Spy show ‘Archer’ drops ‘ISIS’ acronym
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Spy show ‘Archer’ drops ‘ISIS’ acronym

Animated comedy series quietly eliminates acronym of espionage organization from its sixth season

Screenshot from YouTube video report on the show's elimination of 'ISIS' as the name of the spy organization. (photo credit: screenshot/MundaneMatt)
Screenshot from YouTube video report on the show's elimination of 'ISIS' as the name of the spy organization. (photo credit: screenshot/MundaneMatt)

The animated spy series Archer has dropped “ISIS” as the name of the spy organization in the show’s sixth season, which runs on the FX network, executives said Monday.

In the series, “ISIS” stand for International Secret Intelligence Service, but in light of recent events — wherein a vicious, bloodthirsty jihadist organization with a penchant for mass murder, beheadings and sexual enslavement of non-Sunni girls and women, has seized large swaths in Iraq and Syria goes by the name of ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or Islamic State for short) — the show’s producers decided to eliminate the acronym.

“We quietly did,” creator Adam Reed told The Daily Beast. “We were waiting for it to go away — at least I was. Back in Season 5, FX said, ‘This might be a thing,’ and I thought, ‘Maybe it won’t be? Maybe it’ll be the mole that I’m gonna ignore and nothing will happen.’ We got sort of lucky and could organically make a merger with the CIA, so we went back and retroactively painted out the ISIS logos in parts of the show, and we just don’t talk about it in dialogue.

“We won’t say ‘ISIS’ anymore, and the only visual representation of it will be that sign rolling off the show,” said executive producer Matt Thompson. “It’s just the most awful thing, and we didn’t want to have anything to do with it. There were people online saying that we should address it and say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe these guys have co-opted our name.’ That’s the way South Park would do it, coming after them and saying, ‘These assholes stole our name,’ but that’s not the way the Archer universe works, where it’s all our own creations. In our universe, they don’t exist.”

The show did not retroactively erase the name from seasons 1 through 5, and is stuck with merchandise bearing the name.

The main actress in the show, Jessica Walter, said she owned an ISIS cup. “The other day, I was looking at it and thought, ‘Should I throw it out? But it reminds me of Archer.’”

And creator Adam Reed related that “I gave my Dad one of the ISIS hats and he said, ‘You know son, I’m not going to be able to wear the hat anymore; I’m gettin’ looks at the hardware store.’”

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