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Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

     The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is a wonderful new show, airing on IFC  in the United States.  If you don't get IFC, as I don't, it is also available via Amazon on Demand digital video download, or from the iTunes store.  The show is set in London, England, and also airs in the UK.  As such, only six episodes have been ordered, typical for a UK series.  Two have aired, and they are very, very funny.

     The show stars David Cross (Arrested Development, Running Wilde) as Todd Margaret, a temp at an energy drink company in America.  When Brent Wilts (Will Arnett, Arrested Development, Running Wilde) buys and visits the company, he sees Todd in a rare moment of confidence.  As such, he interviews, and believing Todd's lies, promotes Todd to run a new office he wants to open in London.  GIven a large salary and a big expense account, Todd flies to the UK.  He arrives, only to discover the office he is running has a mere one employee named Dave (Blake Harrison, The Inbetweeners).  Todd continues to tell whatever lies he percieves will help him, and bluster around like he's important.  It seems that Dave sees through this, and so becomes an enabler, who likes to get Todd into hotter and hotter water.  Oh, and the energy drink is actually pretty toxic.

     In between ridiculous circumstances that left Todd ever more soiled and scarred, he pursues a romantic relationship with the owner of a local cafe, Alice (Sharon Horgan, Big Babies, Pulling).  Alice is hard to read, because she goes back and forth between being furious at Todd's antics, and somehow finding him sympathetic and charming.  It's not clear if she's sees through his crap, but if she does, she overlooks it.  Todd also keeps talking about feeling guilty about a girlfriend back home, who really, he just had a one night stand with.  Played by Amber Tamblyn (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Joan of Arcadia), we have gotten a number of short scenes revealing that she isn't thinking about Todd at all.

     The episodes are framed by an opening with Todd in a courtoom, persumably charged with all sorts of crimes that he racks up during his time in London, although the list seems a little harsh, as while Todd is bumbling, he isn't malicious.  At the end of each, after the credits, we catch up on Todd's Portland, Oregon apartment, where his cat has died, and the place is being overrun by wild animals.

     The whole thing is so ridiculous, I can't help but frequently laughing out loud.  Cross has proven himself adept at comedy, and in the series that he created, he is at his best.  As a viewer, I do feel a bit bad for him, although he brings most of his troubles on himself.  With only four episodes left, I'm anxious to find out how everything comes together.  I don't know if this would work as a 22 episodes a season series, as Todd has already effectively destroyed his life in just two half hours.  It's probably better that it's a limited run.  If you haven't already, please check out The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.

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