Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

Smell the Movies
Smell the TV

Transmitted:October 2010 - February 2012
Country of origin:USA / UK
Oddball comedy / fish out of water
Starring:David Cross, Sharon Horgan, Will Arnett, Blake Harrison
No. of seasons:2

British American co-production, featuring known comedy faces from both sides of The Atlantic.

The plot:
Lowly American temp worker Todd Margaret (David Cross) is mistakenly believed by his boss Brent Wilts (Will Arnett) to be a hard hitting, foul-mouthed, womanising, heavy drinking wanker.
Perfect, then, for a sales push in a new, foreign territory: London.
Arriving in Old Blighty, Margaret struggles to come to terms with….well anything really.
We watch on as, episode by episode, his life heads inexorably towards what the title sequence tells us is his fate: appearing in court on a series of serious, life altering charges.

It’s a mixed bag, that’s for sure.
Trans-continental co-productions have got a rocky history. The New Avengers was pretty decent until they headed off to Canada. Doctor Who always seems forced when played out on foreign soil, be it Amsterdam, Paris or Chicago. And don’t get me started on that episode of Emmerdale set on the Galapagos Islands.
Throwing pretty much every style of comedy at the screen in the hope that some of it will stick, this is patchy stuff, but never less than interesting and, in a strange kind of way, it is the very fact that it is absolutely all over the place that holds the attention.
Truthfully, you have no idea what is going to happen next, be it from a comedic point of view, or plot-wise, and that’s a good thing. It’s just…well….the gear changes are occasionally too dramatic for the brain to handle, so used are we to being spoon-fed formulaic drivel that, when something comes along to challenge those preconceptions, it can take a while to catch up.
With an amazing cast of comedy talent, both from here and the US – Cross and Arnett were both regulars on the excellent American show Arrested Development, then there’s Sharon ‘Annually Retentive’ and, by the way, yes you would Horgan and Blake ‘The Inbetweeners’ Harrison – and a genuinely baffling cameo from snooker’s Steve Davis, this is wacky with a small wubble-u, so more than tolerable.
If the thought of American comedy leaves you cold, and the prospect of British comedy makes you shift uncomfortably in your chair, this may very well be the antidote.
But be warned: expect weirdness.

Find an episode guide here:

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