Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pilot Review: The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (IFC)
Premiered October 1 at 10pm

Normally, I wouldn't go out of my way to catch the premiere of a new comedy on a network like IFC, especially considering the high amount of new fall shows (despite the fact that only one comedy is anywhere near watchable) and even though a good portion of the movies I see these days are distributed by IFC Films. However, this one has a special appeal that enabled it to get more advertising than one might expect for this kind of series. It also has a link with another new comedy from this fall, and that's “Running Wilde.” In this case, David Cross is the main character and Will Arnett is the recurring scene-stealer, rather than the other way around. Comparing the two, I would say right off the bat that this show has more potential, and for its first half seems like it might be able to achieve it. By the second half, however, it devolved quickly and went too far since Cross' Todd Margaret makes enough of a fool of himself without help from his underling, and seeing him be manipulated and mocked just isn't necessary. This show is most definitely irreverent, and a bit too much so for my tastes. It's silly, and because it's not on broadcast television, it can be foul and inappropriate and get away with it pretty well. I ran out of things to say about the show about halfway through, and the fact that the first season is only slated to be six episodes is a smart move. I doubt I'll follow it since I'm not particularly attached to either Cross or Arnett, and the pilot didn't really make me smile or laugh. Did anyone catch it? If not, you can watch it via the widget on the left-hand side of this page on Amazon for $1.99.

How will it work as a series? The premise is in the title: things will get gradually worse for Todd as he continues to pretend he knows anything at all about culture and people in England. From there, it's sure to be mildly uncomfortable to painstakingly awkward, and fans of “Arrested Development” and its stars will likely enjoy it, even if it's not exactly for me.
How long will it last? Cable television in general and IFC in particular are wholly different ball games than broadcast television, and it's not an arena I know all that much about. I would posit that this show will be able to find a niche audience and remain popular for however long the creative people behind it (that would be Cross, working behind the scenes) want it to. The first six episodes should be a breeze, and if it's a success, I'm sure it will be back for another round of poor decisions by Todd Margaret.

Pilot grade: B-

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