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S12E06-McGinley-Archer phrasing

McGinley teaches Archer "phrasing."

One of Archer's favorite phrases, 'phrasing', draws attention to his ability to only hear the innuendo in a speech of others. It becomes a running gag variously picked up by other characters until eventually being dropped when people 'take it for granted'. It becomes a meta-gag when Archer incredulously cries "are we seriously not doing phrasing anymore?!" This page attempts to catalog its appearance, (hey?) probe its uses and variations (hey!) as well as its eventual disappearance and attempted re-insertion (hey! Phrasing!). In season 10, "space phrasing" is commonplace.

In "Dingo, Baby, Et Cetera", it's revealed that Archer learned the term from his mentor, McGinley.

For further analysis, see here.


  • Killing Utne (s1e4) - Archer (first appearance)
  • The Rock (s1e8) - Archer
  • Double Trouble (s2e13) - Archer
  • Heart of Archness: Part III (s3e3):
    • When Rip says to Lana "Don't get me wrong, I like your spunk", even with a hoarse throat and lying on the ground, Archer manages to utter it.
    • Archer says it to Ray when he mentions the happy ending of the episode being "a fairytale".
  • Bloody Ferlin (s3e9) - Archer says it to Ray in response to "I'm coming out!"
  • Fugue and Riffs (s4e1) - Pam
  • Bort the Garj (s10e1) - Malory "let's pick the bones" (of the destroyed ship), Archer "when Barry 6 starts yanking my bones".
  • Robert De Niro (s10e9) - After Barry 6 comments on the breach in the MV Seamus' hull as a nice gash, one of the Dri'n pirates says "phrasing" in his native tongue.
  • Best Friends (s11e5) - Krieger says it in response to Aleister saying to Malory "It would be my pleasure to clean out your refrigerator Mom."
  • Identity Crisis (s12e1) - Archer as Lana indicates it's hard to talk about her relationship problems with Robert.
  • London Time (s12e3) - Lana says it when recalling a time in her and Archer's early relationship when they had sex 6 times during a mission.

Notable Occurrences[]

  • Skin Game (s3e11) - Archer says it to himself, after saying "Oh Barry. I'm coming for you.  Phrasing... boom!"
  • Fugue and Riffs (s4e1) - Pam says "Phrasing, first, boom!"
    • Noting that she is the first to use "phrasing" in season 4, Pam breaks the fourth wall.
  • Viscous Coupling (s4e5) - Katya says "Yes my dear Sterling, come for me. Phrasing, boom!"
    • Barry says later on "So tell Archer I'm coming for him - phrasing, boom! - and both Barry's out."
  • The Honeymooners (s4e9) - Archer yells "I'm coming, phrasing, boom!" as he leaps from the side of The Tuntmore Towers Hotel to rescue a falling Lana.
    • Averted by Archer when instead of saying it in response to Lana's "I'm coming Cyril!" he says, "Lana, wait: bet that is the first time you've ever said that. Right?"
  • Sea Tunt: Part II (s4e13) - Before nearly drowning, Archer says "Lana - you're gonna be a mom! Just promise me you'll be a better one than mine..." After a cutaway to Malory, she replies "Archer - that shouldn't be that hard." To which Archer, classically responds "Ph-ph-phrasing" whilst taking in water. Lana then says "OK, here it comes. You've just gotta relax and let it go in your mouth." Archer, gurgling with water at this point, gargles the magic word, "Phrasing" before movingly telling Lana he loves her.
    • This is a particularly notably double usage, and a moving shared moment between Archer and Lana.

Archer teaches Poko "phrasing" in ASL.

  • Photo Op (s12e4) - Archer teaches Poko the gorilla how to say phrasing in ASL.
  • Dingo, Baby, Et Cetera (s12e6) - After Archer asks Reiko how hard she'll think about going out with him, McGinley says "phrasing, delightful."


Post / Meta-Phrasing[]

"Guys, we really need to talk about getting phrasing back in the rotation."
  • Motherless Child (s7e4) - Lana prompts Archer to use it.
  • Motherless Child (s7e4) - After Archer says "So there were a couple of holes", Pam responds before being interrupted: "Wait! Are we doing... ?"

HighComs (talk) 18:19, May 8, 2019 (UTC)