Season Analysis: More so than even its decidedly idiosyncratic first season, the second and final season of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret was thoroughly unpredictable from scene to scene, which was generally maddening, but occasionally satisfying, and led to a conclusion that felt like it was planned all along but also felt like it came from out of nowhere.
“The Crime Scene, The Storyteller, and the Sanctimonious Tower of Morality”
I got the sense about halfway through Todd Margaret’s first season that David Cross did not really know how long he wanted this passion project of his to last. He had enough ideas to last a few, if not several, seasons, but it seemed to have a small-scale structure appropriate for a one-season miniseries. Thus, season 2 did not feature any particularly great episode of television, and “The Crime Scene…” was not really an exception, but it is an episode worth highlighting, thanks especially to Graham Duff’s impressively committed performance as Todd’s peculiarly English pedophile cellmate. Also, there was Spike Jonze getting all Sherlock Holmes-ian.
“In Which Claims are Made and a Journey Ensues”
As I am most familiar with David Cross from his work as the inimitable Tobias Fünke from Arrested Development, I think of his comedy as mainly derived from clueless, accidental wordplay. So it was a pleasant surprise when I beheld his skills at physical comedy during the best scene of the initial six-episode run of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, in which, as Todd Margaret, he went over the edge of the edge as he attempted to sell the lethal energy drink “Thunder Muscle” to a café filled with elderly English folk. Each episode had its moments of Todd epically failing at everything and yet still coming off as strangely sweet, but Episode 1 stood out thanks to this showcase of comic genius. Goaded by his sole “employee” Dave into drinking more and more Thunder Muscle as he makes his pitch, Todd reaches into the deepest reaches of his id as he offends everyone present with graphic descriptions, strange cultural slurs, and the threat (and ultimate occurrence) of accidental violence. (Here is the clip of that scene from the original pilot that aired in the UK.)
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