Andy Richter Controls the Universe

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.


Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on March 20, 2002 - 14:36 Permalink

I would suggest that Richter, himself, wasn’t ‘inane’ on the Conan O’Brien show. Rather, the concept of ‘sidekick’ is inane, in and of itself, and Richter was merely playing that. I always thought Andy Richter’s comedy on that show was very funny, very self-effacing and a wonderful complement to Conan.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on March 20, 2002 - 21:57 Permalink

Every time I see Conan O’Brien I wonder how he managed to get his own show (even if it seems to only be on at 3:15 on chanel 193 or whatever). However, I can say that since he spells his last name properly I’m willing to overlook nearly everything that would otherwise annoy or bore me.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on March 21, 2002 - 00:18 Permalink

Three words: Max On Max.

Matt's picture
Matt on March 21, 2002 - 00:37 Permalink

I agree with Rob. Andy Richter used to do brilliant “reporting” bits, thrusting himself into the middle of events. He once attended a “Kiss” convention and it was hysterical.