Andy Richter Controls the Universe (TV Series 2002–2003) Poster

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I miss it :(
shrek20046 July 2003
This was a GREAT show! It was funny and witty and just plain great. It wasn't too raunchy, it didn't play the mind, and it was spontaneous as well (Mississippi, Brazil?) I only stopped watching it because it was on too late at night for me, and I suppose others did as well. I think FOX would bode well to bring this show back in a more "accessible" time slot (Tuesday or Thursday, for example.) I give this show 10/10 for creativity , humour and flair!
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A postmodern delight that was gone too soon
penelopedanger17 December 2004
"Andy Richter" was a wonderful, all-too-short-lived TV series that followed the fictional "Andy" through his moribund work days--and, more often, through the frustrated writer's hilariously warped fantasy life--a sort of Walter Mitty on bad acid. Subversive and screamingly funny, "Andy Richter" was brilliantly conceived and sharply written, and the cast--from Richter himself to Paget Brewster, Irene Molloy, Jonathan Slavin and James Patrick Stuart--had tremendous chemistry and perfect comic timing.

Like the live-action "The Tick" (another casualty of Fox's early 2000s "create brilliant shows and then slaughter them like rabid dogs" policy), "Andy Richter" was a postmodern delight that was gone too soon. One can only pray to the mighty disc gods for a DVD release.
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Kinda Like Ally Mcbeal, but good
Brad_Dharma19 March 2002
I think it is great to see a talent like Andy Richter with his own show. I laughed my ass off through the entire first episode and I hope it stays on the air for awhile. The show is about a guy whose daydreams as we see how his day goes, whether it be hearing Etta James' "At Last" playing while he see the receptionist he has a crush on or thinking about wearing a suit of puppies. The best thing is that is done in a cinematic format, as opposed to the sitcom format which has gotten old. It is like Ally Mcbeal, but actually good and funny. I give it 4 stars out of 5.
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Hilarious, fresh and original show
matlock-61 December 2002
Andy Richter was a brilliantly funny and much missed part of The Conan O'Brien Show. His own show is a welcome addition to Fox evening TV. We see Andy at work, interacting with his buddies and fellow employees, having the hots for a cute receptionist, and arguing with the strange old ghost of the company's foudner who taunts and derides Andy. The humor of the show is uniquely Andy's.

The series was originally canceled after the first season, like so many other original and clever shows. Fox has turned a complete 180 from their early days as a pioneer of "new" television with shows like Married With Children, The Simpsons and others. These days, they seem to prefer following trends and not being very different from the big 3 networks. This is why I was surprised to see Andy Richter brought back from the overflowing dumpster of shows Fox hasn't given a proper chance.

Apparently, the guidelines Fox gave Richter when they agreed to revive the show was that each show had to be a stand-alone rather than having episodes follow a linear pattern. This is so they can show them out of order. Why they insist upon this is beyond me, but if it brings back Andy then so be it.
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Funniest thing on TV
david tascoe31 May 2002
As it stands right now, Andy Richter is the funniest thing on Television. It's great that Fox picked it up for another season. Andy Richter is a comic genius and it would be even better if Conan O'Brian made an appearance on the show. It would be great to see this comic duo back together!!
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ANDY RICHTER IS THY LORD (initial reaction from a brother of the Church of Andy's Ass)
zetes20 March 2002
As I am an avid Conan O'Brian fan, I am also an avid Andy Richter fan. You can find my review for Late Night with Conan O'Brian on IMDb, written the night of Andy's final episode, where I admit that I teared up. That's pathetic, I know, but Conan and Andy (and the rest of the Late Night crew, Max, Joel, Robot on the Toilet, et al.) are like dear friends to me. I feel that I could walk up to any one of them and they'd be perfectly cordial.

When I heard about Andy Richter Controls the Universe, sometime in April or May of 2001, I couldn't wait. And then, a month or so ago, promos started to run on Fox (and during whatever other air time they could afford) constantly. It began to get annoying and, what was worse, the promos were not very funny. I was scared. Andy Richter needs (and, moreover, deserves) a hit show.

Fortunately, the show was funny, at least the first episode was. It's about a Chicagoan who writes manuals in a large office building. Office comedies aren't exactly original - heck, half the shows of the 1990s and this new decade seem to take place in offices. But Andy's coworkers are funny and interesting people, so no worries there. The premise of the show is a bit more ambitious: Andy's imagination runs wild and he is constantly reimagining his life. We see these reworkings and other fantasies, and they are quite funny. Still, there have been similar sit-coms in the past. I think there has been at least one that is dangerously close in its premise, but the closest I can think of offhand is the brilliant (and underrated) HBO sitcom Dream On. Where did that show go?

What makes this show (this episode, anyway) worthwhile is thy God, Andy Richter. Sure, I'm biased, but Andy's just hilarious. And charming. There's a nice tinge of pathos around him, which gives the show more weight than it otherwise would have. Another thing to be thankful for is that there are no laughtracks. I suppose we should thank Malcolm in the Middle especially for that. The creators of that show had to fight Fox in order to be rid of the manipulative recordings, and it paid off (though that show is already, in only, what, it's fourth year, past its prime). Let's hope that Andy Richter Controls My Universe stays as funny in subsequent episodes, and perhaps even get better.
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Funny new show
SMLA1131 May 2002
This is an excellent new show. It has a much different formula than other shows. It goes from the point of view by a man named Andy Richter. It shows what happened, what could've happened, and what thankfully didn't happen. It is a very creative formula and a very funny one. I have never laughed so hard in a long time while watching this. The characters are very cool and the storylines of the episodes are very creative.

Overall the show is a very pleasant new show and I hope that it doesn't get the axe. Rating ***1/2 out of ****.
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Funny stuff
mattymatt4ever27 March 2002
I've been a huge Conan O'Brien fan for years, and I'm glad to see his former sidekick succeed. He has a couple of movies out and a TV show--I just hope it lasts more than one season. It shouldn't get cancelled, because it is a very funny show, but networks tend to cancel the few good sitcoms on air and keep the bad or mediocre ones. It's nice to see that a couple of sitcoms aren't depending on a laugh-track to manipulate its viewers. This is one of them and, unlike "Watching Ellie," it works. The fantasy sequences are often funny, and the show doesn't try too hard. Andy Richter proves he can be as good a leading man as a sidekick. And that actress who plays Wendy is stunningly beautiful! God, I knew exactly how Andy felt when he was lusting after her. This show is definitely worth checking out. The only problem is it's on the same time as "Spin City." I guess I'm going to have to tape one of the shows.

My score: 7 (out of 10)
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One of the best TV series on TV today
Amyea11 November 2004
I have no idea what people are talking about when they say this show is barley funny. Its freaking hysterical!! The 10 second intro is to die for, its a rocky little ditty thats short, sweet and always leaves you wanting more. I live for Sunday nights so i can watch this. Andy Richer is very funny, having never seen him on the Conan O Brian show i have nothing to compaire this show to but the writing is very good and the characters amazing. I love how he thinks about what he wants to say in his head but then he shows you what he really said or did. Basically if your interested in watching, stop sitting here and go watch it for christs sake! It Rocks!

Amyea xxx
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Quite Possibly one of THE funniest shows I've ever seen
KingRandor8218 June 2004
Back in '02, my old man and I decided to watch the show, see how it was- we absolutely LOVED it. So far, I have yet to be let down by a single episode. The characters are great, the writing is phenomenal- it's rich, fresh, and incredibly witty. Seriously, what more COULD I ask? I say, Fox, dump that god-awful Arrested Development, and PUT ANDY RICHTER BACK ON! If the series ever goes to DVD, I guarantee I will be one of the first to purchase it. Most current shows, in the past 5 years, have not really impressed me in the least bit- but THIS SHOW HAS IT ALL! Again, I really hope Fox will consider bringing it back for several more seasons. It's not often these days for a prime time sitcom to be much of a hit unless it is an animated show, but this is probably one of those few remaining live gems out there.
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Glad to see it back
rmarkunas3 December 2002
This is an excellent, funny show. I was disappointed when I thought it wasn't coming back. I think it will be a great addition to Fox's excellent Sunday night lineup. Richter is good and is surrounded by a terrific cast. I loved Brewster on Friends and she is great in this show as well.
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Even funnier than Family Guy!
jellyneckr30 March 2002
I never thought that I'd say this, but I there finally is a show that is even funnier than FAMILY GUY [which is also on Fox]. I still like FAMILY GUY, yet this is my new favorite show [even though there have only been two episodes so far]. I guess the reason I love the show so much is because I have always been a huge Andy Richter fan. I've always liked Paget Brewster as well. The show's writing is sharp and witty [unlike 98% of the others sitcoms on television these days], the characters are brillantly crafted, and each episode is full of non-stop laughs.
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Yes! It's back!
peachyfoo15 December 2002
Andy Richter Controls the Universe is the coolest show in years, and the most genius thing to come out of FOX since The Simpsons. It is one of the few shows out there that's funny and innovative and smart, and actually entertaining! I just hope it can stick around this time. It's so hard to find a TV show that doesn't pander to the majority of mentally vapid viewers, and I guess that's why it got canned in the first place... because this is a show for the discerning viewer who wants their comedy with intelligence and without a laugh track.
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One of the Funniest Shows Ever if You Get the Humor
aramis-112-80488014 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Warning: the show goes without a laugh track to cue an audience

In "ARCTU" Richter plays a frustrated writer doing a ho-hum nowhere job.

Then there are his coworkers. Byron is the usual nebbish. Keith is remarkably perfect. Jessica is beautiful and empowered. Wendy is lovely and is Richter's unrequited love. Oh, and Richter talks to the "ghost" of the firm's founder who, since he is a product of Richter's imagination, carries every nasty stereotype of 1800s businessmen.

The catch about this show is, Richter sees the world through his writer's imagination. So he can reenact any scene any number of times in a way he would prefer, though it always reverts back to reality in the end. Richter's POV stretches to his coworkers. Because Richter believes good looking people get by easier, Keith is never shown doing work.

Jessica, however, Richter's beautiful boss, is too picky when it comes to men and will end a relationship on the lightest possible premises (although in "Holy Sheep" Jessica has a sub-plot where she is dating a remarkably talented but monstrously hideous man. She tries to hide her revulsion but Paget Brewster's reactions are wonderful -- and don't let go of "Holy Sheep" until the very end, it has one of the best closing tags ever).

It's easy to see why the show didn't last. The lack of a Pavlovian-response laugh track and reenacting scenes again and again so they have different resolutions was probably confusing to the average television viewer (the later was dropped as the show continued).

The real problem of "ARCTU" is that it feels obliged to tackle "issues." Oh, it does it in a funny way. For instance, in one episode a black co-worker gets upset when Richter makes a disparaging remark -- about the IRISH. But the POV is always skewed. When the idea of hiring a co-worker of a different race is mooted, everyone accepts without question the premise that it's only right to target minorities; no one raises the irony that this approach is itself racist and may exacerbate race problems.

Gimme a C" examines whether a total creep should be admired because he is fighting cancer (jaded as I am, I laughed harder at this episode than anything I ever saw on television,including "Green Acres" and "Monty Python" -- and I was sober).

Unfortunately, with issues comes the dreaded MORAL. Rather than every episode being funny for the sake of funniness, the writers absurdly strain to make each episode a learning experience. Ironically, it often isn't, since leftist mindsets are never really challenged or given alternatives, as with the "race" thing mentioned above. But Andy Richter is given some stupid little Aesopean baloney to spout at the end, which generally reflects what he thought all along. So, in a way, the idea of Richter's mind expanding the universe is a lie and Richter never really learns anything he doesn't already know (the sign of a stupid person). But until the soppy little moral tacked on at the end, some of the shows are devastatingly funny in whole or part.

Then, after the first eight or so episodes, "ARCTU" falls into the sitcom ruts and patterns. If it had continued it would have jumped the shark quickly (I think it actually did with "Bully the Kid").

Overall, a brilliant show, breaking new ground, and worth seeing for anyone who can get into the humor. But it failed on as many levels as it succeeds, by pretending to be mind-expanding but nevertheless never really showing open-mindedness (as it never questions cockeyed, questionable, or even dishonest left-wing dogma). While Richter always has a tacky little moral tacked on, it's never directed so much at Richter, but at the viewer, who has to be carefully instructed -- and here's the catch -- in the correct way to think. Not that we the viewer should expand our minds and learn how to think in wonderfully new ways, but that we should learn to think the way the weekly "ARCTU" lesson teaches us.

Brushing the show's hypocrisy aside, I will point out my own close connection to "ARCTU." When it aired I was an aspiring writer in a nowhere job (in government, not the private sector, where the idiocy is even more so). What happened to Richter in the first episode -- finding a new employee he had not been told out in his office -- actually happened to me. (Note: After the pilot, watch the episode called "The Second Episode") I turned up one morning and someone I had never seen before or been warned about was sitting at a desk in my office. Furthermore, when the episode aired I had a bossy female supervisor about as hung up as Jessica (though, curiously, her name was "Wendy" which is the name of the receptionist here). So the whole series had reverberations in my own life that might not ring true for other viewers.

Overall: There is not altogether truth in advertising here, but the show is nevertheless one of the funniest ever, when it is allowed to be. But by the end it becomes a pale shadow of itself.
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Worth checking out if you like edgy, surreal comedy
runamokprods3 June 2011
Cute, clever, often quite funny office set sit-com, where Andy Richter plays a Walter Mitty figure, who often spices up the life he shows us with brief fantasies.

While that sounds like a familiar set up, the writing and acting is very good, and the nice irony is that Andy's real life is pretty damn quirky, bizarre and interesting to start with. Beyond that, the show isn't afraid of absurdity, and makes no effort to be 'real' - a style that was somewhat ahead of it's time.

It also doesn't shy away from dark or politically incorrect comedy that edges into pretty sharp social satire. Some episodes are much better than others, but none are painful, and the best are terrific. It's also the rare sit-com that actually grew on me on a second viewing. And best of all is a classic episode, where Conan O'Brien makes an appearance as the literally insane owner of the company. That episode truly rises to 'Arrested Development' like levels of lunacy.
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The Emperor's New Mumu
christian.mckiernan16 December 2002
Television is at an all time low, everyone is starved for even the essence of entertainment, and calling this charisma-free star and laugh-free sit-com anything approaching "brilliant" is a testament to that desperation. Bland banal pap that, for some reason, is dubbed "original" and "edgy."
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two episodes and I already hate it.
dogcow3 April 2002
I really really liked andy richter on the conan o'brian show, so I was excited to see he got his own show. I figured it'd be a bit off beat but very very funny. Unfortunately its way off beat and rarely ever funny. The writing does show alot of promise, though, so hopefully it will get better.
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Fun likable group chemistry
SnoopyStyle6 October 2014
Andy Richter wants to use his imagination to write short stories. Instead, he is stuck writing technical manuals for a heartless giant corporation Pickering Industries. Andy is infatuated with new receptionist Wendy McKay (Irene Molloy) but he is too shy and his best friend good-looking Keith (James Patrick Stuart) starts dating her. His immediate boss is Jessica Green (Paget Brewster) who is his longtime friend. He is not happy to be forced to share his office with jumpy Byron Togler (Jonathan Slavin), but they soon become friends.

I like much of the show but most of all, I like the chemistry of the group. The narration and the imagination give the show a sense of originality. The stories can be a little inconsistent but the group is always likeably fun.
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Another great concept and show on which FOX gave up
KUAlum2616 March 2007
A few years removed from leaving "LAte Night with Conan O'Brien" and having compiled a tidy string of movie roles behind him,lovable everyman Andy Richter got his own show,this one,which ran during the Spring and Winter of 2002,and what a show it was.

Andy played...well,he played himself,only not really himself:a guy named Andy Richter(stretch!)who worked at a large corporation in his hometown of Chicago. He was single,living comfortably and aspiring to be a writer of short stories. He had his own foibles,fancied an attractive co-worker named Wendy(Irene Malloy),who--of course--has to be girlfriend of the handsome,seemingly vapid Keith(JAmes Patrick Stewart), shared an office with a morose sort named Byron(Jonathan Slavin) and has a lady boss named Jessica(Paget Brewster,for efor whom I'm always happy to see working)for whom he once dated. Much of the show's plot is fueled by Andy's thoughts and fantasies,hence(besides dry irony)the title of the show. This show(As mentioned by another reviewer)eschewed much of the conventions of standard sitcoms,choosing to take a quirkier,first-person approach to narrative and,as per my own personal pet peeve,there was NO LAUGHTRACK!! To me,laugh-tracks should be relegated to the same dusty old warehouse that keeps other outdated stuff like Iron lungs and Victrollas! They really have little usage in sitcoms anymore(although they don't necessarily hurt a show, some examples:"Seinfeld" or "King of Queens").

Fox,of course,didn't see the qualities of this odd gem of a show. They saw the Luke-warm ratings numbers of the show,put it on hiatus over the Summer,bringing it back that Fall and then canning it a few weeks into the New Year. After considering what they did to this show,I'd say the network probably was being CHARITIBLE with another favorite of mine,"Arrested Development",when they let it ride for three full seasons. Of course,the real insult to injury where Mr.Richters was concerned was that not long after this show was pulled,he was back with the network in the considerably more gimmicky and vapid show about a husband and wife dealing with snotty kids(I think it was called "Quintuplets" or something like that),which managed to get AT LEAST a full season of play. He and this show deserved better. As such,it appears that many of those involved in "Andy Richter Controls..." seem to have moved on to better projects. If this show comes out on DVD(And I don't see why it shouldn't or won't),the eps are definitely worth a look if you didn't catch it(and there's a good chance you might've not)during its run.
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An absolute FOX classic!
Catherine_Grace_Zeh24 July 2006
"ANDY RICHTER CONTROLS THE UNIVERSE," in my opinion, is an absolute FOX classic! I don't think I've seen every episode, but I still enjoyed it. It's hard to say which episode was my favorite. However, I think it was always funny when a mishap occurred. I always laughed at that. Despite the fact that it was a short-lived series, it was nice that all of the main characters had stayed with the show throughout its entire run. It seems that no one stays with a show throughout its entire run. Everyone always gave a good performance, the production design was spectacular, the costumes were well-designed, and the writing was always very strong. In conclusion, I hope someone brings it back on the air for fans of the show to see.
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please, please, please bring it back ;-(
rebelwave1004 September 2004
this was one of the best shows on TV it was funny and witty and cool. it had a strong cast and great writing. The characters were all bizarre in their weird way and the actors acted this well. the material was funny without being rude and smutty. but at the end of the day the show was one that made u truly laugh and I'm mean the kind of laugh which starts in your belly. i loved the "ally mcbeal" style abstract moments and the fictional character of the factory owner. This show had a great cast which executed the jokes fabulously. i live in england and over hear it was aired later than i would expect it would be better if it was placed in an earlier time slot and more often. Fox would do well to bring this back. i think this show achieved perfection a rare thing on today's T.V. i would rate it a 10/10. so if u haven't seen it try to find a way to see it.
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A great show that nobody loved
crapple359 May 2004
Here's another example of a brilliant show that never got the recognition it deserved. During its short run, I would have to say that it was easily the funniest sitcom on television (that was still in production). However, I found that Fox constantly gave it weird timeslots, and it was never able to reach a large enough audience.

It had the makings of a classic. It was fresh, funny, and completely unlike all those married-couple sitcom clones. This show had something different, and it pulled it off spectacularly.

Its truly a shame though that it wouldn't be able to reach a large enough audience. The off-centre humour obviously wouldn't be accepted by the general populous, and thus, we are once again left with one sitcom clone after another. How I miss thee, Andy Richter.
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Next to "NewsRadio", "Andy Richter" is the funniest show ever.
chicoandtheman931 May 2003
Andy Richter Controls the Universe is just plain funny. Not everyone gets it's humor but for those who do, it's the best thing. Andy is the average guy, almost child-like. And coming from him it's funny. Plus the cast had chemistry. Next to NewsRadio, Andy Richter is the funniest show ever! There's not one bad episode. I can't praise this show enough. From the imaginary dead guy who's always putting Andy down to Andy's fresh out of college neighbors who worship him. This is the Perfect sitcom that has set the bar for new shows. Even though FOX was too stupid to realize that. And many people just don't want to give this show a chance. It's their loss.
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I have not seen every episode of this show, but every episode I saw was fabulous! Very smart, very funny. The episode with Conan O'Brien playing the eccentric millionaire boss was probably my favorite episode I saw. Absolutely HILARIOUS. I know it was moved to Sundays, then it disappeared suddenly. Why?? I know quite a few people who watched and loved it, and I taped each episode I saw... and I don't know where it went! I don't watch too much television, so it could be on at another day I am unaware of? If it's off the air, it's such a shame. There aren't any other shows like it, and it was incredible.
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'Controlling' the hilarity
smla0226 December 2002

Starring: Andy Richter, Paget Brewster, and Irene Malloy.

The mind of Andy Richter has many sides. It reminds me of 'A Christmas Carol'. It is the side of what happened to an event in the past, what thankfully didn't happen, and what could've happened. The show is hysterical, with multiple scenarios. Richter adds some excellent humor, and for some reason, it's funnier with no audience.

Rank: Tied in 3rd (with "Friends")
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