Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CPA saves the day

Today's column reviews "Andy Barker, P.I.," which is either debuting tomorrow night on NBC or already available in all six episodes on
Andy Barker works tough cases involving murder, arson and police corruption. Andy Barker gets into brawls and shoot-outs with bad guys. Andy Barker is a hero.

Andy Barker is also an accountant with an ample belly who won't stop using his turn signal just because he's in a car chase, and who asks you to pardon his French if he has to use the term "P.O.'ed."

And it's in that contrast between Andy's hard-boiled work and soft-boiled personality that Andy Richter, Conan O'Brien and Jonathan Groff hope to make you laugh at on "Andy Barker, P.I." Unfortunately, the idea's a little too thin to support a weekly sitcom. The show's funny in short bursts, but it would work better as a sketch on "Saturday Night Live" (where Conan wrote years ago) or even a random bit on Conan's talk show (where all three worked in the early days, Groff as head writer, Andy as the funnier-than-you-think sidekick).

To read the full review, click here.


dark tyler said...

Well, Jane Espenson (who has already been signed as a regular for BSG's season 4)) writes for this one, so I'll be watching. I am not familiar with Andy Richter's earlier work, though, so I have absolutely no idea what to expect. Not that it matters-- NBC seems to have already cancelled the thing.

By the way, now that The Black Donnellys didn't perform well (or at all), is there any chance it might be pulled in favor of the remaining Studio 60 episodes?

Alyssa said...

I wanted to love it more. We watched several episodes online and I thought it was funny enough for a Channel 101 show, but it didn't seem like a network show.

It could be that I'm used to watching something like 30 Rock now which is just dense with jokes.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dark Tyler, Espenson also wrote for "Jake in Progress," another comedy that was amusing in spots but not great as a whole.

Anonymous said...

I watched all the episodes online.

The pilot and the "The Lady Varnishes" episodes were the most amusing.

This is a show that I would watch.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Interesting, Dan. I was underwhelmed by the pilot, and it wasn't until I saw "Fairway, My Lovely" that I thought there was some potential there. Maybe I just like fat jokes.

Anonymous said...

_Andy Barker_ mostly reminded me of _Lookwell_, Conan's old unsold pilot starring Adam West. A cute enough show, but it can't really compare to _30 Rock_, which is firing on all cylinders.

I'm also not sure what the show's going for. It's a parody, but a parody of a type of detective show that hasn't aired in years. The only PI shows currently on the air are _already_ parodies of a sort -- _Monk_ and _Psych_ on USA. These shows aren't as funny as _Andy Barker_ can be, but they also don't take themselves as seriously as the hard-boiled PI shows of yore.

The most contemporary thing about the show is actually the CPA stuff. Americans surely worry about personal finance as much as they do crime these days. Lord help me for advocating it, but more financial humor would have made the show funnier.

Maybe they'll give Jim Cramer a PI show.


Anonymous said...