Andy is a short story writer, who makes his living by working at a huge faceless company in present day Chicago, writing Technical Manuals. In his active, fertile, writer's imagination, we ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
 Andy Richter (19 episodes, 2002-2003)
 Jessica Green (19 episodes, 2002-2003)
Irene Molloy ...
 Wendy McKay (19 episodes, 2002-2003)
 Byron Togler (19 episodes, 2002-2003)
 Keith (19 episodes, 2002-2003)
John Bliss ...
 Mr. Pickering (14 episodes, 2002-2003)


Andy is a short story writer, who makes his living by working at a huge faceless company in present day Chicago, writing Technical Manuals. In his active, fertile, writer's imagination, we see (and hear as he narrates) the stories of his daily life, as they should be, could be, might be, and even actually how they are. Andy shares his office with the company's newest employee, and Andy's newest friend, the frail, jumpy, odd, loveable Byron. Also inhabiting Andy's world is his best friend Keith, who is "so good looking" that Andy must fight his own "prejudice against the 'attractive,' who seem to get everything they want, unlike ordinary humans." Supervisor Jessica is also Andy's longtime friend and uses her lightening sharp tongue to keep the group out of, or at times, to get the group INTO trouble. The newer receptionist Wendy (Irene Molloy, "Grosse Pointe"), whom Andy first had a crush on, is dating Keith (somewhat proving Andy's "Attractive Theory"). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

19 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anything Can Happen  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The establishing shot of Andy's workplace, the Duke & Duke building, is lifted from Trading Places (1983) See more »


[Freddy is taking Andy and his friends to Rio de Janeiro]
Keith: I just talked to the pilot. We're not flying to Rio. We're flying to Mississippi.
Wendy: Mississippi, Brazil?
Freddy Pickering: There must have been a misunderstanding. I'll go talk to him.
[He walks to the emergency exit]
Freddy Pickering: .
Jessica: Uh, the cockpit's that way.
Freddy Pickering: [as he opens the door] I'm going to sneak up on him!
See more »


Referenced in FOX 25th Anniversary Special (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Great TV that Never Had a Chance (pt. 3)
11 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

Andy Richter is a would-be short story writer and cog in the wheel of a major unnamed metropolitan company. `Andy Richter Controls the Universe' was a whimsical funhouse ride through the half creative/half insane mind of Andy showing us what is, was and could have been in the adventures of day to day life. This show was surreal, laugh-out-loud funny and original in every fiber of it's being.

Put the audaciously titled `Andy Richter Controls the Universe' up in the class with `Seinfeld' and `Everybody Loves Raymond' where a not-so-great comedian found a voice on TV and created a great sitcom. The show is a jewel in the crown of scattershot creator Victor Fresno (his record ranges from the bombed `The Trouble with Normal` to the modest cult classic `Dinosaurs`). Not only do Richter's talents get a workout here more than anything that I've seen him in since his day son Conan, but he is backed up by one of the best ensembles put together for the small screen.

Paget Brewster runs off with the show in the Best Actress Emmy snub (for Jennifer Aniston of all people) role of Andy's beautiful, feisty, tough-as-nails, self-involved and a little scatterbrained supervisor Jessica Green. Blessed with an impeccable sense of comic timing, Brewster is simply one of the funniest women I've ever seen on the big or small screen. And her role is written with more color than the usual TV `dotting wife' or `beautiful girlfriend'. Rounding out the cast with almost equal comic perfection is James Patrick Stewart as Keith (the good looking guy who seems to get pampered by life), Irene Malloy as Keith's adorable girlfriend and Andy's first season crush Wendy & perennially droopy Jonathan Slavin as Richter's stressed out office-mate Byrone. In the show's criminally short 14 episode run all the players will have their moments in the sun.

One of the distinctive elements of `Universe' was its non-linear narrative style that flows freely between reality, fantasy, time and space skipping over the dull, standard sitcom stuff and throwing the audience for one loop after another. Richter's narration has a pension for manipulating the audience in a way that would make The Opposite of Sex's Dede Truitt crack a smile. Several episodes belted these stories toward the rafters in a way that, in a fair world, would be eligible for `classic' sitcom status. I would submit their race relations satire `Where All the Same, Only Different' or a hysterically mad Conan O‘Brien guest starring in `Crazy in Rio' or the brilliantly manic `Second Episode` that finds Andy reverting to his frat boy days and ends up boxing a kangaroo with the voice of Phil Hendrie. Often directed by Andy Ackerman of `Seinfeld', `Universe' recalls `Seinfeld' in some of it's basic plots and attitudes. However, any comparisons would miss the point as `Universe' injects so much freshness and life into anything it touches.

You have to feel for Fox just a little…well, on the other hand maybe not. They like to brag about how hip and cool they are and then whine about wanting shows that are creative and edgy, but when it falls into their lap, dinosaurs like Programming Director Gail Berman are so out of touch with the viewers that they have no idea what to do with it. After all, how do you promote a show that has a fantasy scene where its hero crushes an old women's head into a diamond to impress a girl? Now, the show was brought back – briefly – for a second season but it smacked of notes from Fox to `cut the fantasy scenes' and `play up relationship-based plots'. `Universe' had all the mechanics of a hit. But a hit in the 6 weeks that networks have arbitrarily given their shows to be big or get out? Not with this kind of innovative material. That might have required a little bit of support and patience on the network's part.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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