The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret Review: Arresting Comedy
Comedy Showcase: The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret Friday 27th November, Channel 4, 10.05pm ALERT ME
What’s the worst business trip you’ve ever taken?
Mine was working 18 hours one day only to spend the night in a cupboard-sized room in a Bristol Travelodge with no heating, but it pales into insignificance when compared to Todd Margaret’s time in London, as David Cross returns to our screens in this new comedy pilot for Channel 4.
Cross plays Todd Margaret, a spineless drip of a man mistakenly promoted by his tyrannical boss (Arrested Development co-star Will Arnett looking eerily like Hugo Weaving), a man that could give Malcolm Tucker from In The Loop a run for his money in the swearing stakes. His boss overhears him talking tough while listening to a motivational CD and mistakenly thinks that he’s the man for the job – heading up a new department in the UK selling cans of Thundermuscle, a dubious Korean energy drink.
Carted off to London, Todd finds himself at odds with not only the natives including a hilarious spat with a London cabbie (always reliable Peep Show regular Matt King), but incapable of performing the simplest tasks. So within minutes of arriving, he’s managed to severely burn his hand and have his luggage destroyed by the anti-terrorist squad.
This isn’t helped by his only employee Dave (Russell Tovey), a feckless layabout who shows him no respect and who’s intent on creating confrontational situations for Todd without him realising. His only salvation appears to be Alice (Sharon Horgan), the sarcastic owner of a local café who takes pity on him, despite making a terrible first impression.
In the same way that Arrested Development was constantly amusing and peppered with moments of genius, Increasing Poor Decisions raises smiles, if not belly laughs for most of its duration. It does have occasional scenes that are pure comedy gold though – the scene in which Todd gets tanked up on six cans of energy drink and screams an abuse-laden sales pitch at a café full of stunned patrons will stay with you long after you’ve stopped watching.
It’s a good cringe-comedy, not quite in the same league as Peep Show (still for my money the best comedy series of the last 10 years), but a great diversion if you can’t find any repeats of Arrested Development on Paramount Comedy.
Being as the episode starts with him in court being charged with conspiracy to cause explosions, funding a terrorist organisation, treason, blackmail and possession of biological weapons, it seems like it’s only going to get worse for Todd. Watch this space.