Andy Barker, P.I. - My Thoughts.

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Andy Barker, P.I. premieres tonight. But thanks to the major networks’ stumbling, some would say desperate, embrace of the web, six episodes are available to watch on NBC’s website. One of them won’t even see TV as it’s a web exclusive. I’m thrilled by the opportunity to try and hook people before a show airs, but I hope this new kind of strategy doesn’t hurt Andy Barker, which is very funny and, from the two episodes I watched, deserves a long life.

It’s a lot like Conan O’Brien’s lost pilot Lookwell, as referenced in the Times article about the show. In both an unlikely man plays private eye. And the mysteries are actually mysteries, allbeit compress to work in a half-hour format. But this show is without the irony of a TV private eye playing real life dick. Instead, it has more of a heart to it, but not in a way that you feel manipulated afterwards.

Andy Barker is a nice guy, who even if there was no network censors, would probably say “Cheese and Crackers!” as an expletive. I’m almost regret that the show is on NBC and not on a pay cable outlet like HBO so that the contrast between Andy’s world and that of the hardcore gumshoe could be more apparent. (You see this a little in the web-only episode which has Amy Sedaris playing an aging femme fatale with a wooden leg. She channels Jerri Blank a bit when she describes herself as “dewy” for private dicks.)

It’s been hard to find a great venue for Andy Richter. Here’s hoping that it can stick around for a while (and not at the expense of 30 Rock, which has come into its own and deserves a second season).

Has anyone else enjoyed NBC’s generous offering of episodes yet? Whadyathink?

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Posted by Emily on 03/16  at  01:14 AM

I watched all the episodes and I think it’s a hilarious show. It had me laughing out loud - literally - which I don’t usually do when I watch TV.

I hope NBC doesn’t cancel it. It’s off to a good start.

Posted by Jack on 03/16  at  10:46 AM

I’m going to sound like Grouchy McNoLike with my comments this week, but I haven’t felt this tepid about a launch of a new comedy series in a while. There were moments that made me laugh, but as a whole I just think Andy Richter is misused and—in all honesty—misuses himself a lot. In this show and in other projects.

When I think about what I liked about him on Conan, it wasn’t him being second fiddle to Conan all the time. But it was more that he was a part of a comedy team. And he added great thinks to the team dynamic.

On his own, his jokes and mannerisms can sometimes come off as too broad. And the reaction of everyone around him doesn’t balance it off well at all.

But I think if he were paired up with a decent comedy partner who he could consistently do work with, he would be great. On his own, dunno what would work.

Posted by Tom on 03/30  at  02:08 PM

I watched the first episode last night on NBC.
After watching the brilliant writing of the Office marathon, it was hard to sit through Private Eye. I thought the writing was weak and his partner was way over the top. The moustaches, the running thru the barbecue scene. It all felt very hacky/slapsticky.

It felt like a bad sketch that went too long

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