Skip to main content

Culture Clash: Brief Thoughts on IFC's The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

I really wanted to like IFC's David Cross-led comedy The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, a co-production with Channel 4's More4 in the UK.

After all, the series was created by Cross and Shaun Pye (Extras) and stars Cross, Will Arnett, The Inbetweeners's Blake Harrison, and Sharon Horgan (Pulling). So I should really love it as I would seem to be the target audience for such a dark and depraved comedy of errors set against a backdrop of cultural differences between Americans and Brits.

But try though I might, there's something entirely off about Todd Margaret, at least in the three episodes that were submitted to the press for review. I couldn't shake off the feeling that this wasn't so much the story of an American adrift in England but rather an effort to smash together US and UK comedy styles. It doesn't quite gel, however. The effect feels a bit like a traditional US sitcom and a quirky UK one at the same time but also like neither.

Which isn't to say that there aren't a few laughs, because there are a few chuckles to be had here now and then.

Cross' titular character, salesman Todd Margaret, finds himself stranded abroad in an unfamiliar country when his new boss (Arnett) sends him to Blighty to hawk unsafe energy drinks to a new market. Upon arriving, this sad sack manages to blisteringly burn his hand, meet adorable cafe owner Alice (Horgan), have his luggage blown up, and then wet himself after his manipulative assistant Dave (Harrison) convinces him to drink several Thunder Muscle drinks. After which he wets himself and causes significant damage to the cafe.

The subsequent episodes--all of which begin with a courtroom scene in which a litany of charges against Todd are being read--continues the same themes as Todd tries to blend in (terribly), is played a fool by Dave again and again, and attempts to woo Alice, all while pretending (A) to be a local lad from Leeds, (B) have a dead father, and (C) know what he's doing at all.

The over-the-top situations that follow attempt to approximate some element of satire or farce but Todd Margaret is such a sad sack, so horrifically ill-at-ease with everyone around him (and himself), and so utterly clueless, that the air is taken out of the sails more than a little bit.

In other words, what this flabby comedy needs is some muscle.

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret begins tonight at 10 pm ET/PT on IFC.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BuzzFeed: "The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now"

The CBS legal drama, now in its sixth season, continually shakes up its narrative foundations and proves itself fearless in the process. Spoilers ahead, if you’re not up to date on the show. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now," in which I praise CBS' The Good Wife and, well, hail it as the best show currently on television. (Yes, you read that right.) There is no need to be delicate here: If you’re not watching The Good Wife, you are missing out on the best show on television. I won’t qualify that statement in the least — I’m not talking about the best show currently airing on broadcast television or outside of cable or on premium or however you want to sandbox this remarkable show. No, the legal drama is the best thing currently airing on any channel on television. That The Good Wife is this perfect in its sixth season is reason to truly celebrate. Few shows embrace complexity and risk-taking in t

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it