We are in a golden age of television. We are also in an age of excess. As such, we often have to pick and choose what we watch, because we simply don’t have enough time to watch everything that is good. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of great shows slip through the cracks. As a fan of TV, who watches much more TV than the regular person, I am always sad to see some of the best TV shows slip so far beneath the radar that they become obscure and unknown. In an effort to improve the standing of some of these “lost” shows, I have decided to create Spotlight, a new Feature series at TVEnthusiast. Spotlight will be a regular article series that, with each iteration, pleads the case of a different series that has somehow slipped under the radar.
It has come to my attention that every Spotlight feature we have released so far has focused on a show with a 1 word title. We started with Rectify, then moved on to Babylon, with Hannibal ending, we covered that series as well, and last week we covered Banshee. In order to (ahem) rectify (ahem) this single word title dilemma, we have picked a suitably named series for our 5th Spotlight feature.
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
IFC’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is co-produced by IFC and RDF Television. The series was created by David Cross (Arrested Development), who also stars in the series, and is written by the American Cross and British Comic Shaun Pye (8 out of 10 Cats). The series is one of a number of co-productions between the UK and the US which films in London.
What is The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret?
So what is The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret? The story follows an American sales executive, Todd, who is quickly elevated beyond his position to a job in the UK, running the sales team of an energy drink. From there, Todd makes 1 horrible decision after another, many related to the lies upon lies used to defend his many lies. These lies end up slowly burying Todd in an increasingly deep metaphorical hole. Lies upon lies, leading to perpetually worse circumstances, that is the source of humor behind The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, which is, in essence, pure schadenfreude.
What makes The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret good?
Much of what makes The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret work can directly be attributed to the series star and creator David Cross, who is almost too good in this sort of role. Though special attention should also be paid to the LOST-esque world building and constantly unfolding mysteries towards something deeper and larger dwelling beneath the surface (especially in season 2). Todd Margaret is a show about a man who finds himself perpetually digging his own grave without realizing it. The cast is strong, with Cross joined by Margaret’s sole employee Dave, as portrayed by Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners), a young British man who seems more interested in advancing Margaret’s self destruction than in his role in the company. Dave also has a hilariously awesome backstory that I will not spoil. Also in the cast is Cross’ long time friend and Arrested Development co-star Will Arnett, who plays Brent Wilts, Margaret’s foul mouthed trouble making Boss who promoted him to his current position, mistaking him for a tough businessman after hearing Todd repeat lines from a self help audiobook. The series even features Mad Men Actor Jon Hamm, as a version of himself, a hilarious role tied to another character in the series. With a great cast, a far reaching premise, and the deeper-than-it-needs-to-be backstory behind many of the larger events of the series, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is a uniquely hilarious dark comedy.
Why is The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret featured on Spotlight.
Though the series is not in any great risk of cancellation, nor need of greater success, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is still largely an unknown series by many people, including fans of series Creator/Star David Cross. As an IFC production, the show is drawing from a limited pool of viewers, but that is a shame considering the passions of those involved in the project. Series creator David Cross has even invested a good amount of his own money into the production of the series, because he believes in it so deeply. The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is aiming at a very small audience, so the reaction to the series is hardly a disappointment, but it also means that the series won’t get the kind of critical coverage it deserves. This is the sad fate of a project with such a finely edged focus. Thankfully, we live in an age in which a series like The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret can exist, and survive on the niche audience it services.
Should I Watch The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret?
Do you enjoy uncomfortable dark comedies in which the main character is the source of his own undoing? That is what The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is. Often cringe inducing, the series made me want to reach into the screen, grab Margaret by the shoulders, and shake him violently. On the downside, this kind of humor can often be stressful, so if you just want something to sit back with and enjoy, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret might not be for you. On the other hand, if you want a comedy that you can invest in, that goes deeper, and that allows you a great amount of schadenfreude, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret might just be the show you have been waiting for.
The first 2 seasons of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret are available to stream on Netflix. A 6 episode 3rd season has been ordered, with a 2015 release date on IFC.
What do you think of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret? Have you watched the series? Are you interested? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, and all of your favorite shows.