By The Madrina
Thanks to Roadshow Entertainment, we had the chance to see a hilarious new comedy called The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.
Written by David Cross (Arrested Development), Shaun Pye (The Jonathan Ross Show) and Mark Chappell (A Young Doctor’s Notebook), David Cross stars as Todd Margaret, a clueless American worker bluffing his way into a seemingly great job opportunity, heading up the sales team for an energy drink called Thunder Muscles in his employer’s London office. With no experience in sales and zero knowledge about British culture, Todd finds himself in compromising situations where his tendency to lie and poor decisions to cover his ignorance lands him in worse troubles…at the court.
Each episode begins with Todd sitting in court, listening to the charges being laid against him as the story unfolds to show how he screwed up again and offended the British population time after time. Aside from spectacularly failing to impress Alice (Sharon Horgan), a beautiful girl he met in the local cafeteria, his continuously disastrous sales effort eventually raises his boss Brent Wilts’ (Will Arnett) suspicion of his true capability in the task. This is all then taken advantage of by his only British staff Dave (Blake Harrison) who pulls pranks and makes Todd look foolish for his own amusement and fun.
Utilising the comic sense of an idiot abroad, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is a sketch comedy combining American and British humour to explore intercultural misunderstandings. Enacted by a wonderful cast, each actor creates a distinguishing, memorable yet everyday kind of character that magically interplays with each other. Starting from the genuinely benevolent Todd who inadvertently does wrong, to the all-knowing Dave who delights in other peoples’ miseries and absurdities; or the nice-girl-next-door Alice who finds Todd annoying and unattractive but still pities and helps him out, to the fiery Brent Wilts who abuses the hell out of everyone to do what he wants.
Even the minor roles leave an impression on you such as Steve Davis cameo for the energy drink ad; Colin Salmon as Alice’s hunky cool ex; Sarah Pascoe as Todd’s intolerable, promiscuous and pregnant neighbour; and Spike Jonze as Todd’s old pushover boss Doug who is determined to turn Wilts out. Thus the highlight of this show is definitely its interesting mix of people, personalities and dynamics.
The material is a strong point, too as you can tell a lot of thoughts have gone into the script for every scene, making them seem as spontaneous, natural and witty as possible, especially where Todd and Dave rehearses to sell their energy drinks to the public. This also owes to each actor’s creative, funny improvisations throughout shooting whose ingenious one-liners captures the essence of the show.
The DVD has special features, including an extended version of Episode 1 (Pilot), Q and A’s with Cast and Crew, Bloopers, Deleted Scenes, An Act of Todd (Behind the scenes), DVD Extra Extras and In Remembrance of the Late David Cross (even though he’s still alive the last time we checked?!)
Overall, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is a fun comedy to watch, especially if you love slapstick, an idiot abroad and cross-cultural type of humour (each episode ends amusingly too!) And we guarantee you its clever, catchy theme song will stick with you long after you finish the show.
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is out on DVD in Australia, on 6 February 2013.