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Hide your wives, your daughters and (most importantly) every single drop of booze, because Archer is coming back this week for Season 6, and he cannot be stopped! Of course, he was almost stopped for an entire season, in a sense, as creator and writer Adam Reed originally intended to ship the super spy and his team of muddling miscreants off to prison for at least part of this season. But it ended up sounding just a little bit too much like that other critically acclaimed series about people in jail, Orange is the New Black.

For Season 5, known as Archer: Vice, the squad took a year off of clandestine spy work to attempt to sell a vast amount of cocaine, which went about as well as viewers would expect. It was these crimes, as opposed to the plethora of other wrongdoings Archer (and particularly Krieger) are guilty of, that would have landed them behind bars. Here’s how Reed put it in an interview with EW.
It was an offhand comment by someone. We sat down and talked about it and were laughing about it, and instantly story ideas were spilling out. Then some wet blanket said, ‘Well, you know, it’s going to seem like we’re ripping off Orange Is the New Black. It just sucked all the air out of the room.”

My head is about to explode – phrasing! – with all of the comedic opportunities missed by keeping Archer out of the big house. We could have had some courtroom drama, some great prison guard characters, and you just know Ray would have had a blast in an environment where male nudity was around every corner. Perhaps Pam, too, for the same reason.

Can you imagine if Orange is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan had given up on creating the show because someone had said, “Well, it’ll just look like you’re ripping off Oz.” That would mean the world would have never gotten to know Poussey and Crazy Eyes! But, by extension, it also means no one would have stood in the way of Archer: Max Security (or whatever) from existing. I guess we should all say what we really want here, which is for Sterling Archer to actual joining the cast of Orange is the New Black. I’m not saying it needs to be canon for both series or anything; I could easily make do with a crossover webseries.

If you head over to EW, you can find an awesome mocked-up image created by Archer animators to give fans a hint as to what a jailbound Archer might have looked like. Prison movie references galore!

Be sure and tune in to FX on Thursday, January 8 for Archer’s Season 6 adventures. Maybe Season 7 will take place inside of a bar in Boston. That hasn’t been done before, right?