There is an Archer marathon going on in my living room. For those of you not familiar, Archer is a politically incorrect cartoon on the FX network featuring a not too bright playboy type spy who works for an intelligence agency his iron-handed mom runs. There is his play girl counterpart who has brains as well as a rockin’ figure, a handicapped gay man, an over sexed, large, drug addicted woman, and a scientist in love with a hologram and that i9s pretty much Archer.
Here is the thing though – as stereotypical the characters may be, they are witty and engaging. In the episode currently on, Archer is trying to communicate to a group of pirates who understand little English without using idioms. (An idiom is a combination of words that has a figurative meaning owing to its common usage such as “pulling my leg” or “drop me a line.”)
How many times do we use idioms to explain a situation or describe a feeling? Oxford English Dictionary contains over 171,476 words with full definitions. There are another 50,000 with particle definitions. Could there be better word choices then just the 5,000 or so a particular person tends to rely on?
Archer does manage to get his point across with an interpreter yet he is coached to only use literal meanings for every word or phrase he uses.
Could you imagine that?
If we all just said what we wanted, and political correctness became obsolete, what a better world we would live in. That is the thing that makes Archer so funny. He is so oblivious about his word choices that he says exactly what he is thinking without a filter.
A simply snow day turned into an English lesson about idioms and word choices.
Thank you, Archer.