Of all the new sitcoms to come along this year, it was perhaps Andy Richter Controls the Universe for which I held out the least hope of success.
I mean, Andy Richter? Wasn’t he Conan O’Brien’s inane sidekick? One step above that guy that Tom Green pours molten Jello on? In my mind he was no more than a latter day David Caruso, going on to seek fame and fortune after living under the wing of someone more interesting (Dennis Franz) or at least more successful (O’Brien).
Well, I was wrong.
Andy Richter Controls the Universe, is actually quite a funny and delightful show.
It’s covering some dangerous territory, too. Other “gimic” shows, like Herman’s Head and Dream On (and “gimic” here means, among other things, “main character talks directly to the camera”) have been almost unwatchable. Once in a while there’s been a good show in this genre: It’s Gary Shandling’s Show was very funny, largely because it was so good at taking itself not seriously at all. But it’s hard to depart from the standard sitcom format and introduce wacky elements without failing.
The Andy Richter show isn’t perfect — I would scale back the fantasy sequences by maybe 10%, for example — but the production values are great, there’s a good solid cast, and, perhaps most surprisingly, Richter himself carries the show well.