Release Date: November 17, 2009
The first and only season of Andy Barker, P.I.
aired on NBC in spring 2007, and only lasted for six episodes. The clever, reference-packed show would have been a good fit with comedies like Community
and 30 Rock
, but it never found an audience. Once and future Conan O’Brien sidekick Andy Richter starred as Andy Barker, a mild-mannered accountant who sort of fell into having a private-investigation business on the side. With a solid supporting cast including Arrested Development
alum Tony Hale and veteran character actor Harve Presnell, Andy Barker
demonstrated great potential only to be cut down before its time.
- Cast and crew commentaries on all six episodes
- Gag reel
- Behind-the-scenes retrospectives
Poor Andy Richter never really got the success he deserved after leaving Late Night With Conan O’Brien
, and watching Andy Barker, P.I.
(which was co-created by O’Brien himself), you really see what a missed opportunity that was. He’s such a likeable, fun performer, and he brings great humor to his role as the world’s nicest guy, who gets a strange thrill out of solving sordid crimes by sheer force of decency. Richter mostly plays the straight man here, and he’s surrounded by a lot of funny people in supporting roles and as guest stars. The six episodes give a sense of a show that was just about to hit its stride, developing a weirdly endearing world of misfits.
Andy Barker isn’t as zany as Richter’s other great failed series, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, and at times it’s a little too restrained. But O’Brien and co-creator Jonathan Groff have a really good sense of the noir movies and ’70s detective series that they’re simultaneously parodying and paying homage to, and they construct neat little mysteries while taking time to develop their characters. Presnell is hilarious as the hard-boiled gumshoe from an earlier era, and the sweet dynamic between Andy and his wife is a refreshing change from typical sitcom bickering.
Clearly everyone who worked on this show loved the experience, as is apparent from the lively, fun episode commentaries, which are well worth listening to. The two half-hour-long making-of retrospectives are a little more blandly self-congratulatory, although the one focused on the show’s writing gets into some interesting nuts-and-bolts material.
The Bottom Line
This short-lived show deserves a second look on DVD, and fans of smart, quirky sitcoms should definitely seek out Andy Barker, P.I.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.