Is it murder if they were my own clones? Because I’m seriously asking.”
On FX’s Archer, Dr. Algernop Krieger — who is neither a medical doctor nor “the other kind” — has crossed many lines. Over the show’s seven seasons, the endearingly and earnestly mad scientist, voiced by the endearingly and earnestly mad Lucky Yates, has drugged his friends, turned his colleagues into cyborgs, and programmed a virtual Japanese girlfriend, Mitsuko. He may or may not have had sex with a radioactive pig. But, he argues, it’s all in the name of science.
Yates isn’t always down with Krieger’s behavior, but the comedian and puppeteer, who admits to a healthy interest in “weird science,” can get behind his character’s urge to push the limits of scientific exploration. “Why not?” he posited to Inverse. Here, he discusses why Krieger can’t be Hitler’s genetic clone, Mitsuko’s potential internet takeover, and why we might soon all become “one porcine species.”
How much of Krieger’s research is in line with what you’re actually into?
All of it. But you know, I certainly don’t want killer cyborgs running around. But I think all of the ideas are super awesome. I say let’s keep tinkering. Why not create monsters? Except robots. I don’t want murderous robots. Because how do you stop a murderous robot? Or cyborg?
Maybe with clones.
See, cloning. Man. Give me clones because I want my spare parts. If there’s another me laying in a tank and he doesn’t know anything, who cares? That liver is going to be good for me in 20 years. Give me that liver!
That would count as murder, I think. But Krieger doesn’t really care about killing his clones, does he?
After that clone fight in Season Five, on San Marcos, and then one of them came up and was straightening his tie, only Adam and I know which one that was. Whether it was the Krieger we started out with or one of the three Kriegers we run into. But ultimately all the Kriegers are a clone, right? Even the one we started out with is some kind of weird clone. Who’s Krieger Prime, I think, is the greatest question for Krieger. Where does it all go back to?
Do we know, definitively, that he’s not a clone of Hitler?
He would look more like Hitler, if he was. I mean, he’s got to be a foot taller than that little shrimp. There haven’t been any one-testicle jokes on the show, so I’m assuming Krieger’s got both balls in the basket. He’s had sex with Cheryl, so she would know. What if Krieger has the third ball — what if he has the missing one? We never explored that.
Is there any scientific line even Krieger wouldn’t cross?
I think, depending on the situation, he would pretty much do anything. He sells out his pals a lot. He deals with enemies a lot. He’s crossed so many lines already. As long as it was for what he considers the right purposes, he’d cross any line. He doesn’t care.
What would you consider to be the crowning achievement of Krieger’s scientific research?
I’ve got to say [his virtual girlfriend] Mitsuko. He’s created a sentient being. I don’t know how she gets around. They don’t necessarily have a projector with them, like when they’re climbing stairs and she’s flying high above them. Making bionic people is awesome, but breaking completely new ground and making a tangible hologram is pretty amazing. One that you can have sex with.
Are there any abilities you’d like to see Mitsuko gain?
I mean, she already comes back after he kills her every night. The last time we saw her, she had the ability. Do I ever want her to become a real girl, like Pinocchio? No, I don’t. I would like to see her maybe be the queen of some cyber universe. I’m assuming, since she’s made of electronics and light, she might have direct access to the world of the interwebs. I think, in a super-nerdy world, she could potentially be the greatest supervillain of all time. That’s where my head goes.
Now, imagine if Mitsuko hacked into everything and started controlling shit. She’s got some anger going on. I could see her going supervillain very easily. Especially because we haven’t seen her yet this season — maybe she’s harboring some ill will. Don’t use your computers, kids. Mitsuko is watching.
Krieger’s interest in pigs echoes a lot of what’s going on in scientific research on transplants today. What’s your favorite incarnation of Pigley?
Pigley 3. The glowing green Pigley.
The one that maybe had sex with Krieger?
Oh man, I so don’t want Krieger to have had sex with a pig, but I can’t help but think that he did have sex with a pig. But that’s not why Pigley 3 is my favorite. I like that Pigley 3 is useful. Not only is he a fun green color and glows at night and can serve as a permanent nightlight, but he’s also great at digging up some dead bodies.
The line between pigs and humans is becoming increasingly blurred when it comes to transplants.
Yeah! I have a friend here in Atlanta who used to be a scientist making heart valves out of pig hearts. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all one porcine species. What if pigs were secretly taking over the planet? And it’s going to start with Fukushima? Or is it Chernobyl with all the glowing green pigs running around? There’s radioactive pigs running around already, somewhere. And I think it’s only a matter of time before we’re all pig people. Wouldn’t that be great? They’re super smart, and they can hold their own. If you go out wild pig hunting, it’s a dangerous thing because the pigs might turn on you.
In Krieger’s world, it’s either becoming pigs or becoming cyborgs.
I’d much rather stay a happy pig than go half-robot — that you could turn on and off at will. Poor Ray. I don’t trust mechanical parts that are designed and programmed by somebody else. Like, “Oh, now I’m murdering people and I have no control over what my body’s doing, it was just programmed this way.”
Was Krieger going to go through with turning Abbiejean into a cyborg?
Was he trying to build a robot that would grow, in the way that a human does? Started as an infant and keeps getting bigger as time goes on? I don’t know. But I will say, the world would probably be a lot more pleasant if babies were robots. Because then you could just turn them off. Oh, my baby’s freaking out. Let me get on my smart phone to my baby app and quiet him down for a minute, and then we can have our nice breakfast. Maybe Krieger was just trying to do society a favor. No more babies. Robots forever.
What science would you like to see incorporated into the show?
Giant robots. Always giant robots. That’s where I always go. I would like a Voltron-esque design where, you know, each one in the gang is piloting some separate robot, then they all come together to form a giant defender of the universe robot. I know, the show will never go in this direction, but I would like to think that’s Krieger’s end game. Either for destruction or for good.
[And,] let’s take this human-animal hybrid to the next level and make us some centaurs. They’re so weird! Life’s gotta be tough when you have the upper half of a dude or lady and you have a horse behind you. People try to ride on you and stuff.
Who would you like to see Krieger experiment on in the cast?
He should give Lana a hand reduction surgery. Like, if he could do a breast reduction, maybe he could do a hand reduction. Maybe just take a couple of those weird little middle bones out. Just save the poor lady. She’s so amazing but everyone just reduces her to being this large-handed woman.
Or, I think he also has a huge crush on Malory, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him give her some sort of age reduction serum so that she becomes even hotter. So that he can make time with her. And by make time, I mean have sex.
Are there any experiments you’d like to see Krieger try on himself?
He’d do something dumb, like give himself a pair of big bat wings so he could take his shirt off and do rock ‘n roll concerts with some wings. Maybe fly. They probably wouldn’t even be functioning, they couldn’t support his weight. It would be nothing but aesthetic. If he ever went full-tilt tinkering on himself, I think he’d do something really stupid like that. No good for anybody or anything. Why did you give yourself bat wings? Because he just thinks it’s cool. Just flapping around while ripping out some sweet tunes on the drums.