Last night’s pilot episode of NBC’s Andy Barker, P.I. certainly didn’t pack as many laughs into a half-hour as regular time-slot occupant 30 Rock, but it contained enough zany delights that I’ve decided to make room for it on my already engorged DVR. The sitcom’s overarching plot — mistaken-identity hijinks ensue when the titular milquetoast accountant takes over a lease from a detective agency — left plenty of room to riff amusingly on genre clichés (the comically moody soundtrack is especially funny), but it’s in the loopy little details where this series really excels. The “Go USA People!” sign at the kebab shop, the use of a remote-control Sandra Bullock doll from Miss Congeniality 2, the throwaway shot of a priest eating a hamburger, all left me unexpectedly guffawing. And not only is Andy Richter totally winning in the lead role, but so is the rest of the cast — from supporting players like video-clerk sidekick Simon (Arrested Development’s Tony Hale) and skittish wife Jenny (Ellen’s Clea Lewis), to bit parts like a surly archives clerk (Nicole Randall Johnson). I laughed so hard after the latter exhaustedly told Andy, “Sir, I get four, five calls a day. I can’t keep track of every one,” I almost missed her reprimand of the elderly woman Andy framed for shoplifting: “Is this how you conduct your life?” What did you think PopWatchers? Is Andy Barker, P.I. getting a spot on your Thursday schedule? (And if you missed it, catch it here.) Holla back!
Posted March 16 2007 — 4:36 PM EDT
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