Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, season 2 (2012) ***

TV-MA, 6 22-min. episodes
Creator: David Cross
Director: Ben Gregor
Writers: David Cross, Shaun Pye, Mark Chappell
Starring: David Cross, Sharon Horgan, Will Arnett, Blake Harrison
Guest starring: Jon Hamm, Russ Tamblyn, Sara Pascoe, Peter Serafinowicz, Colin Salmon, Catherine Shepherd, Justin Edwards, Juliet Cowan, Graham Duff, Steve Davis, Ben Gregor, William Hoyland, Mark Heap, Amber Tamblyn, Spike Jonze

The first season of David Cross’s farce “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” played like a car crash. Everything Cross’s moronic Margaret did was a disaster. He was offensive, stupid, crass, bigoted, prejudiced, ignorant, and just plain wrong. Parts of his behavior were difficult to watch. His actions and words were often quease-inducing, and yet you just had to watch to see what terrible thing he would do next. The show barreled along, stacking every poor decision on top of the last until you couldn’t believe he could do anything worse. Then it ended. It was off the air for quite a while.

Season two of the series picks up at the very spot season one stopped. Margaret continues to make poor decisions, but not quite at the rate that he did the previous season. Also his supporting cast starts making decisions just as questionable. I heard from some fans that this season just kind of wrapped everything up from the first season. It does do that, but it also has a good deal of its own story to tell. In some ways it’s more satisfying because it actually does answer the many questions brought up by the first season, including finally realizing the opening sequences from the first season.

Season two plays a little smoother than season one if not quite as offensively. In some ways I liked this season better. This first season made me just as uncomfortable as it did make me laugh. The discomfort really isn’t there this season. Part of that is knowing what I was getting into. Season two also incorporates more traditional story elements, like the actual resolution of its conflicts.

There are also some pretty fun guest appearances this season. Spike Jonze reprises his role from the first season on a much larger scale. Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” has a funny turn as a servant who actually turns out to really be Jon Hamm. And Russ Tamblyn is a good addition as Todd Margaret’s father.

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