Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, season 1 (2010) ***

TV-MA, 6 21-min. episodes
Creator: David Cross
Director: Alex Hardcastle
Writers: David Cross, Shaun Pye
Starring: David Cross, Sharon Horgan, Will Arnett, Blake Harrison, John Fortune, Amber Tamblyn, Zahra Ahmadi, Madison Masters, Stewart Scudamore, Steve Davis, Colin Salmon, Sara Pascoe, Janeane Garofalo, Spike Jonze

If there’s one thing that David Cross and Will Arnett are great at it’s making complete asses of themselves. That’s the whole point of David Cross’s television series “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret”. They’re different kind of asses, to be sure, but what a couple of a**holes!

The show begins with Arnett’s new CEO character barging into an office workplace demanding a go-getter for a sales project he’s launching in England. He overhears Cross’s character yelling at someone on the phone. “That’s my guy!” Except Cross wasn’t yelling at someone on the phone, he was repeating a self-help tape about how not to be a “pussy.” So David Cross goes to England to sell energy drinks.

Cross, as the titular character, is so good at being the guy has says and does all the wrong things, especially in a foreign country. Of course, he claims to be from Leeds originally, an idea he got from spotting a copy of The Who’s Live at Leeds album in someone’s music collection. It’s not just saying the wrong things though, but also his insistence on never going back on any of his lies that just ends up landing him in even more trouble.

Each episode begins with a magistrate declaring charges against poor Todd Margaret. The charges are slightly different each time, having to do with some of the unfortunate things Margaret is about to do. The first four episodes also have an epilogue about Margaret’s cat, which he left home with a giant bowl of food and no one to check in on him in Portland, OR. I laughed despite myself to see what became of the cat.

This type of humor isn’t up everyone’s alley, but fans of Cross will definitely get it. There are some British references that went over my head. Perhaps Brits will very much enjoy this series as well. It’s made in the spirit of many of the British sitcoms I’ve seen. Be warned, though. The language is quite severe, hence the TV-MA rating.

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