Andy Richter Controls the Universe was a 2002-2003 Fox Work Com series from Victor Fresco, who later made Better Off Ted. A total of 19 episodes in two seasons. It was the first series to star Andy Richter following his departure from Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Andy Richter plays Andy Richter, 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, even through he doesn't really want to, to pay the bills.
The unique aspects that diferenced the series from other sitcoms was Richter's voiceover, which essentially narrated the plot as well as Andy's thought processes in each episode, and secondly, and connected to the first, 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.
This show provides examples of:
- Air-Vent Passageway: Andy liquors up Jessica's cat, causing it to run wild and enter the vents, causing Andy to go in after her. A segment of the vents collapses under Andy.
- Better as Friends: Andy and Jessica. They get along so well they tried dating in the backstory, but there was no flame.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Conan O'Brien has a guest role as the new owner of the company, whom people assume is an eccentric genius, but it soon turns out he's full on crazy.
- Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: When Byron has to abstain from sex for three months for a religious ritual, suddenly a beautiful woman is throwing herself at him.
- Imagine Spot: Very common.
- Lemony Narrator: Andy, an aspiring writer, sometimes embellishes his narration to make things sound more interesting than they are.
- Mistaken for Gay: After accidentally winding up in Byron's bed during a hotel trip, everyone thinks Andy is gay. He winds up sleeping with an Abhorrent Admirer in order to get people to think he's straight again.
- Mistaken for Racist: After Andy launches into a minor tirade against the Irish, Andy's black coworker reveals he's Irish and takes it up with their boss. When the boss learns that the complaint is about the Irish, not blacks, their boss responds with a resounding "... so what?" This process repeats until one of the bosses is an Irishman.
- Mortality Phobia: Keith finds a single gray hair and realizes that he's going to eventually die (he's had such a fortunate life that the idea had never occurred to him), causing him to have a bit of a breakdown.
- Name's the Same: A major character on the show is Keith Richards.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: Keith has been able to cruise through life on his looks.
- Scylla and Charybdis: After being Mistaken for Racist and going to mandatory therapy, Andy no longer saw people in terms of race. This led to him being criticized for not celebrating everyone's differences. This leads to the Spoof Aesop "you have to celebrate everyone's differences, while ignoring them at the same time."
- Test Subject for Hire: One episode, Wendy the receptionist needs money to pay for her grandmother's cosmetic surgery. After losing out on a bonus, she signs up to test a new drug for her giant company. The most noticeable effect is that it deepens her voice to the point that she sounds like Darth Vader, but to her boyfriend's delight it increases her sex drive and enlarges her breasts. Shame he can't get past the voice thing.
- Twofer Token Minority: "We're all the name, but Different" has the main cast competing to find someone to fill a job opening, with the reward of a $5000 finders fee. Knowing they're looking for diversity, they try to one-up each other, culminating in Keith Richards having found a one armed, gay, native American little person (... who sadly wasn't a technical writer, but still).
- Twin Switch: One episode has a pair of twins both dating Jessica. However, in a twist, she secretly knows about it and takes advantage of it since one is brilliant and engaging, but worthless in bed, while the other is a sexual dynamo, but dumb as a rock.
- Unrequited Love: Andy for Wendy, at least in the beginning of the series.
- Values Dissonance: In-universe, Andy has imaginary arguments with the Gilded Age-era founder of his company based on this trope.
- You Know I'm Black, Right?: Done by Andy's black co-worker, although in this case he was letting Andy know he's Irish.