the Long Tail

Adventures in the Low End of the Demand Curve

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Andy Richter Controls the Universe

Back in 2001, Fox Broadcasting developed a bad little habit of cancelling shows that I wanted to watch in favor of more American Idol. Inconsistant scheduling of several shows caused them to falter in the ratings, including Futurama, Greg the Bunny, the Tick, and the show that I'm writing about today, Andy Richter Controls the Universe.

Andy Richter was the former sidekick of Conan O'Brien. For a quick round of "I Never", I have to confess that I've never watched an episode of Conan O'Brien. Partly because I just can't stay up that late, partly because someone that I used to date told me not to bother watching if I hadn't been watching from the beginning. That didn't stop me from getting in on this show from the beginning.

When Andy left the Conan show, this was his first project, and I have to say that I am now sad that I never got to watch him on Conan. It was extremely funny, in a Drew Carey Show meets Family Guy kind of way. Andy played a technical writer working in Chicago, and the show followed him and a few of his office mates. While some of the stories were a little bizarre, most of the time, they were stories that I could relate to. The best feature of the show was the brief cutaways that happened when Andy would imagine situations going a particular way, usually in a way that would almost never happen in real life. These were fun to watch, and the sharp contrast they provided to real life always led to a laugh or two.

Each character on the show was richly detailed, and by the middle of the second season, you really felt you were getting to know them. You weren't as surprised when you saw the world through their eyes, to paraphrase the shows theme song. The entire cast was excellent, especially Paget Brewster (who you might remember as Kathy from Friends during season 4) who plays Andy's boss Jessica, and Jonathan Slavin who plays Andy's office mate, Byron (who also appeared on an episode of Friends). The scenes in Andy's imagination can be a little strange, but the cast is able to pull them off, and make them fun to watch. There are just too many good moments to go into any sort of detail.

The show went off the air in 2003 following a fill-in type run. When Andy Richter started to appear in the much less stellar show Quintuplets, I figured that this show would probably not be coming back. While I am aware that bootleg copies of the show are available on eBay, I'm still holding out hope for a legitimate DVD release. I know that this would be an instant classic in my house. Especially for the scene where Andy has wheels. (I kid you not!).