11 March 2007 | JonB-2
Finally, A Good Andy Richter Vehicle
I've always liked Andy Richter, ever since his days as Conan O'Brien's sidekick on "Late Night". I've wanted to like his previous forays into his own shows, but nothing had really clicked before.
This time, things click, in a quirky, funny series that brings a new twist to film noir conventions. The basic set-up: Andy Barker, a CPA, starts work at his new office. Unbeknownst to him, it was previously occupied by a PI. When a mysterious woman shows up looking for someone to find her dead husband, Barker is reluctant to take on the case -- but given his scarcity of clients and her $4,000 retainer, the offer is too tempting to pass up. When the issue of the husband's tax returns come up, it's the clincher that pulls the CPA into a different line of work.
Thus begins the premise, in which Barker is ably abetted by video store clerk Simon (Tony Hale, "Arrested Development") -- who applies everything he's learned about crime and criminals from movies, with sometimes unintended results.
While it doesn't quite have the subversive depth of a lot of modern half hour comedies, it does have the off-kilter tone of something like the live-action "The Tic" This go-round, Conan O'Brien is co-creator and executive producer, and that may be the secret ingredient that's made this a watchable show. A lot of the gags feel like Late Night bits dropped into the plot, like when Barker advises a client on tax law during a car chase.
There's potential for this series, provided the writers can keep developing the concept, and NBC doesn't give up too soon.