|Cheryl R Tunt|
|First appearance||"Mole Hunt"|
|Created by||Adam Reed|
|Portrayed by||Judy Greer (speaking)
Jessy Lynn Martens (singing, Archer Vice)
Cherlene (country artist name)
|Occupation||Secretary for the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS)|
|Family||Cecil Tunt (brother)|
|Significant other(s)||Sterling Archer (prior to series)|
Cheryl Tunt is a fictional main character from the animated television series Archer. Cheryl, a secretary for Malory Archer, collaborates with seven other field operatives of the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), an illegal intelligence agency headquartered in New York City. Judy Greer provides the speaking voice for the character, who first appeared in the series' pilot episode "Mole Hunt" on January 17, 2010, and starting with season 5, Jessy Lynn Martens provides the singing voice for the character when she turns into country star Cherlene. Conceived and devised by Archer creator Adam Reed, Cheryl was initially intended to serve only as a minor character for the series.
A descendant of the wealthy Tunt family, Cheryl is introduced as a clingy and emotionally fragile individual. Early on she is intermittently referred to as "Carol" by her coworkers (a premise which becomes one of the shows' longest running jokes) as they are initially dismissive of her somewhat morbid behavior and neglectful of her presence. As the series progresses, the character abandons her lugubrious traits and embraces a more sadistic and maniacal personality. Cheryl is often sexually aroused from being choked and enjoys sniffing and drinking rubber cement. She possesses a ditzy demeanor, which often interferes with her work ethic. An array of descriptions have been established for the character by critics, mainly her "incompetent" and "insane" tendencies. Throughout the series' run, the character has been applauded by television commentators, as has Greer's voice work, which has resulted in the actress being nominated for an Annie Award in the category of Voice Acting in a Television Production.
Arc and personality
Cheryl Tunt is introduced in the Archer pilot episode, "Mole Hunt", as the secretary for Malory Archer (Jessica Walter). Following the abrupt ending of her relationship with Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), Cheryl attempts to manipulate Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) into cheating on companion Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), for whom she has great disdain. Cyril, who inevitably sustains emotional distress from Lana's dominant antics, succumbs to Cheryl's sexual desires after becoming suspicious of his girlfriend's interactions with Archer. Paranoid that Lana may find out about his affair, Cyril attempts to distance himself from Cheryl, much to her dismay. She threatens to notify Lana of their affair—after having sex with Cyril, Cheryl reveals to Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) that her actual intention was to acquire Archer's attention, as she thought that having a connection with Cyril would spark feelings of jealousy. Though Lana catches Cyril cheating on her with Framboise, the former head of HR at the Organization of Democratic Intelligence Networks (ODIN), Cheryl confesses of their affair to her, subsequently adding more tension to their rivalry.
As an heir to the wealth of the Tunt family—who were trailblazers in the railroad industry—Cheryl is often subjected to numerous threats and kidnappings. As a result of her parents' death, she and her brother, Cecil Tunt, inherit an estimated US$1 billion in trust funds; it is split evenly amongst each party, which culminated with Cheryl's net worth increasing tenfold. This prompts a group of robbers to cultivate a plan to abduct her, which ultimately fails as they mistake Pam for her. In that same episode, it is also revealed that she owns an ocelot named Babou, for which Archer develops a fondness (this is a comedic reference to Salvador Dalí, who really did have a pet ocelot by that name with whom he frequently traveled.) Cecil later tricks ISIS into a mission with the intent to videotape members talking of Cheryl's insanity so he can get control of her half of the fortune. It turns out Cecil has spent all of his half of the fortune on various charities, including an undersea base whose insane leader used the funds to buy nerve gas missiles.
Cheryl is introduced as an emotionally fragile woman, who pines for the affection of Archer. As the series began to progress, the character abandons her depressive characteristics and adopts a more maniacal and unstable personality. "It was really fun to see her evolve," Greer asserted, "and I think [Archer creator Adam Reed] and I always had fun recording together. I'm so thankful that it got so crazy and turned so upside down, and how nuts this character is. It's so fun." Her instability has regularly resulted in Cheryl being sent into mental institutions. She is often sexually aroused from being choked. Commentators have described Cheryl as "incompetent", "insane", "glue-chugging", and "empty-headed". Throughout much of the first season, the character frequently developed aliases for herself to acquiesce to her coworkers; these aliases include Cristal, an homage to the alcoholic beverage of the same name, and Carina, which she professed "better captured [her] sensual womanhood".
My interpretation is that she isn’t trying to keep the secret. That she doesn’t care. She changed her last name to avoid getting kidnapped, but really, if anyone figured it out and asked her, she’d just probably be like “Yeah, shut up!” or whatever. I feel like everyone at ISIS is so self-involved and so concerned with furthering their own agenda that it would never occur to them to think that anyone else has anything else going on.
After ISIS has gone bankrupt in the fifth season, Cheryl realizes her dream of becoming a country music superstar under the artist name "Cherlene", after Dr. Krieger first cures her stage fright by injecting her with a microscopic mind control chip in the fifth episode ("House Call"). Music performed by Cherlene in the show is sung by Jessy Lynn Martens and produced by among others Kevn Kinney of Drivin N Cryin. The network also released a 12-track album named "Cherlene" featuring country songs from the show, including a country cover of Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone".
Producers recruited actress Judy Greer to provide the role of Cheryl Tunt. Greer, despite auditioning for various advertisements, was unable to breakout as a prominent voice actress for animated television. While in Los Angeles, California, Greer met casting director Linda Lamontagne, who lent her roles in television shows such as Family Guy and Glenn Martin, DDS—the actress ascribes the interest from Archer producers to her work in the latter series. "She was kind of relentless with them, saying 'Use her, use her.' I read for many different roles and then finally they cast me."
Greer was notified of the position by her agent while shooting for a separate film. "I'd been trying to get into voiceovers," she explained, "so they called and said it was a pilot they were doing for FX, and I could record the part on my day off in 10 minutes." The actress read the script and recorded her lines at a recording studio in Phoenix, Arizona; upon first glance, Greer suggested that the raunchy and risque nature of the script would prevent any television stations from picking up the series. "So when I found out it was picked up, I was like, 'Oh! Wait, I don't know what you're talking about.' They said, 'Remember that thing?' And I went, 'Really?' So then I recorded a bunch of them, and the scripts were the funniest scripts that I've ever read, and so crazy."
Prior to Greer's casting, Cheryl was initially intended to merely be a secondary character for Archer, and serve as a central figure in a proposed pregnancy angle. "It was going to be a running gag that Archer kept impregnating Malory’s secretaries," remarked Reed, "Whenever it happened, they would gas them with sleeping gas and just leave them on the steps at Bellevue Hospital with no ID or memory of what just happened. But when Judy agreed to do the show, Cheryl became a much more important character."
Television critics have commended the development of Cheryl, as well as Greer's portrayal of the character. HitFix's Alan Sepinwall declared that Cheryl was his favorite character on the show. In his review for "El Secuestro", Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club felt that Greer's vocals were the highlight of the episode, and affirmed that she effectively portrayed the unstable characteristics of Cheryl. "Greer is mostly just asked to say crazy things as Cheryl, and that’s fun, but she steps it up here, playing both Cheryl’s insanity and the part of her that’s a spoiled trust-fund kid who’s found a day job and has to ride the subway with a dwarf that freaks her out." Likewise, Ian MacDonald of TV Overmind proclaimed that the writers "found a great way to expand on ISIS' most emotionally unstable employees"; "Cheryl, whose crazy has been escalated to an almost extreme," MacDonald stated, "seems almost justified in her maladjusted-ness. She's a billionaire heiress who owns an ocelot and drinks glue [...]. Humor involving insane rich people just no[t] getting it is usually pretty funny, and if anyone can pull it off, it's Adam Reed and [Judy] Greer." Alongside fellow cast members Jessica Walter and H. Jon Benjamin, Greer was a candidate for an Annie Award in the category of Voice Acting in a Television Production—the award was given to Jeff Bennett for his work in the Nickelodeon television series The Penguins of Madagascar.
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