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|Andy Richter Controls the Universe|
|Created by||Victor Fresco|
James Patrick Stuart
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||19 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||20–22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Garfield Grove Productions
20th Century Fox Television
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution (U.S.)
20th Century Fox International Television (Global)
|Picture format||4:3 SDTV
|Original release||March 19, 2002– January 12, 2003|
Andy Richter Controls the Universe is a sitcom which aired from 2002–2003 on the Fox network. The series was Andy Richter's first starring role after leaving NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2000.
It ran for two seasons, totaling nineteen episodes, and was canceled due in part to poor ratings. The show was a joint production of Garfield Grove Productions and 20th Century Fox Television in association with Paramount Television. CBS Television Distribution, a parallel successor to Paramount, has distribution rights to the series in the United States while Fox retains global distribution rights.
The surnames of the characters are very rarely mentioned - with the exception of Andy, most are only mentioned once in the entire series.
The character, sharing his name with the actor, is an aspiring writer living in Chicago who wants to write short stories. However, he is forced to work as a technical manual writer for Pickering Industries, the fifth largest company in America, to pay the bills. Andy is shy and not good with women. He doesn't really want to be working at the company, though he is very good at his job.
Played by Paget Brewster, Jessica worked with Andy for years before she became the head of Andy's department, and thus, his boss. They tried dating once, but it didn't work out. She often has to act as an intermediary between her superiors, and Andy and his co-workers, forcing her to take sides. She is fairly superficial when it comes to men.
Played by James Patrick Stuart, Keith is Andy's best friend and co-worker and one usually sticks up for the other. He is the handsome guy in the office who has things handed to him because he's good-looking.
Played by Irene Molloy, Wendy is the receptionist at Andy's office. As of the pilot, she had only been working there a month. Andy is attracted to her, but found out that since he had not made a move in a month, Keith has started to date her.
Played by Jonathan Slavin, Byron is a new illustrator who moves into Andy's office, which causes Andy annoyance in the pilot episode. Byron is fairly insecure and shy.
Pickering Industries is founded by Mr. Pickering (John Bliss) in 1880. Despite being over 170 years old, and dead, he appears in several episodes and has discussions with Andy within his imagination. His viewpoints are typically antiquated and contrary to political correctness to an extreme degree. His comments often seem to represent a negative aspect of Andy's mind, such as guilt, or self-doubt.
Teak (Charlie Finn) and Phil (Sean Gunn) live in the same building as Andy. They had been members of the same fraternity as Andy, ten years after Andy was a member. As such, they look up to him. It is hinted that Phil might be homosexual.
Conan O'Brien appears as Pickering's new CEO in the episode "Crazy in Rio." Other stars to have guest roles include Cedric Yarbrough, Jon Cryer, Molly Sims, Beth Littleford, Rick Peters, Bree Turner, Jarrad Paul, Rex Lee, Lola Glaudini, and June Lockhart, who plays Andy's grandmother.
Season 1 (2002)
|Title||Original air date||Production
|1||1||"Pilot"||March 19, 2002||001|
|Andy has a crush on Wendy, but she is dating Keith. A new employee, Byron, is put in Andy's office which is barely big enough for Andy to begin with. Andy can't stay mad about it for too long, however, since Byron turns out to be a great guy.|
|2||2||"Grief Counselor"||March 26, 2002||004|
|After a man named Charlie dies, the company forces everyone to see a grief counselor. Byron uses it to open up all of his sorrow and causes the grief counselor to commit suicide.|
|3||3||"Little Andy in Charge"||April 2, 2002||006|
|Andy is upset to be forced to share his office with yet another person (Cedric Yarbrough), making 3 people total in an office designed for one, this time an overly friendly and cheerful man who is also named Andy.|
|4||4||"The Second Episode"||April 9, 2002||002|
|Andy has a crisis of conscience when he learns that the beautiful woman he is dating is a bigot. Jessica goes out partying before a big meeting and her tiredness plays to her advantage.|
|5||5||"Gimme a C"||April 16, 2002||005|
|The gang gets irritated at Lemuel Praeger (Jon Cryer), vice-president of the company, constant cost cutting and so plays a prank on him, which they later regret when they learn he has cancer. Praeger then uses this against them and makes them do various things to make up for it.|
|6||6||"Wedding"||April 23, 2002||007|
|The gang goes to a wedding. Andy wakes up in Byron's bed and they wonder how that happened.|
Season 2 (2002–03)
|Title||Original air date||Production
|7||1||"We're All The Same, Only Different"||December 1, 2002||011|
|Andy makes a disparaging remark about Irish people, offending a friend of his that he didn't know was of Irish descent. No one else thinks it's a big deal until the Irish CEO finds out about it and makes everyone in Andy's department as well as every manager in the chain of command between himself and Andy take sensitivity training classes. Meanwhile, Andy learns sensitivity as a relationship blossoms between himself and his new African/Irish/American girlfriend (Dawnn Lewis).|
|8||2||"Twins"||December 8, 2002||012|
|A pair of identical twins is sharing Jessica as their girlfriend. Everything will be fine as long as they don't find out that she knows.|
|9||3||"France"||December 10, 2002||003|
|Andy convinces Jessica to send him instead of Keith (who really doesn't want to go anyway) on an important business trip to France. Then, Andy and Jessica learn that Byron speaks fluent French!|
|10||4||"Holy Sheep"||December 15, 2002||013|
|Byron struggles to remain celibate so that he can be initiated into his new religion, "Zumanism" as the beautiful daughter of the founder of the church (Molly Sims) tries desperately to seduce him.|
|11||5||"Relationship Ripcord"||December 17, 2002||014|
|Andy and friends eavesdrop on the therapy session of a beautiful woman and Andy decides to exploit what he hears to start a relationship with her.|
|12||6||"The Show Might Go On"||December 22, 2002||009|
|Wendy is the understudy to the leading actress (Beth Littleford) in a local play. Andy and Keith conspire to make the actress miss a performance so that Wendy can get her big break.|
|13||7||"Crazy in Rio"||January 5, 2003||017|
|The new CEO of Pickering industries (Conan O'Brien) takes a liking to Andy and promotes him to a lofty executive position. There's only one problem, the new CEO is completely insane.|
|14||8||"The Maid Man"||January 12, 2003||015|
|Andy falls for Jessica's Russian housekeeper (Lola Glaudini), creating friction between himself and Jessica when the shallow infatuation runs its course.|
|15||9||"Bully the Kid"||unaired||008|
|Andy drops the ball when asked to watch Jessica's nephew, who then blackmails Andy and Jessica so that he won't tell his mom about Andy and Jessica's lack of responsibility.|
|Andy makes a sarcastic remark about a "big stupid dog" that catches everyone's attention and ends up becoming the company mascot.|
|Wendy takes a crack at writing fantasy fiction. Byron accidentally becomes a pimp.|
|18||12||"Charity Begins in Cellblock D"||unaired||018|
|Andy and Jessica volunteer as mentors at a prison. Their competitiveness gets the better of them as they coach their respective prisoners in a poetry competition.|
|19||13||"Saturday Early Evening Fever"||unaired||019|
|Twenty-something Byron begins dating Andy's eighty-something grandmother (June Lockhart).|
The series' plots were fairly typical of sitcoms with Andy getting himself into a situation and having to find a solution. The unique aspects were several unusual devices that defined the show.
First was Richter's voiceover which essentially narrated the plot as well as Andy's thought processes in each episode. Secondly, and connected to the first, was Andy's imagination, which was presented onscreen as if it were reality until it was revealed in a smash cut accompanied by the sound of rewinding audio tape. This was often used to demonstrate alternatives to what actually happened for a given event. These fantasy sequences inspired the original working title, "Anything Can Happen," a sentiment Richter expresses in the series premiere's opening narration.
Although canceled after two mid-season runs (totaling 19 episodes), reruns currently air on HDNet. It was also shown on the Paramount Comedy Channel, the Irish network TV3 and on the Polish edition of Comedy Central.
The outside shots of Andy's office are taken from the Duke & Duke building from Trading Places.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment holds the international DVD rights, but has yet to make a release anywhere.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date||Additional Information|
|Andy Richter Controls the Universe: The Complete Series||19||March 24, 2009||
All music from the show was written by Greg Burns, Jeff Burns, and Brian Kirk. The theme song is sung by Jason Cropper, the original guitarist for Weezer. The song was written for the show, and there is not a full version beyond the short clip in the beginning. However, a slightly longer version of the song is evident on the pilot episode.
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