Andy Richter Controls the Universe

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Andy Richter Controls the Universe
Created byVictor Fresco
Narrated byAndy Richter
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes19 (list of episodes)
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesGarfield Grove Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Paramount Network Television
DistributorCBS Television Distribution (US current distributor)
Disney-ABC International Television (International current distributor)
Original networkFox
Picture format16:9 HDTV
Original releaseMarch 19, 2002 (2002-03-19) –
January 12, 2003 (2003-01-12)

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.

TV Guide included the series in their 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon".[1]


The surnames of the characters are very rarely mentioned – with the exception of Andy, most are only mentioned once in the entire series.


  • Andy Richter: 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.
  • Jessica Green (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.
  • Wendy McKay (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.
  • Byron Togler (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.
  • Keith (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.


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.

Guest appearances[edit]

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.


Broadcast history[edit]

Season Time
2001–02 Tuesday at 8:30
2002–03 Sunday at 9:30 (Episodes 1–2, 4, 6-8)
Tuesday at 8:30 (Episodes 3, 5)

Season 1 (2002)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
11"Pilot"Andy AckermanVictor FrescoMarch 19, 2002 (2002-03-19)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.
42"Grief Counselor"Andy AckermanMichael A. RossMarch 26, 2002 (2002-03-26)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.
63"Little Andy in Charge"Andy AckermanVictor FrescoApril 2, 2002 (2002-04-02)006
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.
24"The Second Episode"Andy AckermanMichael Shipley & Jim BernsteinApril 9, 2002 (2002-04-09)002
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.
55"Gimme a C"Will MackenzieJennifer CelottaApril 16, 2002 (2002-04-16)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.
76"Wedding"Andy AckermanTim DoyleApril 23, 2002 (2002-04-23)007
The gang goes to a wedding. Andy wakes up in Byron's bed and they wonder how that happened.

Season 2 (2002–03)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
111"We're All The Same, Only Different"Andy AckermanVictor FrescoDecember 1, 2002 (2002-12-01)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).
122"Twins"Andy AckermanRob UlinDecember 8, 2002 (2002-12-08)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.
33"France"John FortenberryWill GluckDecember 10, 2002 (2002-12-10)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!
134"Holy Sheep"Andy AckermanJennifer CelottaDecember 15, 2002 (2002-12-15)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.
145"Relationship Ripcord"Lee Shallat-ChemelMichael Shipley & Jim BernsteinDecember 17, 2002 (2002-12-17)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.
96"The Show Might Go On"Andy AckermanJay DyerDecember 22, 2002 (2002-12-22)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.
177"Crazy in Rio"Andy AckermanMichael A. RossJanuary 5, 2003 (2003-01-05)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.
158"The Maid Man"Andy AckermanMatthew WeinerJanuary 12, 2003 (2003-01-12)015
Andy falls for Jessica's Russian housekeeper (Lola Glaudini), creating friction between himself and Jessica when the shallow infatuation runs its course.
89"Bully the Kid"Bryan GordonSteve Baldikoski & Bryan Beharunaired (unaired) (Aired: Jun.14,2004 on HDNet)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.
1010"Duh Dog"John FortenberryTommy Blachaunaired (unaired) (Aired: Jun.21,2004 on HDNet)010
Andy makes a sarcastic remark about a "big stupid dog" that catches everyone's attention and ends up becoming the company mascot.
1611"Final Fantasy"John FortenberryEric Kaplanunaired (unaired) (Aired: Jun.28,2004 on HDNet)016
Wendy takes a crack at writing fantasy fiction. Byron accidentally becomes a pimp.
1912"Charity Begins in D Block"Andy AckermanDave Jeser & Matt Silversteinunaired (unaired) (Aired: Jul.5,2004 on HDNet)019
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.
1813"Saturday Early Evening Fever"Jay ChandrasekharTommy Blachaunaired (unaired) (Aired: Jul.12,2004 on HDNet)018
Twenty-something Byron begins dating Andy's eighty-something grandmother (June Lockhart).


Although canceled after two mid-season runs (totaling 19 episodes), reruns of all 19 episodes aired on HDNet from mid 2003 until 2006. 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.


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.

Home release[edit]

On March 24, 2009, CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) released all 19 episodes of Andy Richter Controls the Universe on DVD in Region 1.[2]

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
  • Audio commentaries
  • How Andy Richter Controlled the Universe featurette
  • What if Andy Richter Controlled the Universe featurette


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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roush, Matt (June 3, 2013). "Cancelled Too Soon". TV Guide. pp. 20 and 21
  2. ^ TV Shows on DVD Archived 2009-02-24 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]