Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
It didn’t take long after the first season of ARCHER for audiences to fall in love with Pam Poovey, the human resources director for the hilariously inept spy agency formerly known as ISIS. Initially, it seemed like Pam was destined to be a human punching bag, nothing more than a character for others to constantly bash.
But thanks to Amber Nash, the voice of Pam, this character was expanded and has become a bare knuckle boxer, a drift racer, and even a cocaine addict that never snorted the drug, just ate it via various foods.
In real life, however, Amber is nothing like Pam. Society should be quite thankful for that. Amber is quite funny and personable, so we should all be thankful for that as well! Here are the highlights from a chat we had recently. We covered Pam’s talking with her mouth full, explaining sex terminology to Jessica Walter, and what to do with your ARCHER ISIS gear.
One of the things that fascinates me is Pam’s eating. Do you know that you’re going to need to eat ahead of time?
Amber Nash: “Sometimes. We get the scripts usually two or three days before we record. Like last season, in every episode I was eating because I was eating cocaine. Usually I can tell if they are going to make me eat something. Usually they’ll forget, so we have to steal something from the engineer. Sometimes I know, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I try to get away with chewing on a pencil or an ink pen and then they say, ‘No, it works better with a mouthful of food.'”
I was hoping you didn’t walk into the studio and see a dozen doughnuts and say, “Well, I guess Pam is eating again.” I read a big Reddit interview you did, but I don’t understand Reddit really.
Nash: “Yeah, I don’t really get it, my husband is really into it. They are really serious about their etiquette and being a good user and I worry that I’m such a sham.”
Yeah, then if you screw up they bully you! Like immediately. I did read that the voice you use for Pam is the voice you use when you’re talking for your Mom with friends. Is that where you came up with her voice?
Nash: “Yeah, usually Adam [Reed (ARCHER creator)] wants a pretty standard, just your voice stuff because a lot of times when you do a character voice it’s too hard to maintain it over the years and through session to session. Especially when you go on a break, especially after season one when we came back for season two, I thought ‘Oh God, what does she sound like?’ I felt like the farther in to season two you go, she sounds less like Pam. The first time I saw Pam’s head, what she looks like, it was just the voice that came out.”
Does that make it a little weird saying what you have to say?
Nash: “Not any more. Now it’s just so Pam.”
I also read that Jessica Walters once said “holy sh-tcakes” to you. Is that true?
Nash: “Yes she did! She was trying to talk to me about an episode and Pam and she said ‘holy sh-tcakes.’ I was like man, that’s hilarious. I think sh-tcakes is even funnier than sh-tsnacks.”
How have they not had her say that on the show at this point?
Nash: “I don’t know if I told Adam that story, because now we’ll have to be saying sh-tcakes.”
The Reddit community would appreciate it. They’ll have an inside joke and a bigger, inflated ego than they already have.
I’ve seen the first six episodes-
Nash: “You’ve seen the first six? I haven’t seen them yet!”
Yeah [Laughs]. It seems like Sterling Archer goes on a tour of other character’s lives and in season six, he agrees to be Pam’s date to her sister’s wedding. It seems like everyone is really mean to her, but when she needs help, everyone is willing to help her out.
Nash: “I think after the first season, Adam started to write the characters with the actors in mind. He realized there was some great potential in Pam doing all the crazy sh-t that she can do and what a badass she is and everyone on the show realizes it and they need her to do all these things that they can’t. I think over the years that Adam has developed and latched on to the fact that Pam is crazy as sh-t and there’s nothing she can’t do. It’s been really fun to watch her develop. Y’know, when I got the first character description, it’s where I got the idea that she’s a ‘sturdy bisexual’ and the human resources person that everyone hates.”
Pam is the worst human resources person ever. Of all the H.R. offenses you can commit, she commits them.
Nash: “She’s the worst employee there.”
There are references on the show that send me to Wikipedia, like Judge Crater or Cyril on a tank with “Figgis” written in tape on his helmet. Are there references that you have to make that you don’t even get?
Nash: “It’s one of the magical things about Adam Reed. You mentioned earlier that the show is really lewd and it is, it’s a really dirty show, but it’s such a smart show. The show really earns the dirtiness because there are so many things that happen that you’re like, ‘What was that?’ At first, I was a little embarrassed there was stuff I didn’t know and I pretended that I know what this thing is. But then I’m like, oh, Adam is ridiculously smart with these crazy references and most people don’t get it so I’m okay with it. Most of the time, Pam doesn’t say things that are that deep cut so I don’t have to worry about it.
But one of the funniest things is that I always hear stories from Adam that there are things Jessica has to say that are mostly dirty sexual things and she has no idea what they are so they have to explain it to her.”
That has to be more uncomfortable than what she’s actually saying.
Nash: “Yeah, but she’s so cool that she just says ‘Oh, these weird kids.'”
One of the best things about the show is that it is so serialized. There are all sorts of references to previous seasons that if you just started watching, you’d be completely lost.
Nash: “That’s one of the best things about it, you really need to know what’s going on in this universe. I meet people at Cons and stuff that know so much more about the show than I do. There’s things when I say, ‘Guys, I don’t even remember what happens in season one.’ I watch the show when it comes on and I sometimes watch the press screeners. I don’t usually watch it again unless there’s a re-run on and I just happen to be watching TV. So there are things that I totally don’t even remember, but there are people that have every single piece of information from the show; it’s amazing.”
The last thing I wanted to ask is if you know what I can do with my ISIS t-shirt. I can’t wear it in public anymore because it’s been ruined by bad people.
Nash: “I know! I didn’t even think about the t-shirts and stuff.”
Thanks for talking with me, I’ll go ahead and put the screener on Reddit so you can illegally download it and watch them all.
Nash: “Nooooo! I did want to ask you one question though, what does Pam’s sister Ede look like?”
She pretty much just looks like Pam but she’s a brunette.
Nash: “Oh good. I was hoping she wasn’t the Hanna Barbara version of Pam but with dark hair.”
Season six of ARCHER premieres this Thursday, Jan. 8 at 10 p.m. only on FX.
Feature Photo: Season six logo of ARCHER. Photo courtesy of FX Networks.