bears a striking resemblance to ISIS’s elevator repair man, too. Has he been pulling the KGB strings all this time and spying on ISIS in an offensive disguise?
Archer Has No Birth Father
One of ongoing mysteries of Archer is the question of who is Sterling Archer’s father? Well, fneff379 on Reddit has the answer: no one.
The Redditor believes that Malory went to the doctors that created Krieger to engineer sperm to impregnate her with Sterling. This would explain Malory’s difficulty in explaining the identity of Sterling’s father. It also explains why Sterling is so durable after multiple gunshot wounds and stabbings: he was manufactured.
Archer’s Entire Spy Career Is Fabricated
Redditor randrews thinks Archer is pretty much The Truman Show.
ISIS, Sterling’s career, and all of it are made up and staged by Malory Archer. The theory is that when Sterling’s lacrosse days were cut short by an attacker, he wanted to become a world-famous spy. That’s when mommy stepped in.
While Malory is an accomplished spy in her own right, she set up ISIS and made up missions in order for her son to get the James Bond-fantasy life he wanted. It explains why over time the other members of ISIS wonder if they’re actually accomplishing anything and why/how a private espionage agency is legal. Answer: it’s not. That’s why the FBI finally raided them in Season 5.
Archer’s Father Is Buddy Rich
This theory is one of the more “out there” ones, but burgov VI believes that Archer’s father is jazz drummer Buddy Rich. The theory is that Malory can’t remember Rich’s name and has a distaste for jazz as a means of coping from whatever torrid affair she had with Buddy Rich. Plus, Archer enjoys using the alias “Randy Randerson” for reasons that haven’t been explained. Buddy Rich’s real name is Bernard Rich. If you rearrange the last six letters in “Bernard” you can spell “Rander.” The son of “Rander” is “Randerson.” This theory is a bit too complicated to swallow, but then again Archer is a complicated show.