After two series (and we can call them series, not seasons – this is a British programme) and twelve episodes, we waved goodbye to poor Todd Margaret earlier this week on FOX.
(Warning: spoilers, probably)
How is it possible for one man’s life to descend so quickly into madness and prison? That’s what the American supposedly born in Leeds, Todd Margaret asks himself at the start of every episode as a list of his criminal charges is read out in court. All he wanted to do was head up the Thunder Muscle marketing campaign in the UK; a promotion which neither he nor his new boss Brent Wilts saw coming. As things begin to take a strange turn in England, Todd must power through to get the cans sold assisted only by his sole employee, Dave; his unrequited crush Alice and…Steve Davis.
In Todd Margaret, David Cross has created an absolutely ruthless and unapologetic farce; Cross clearly has some love for the English style of twisted storytelling given the plot’s setting here. While not a huge fan of farce, I do recognise that the suspension of disbelief can be ignored if you’re invested enough in the characters – or at the very least, their actors’ performances. And that is exactly what makes Margaret great.
When there are so many plates in the air close to falling at any time, you really need that cast to hold them up – and they’re held up brilliantly by Cross and his co-stars Will Arnett (both appeared in Arrested Development, but you knew that already), Sharon Horgan – whose take-no-prisoners attitude drops only and brilliantly at the right time for Margaret to be at his most pathetic – and Blake Harrison who is brilliant as Dave; a simple bloke with a slow-burning secret.
‘Snucker’ player Steve Davis is also fantastic as himself, the celebrity endorser of the weaponized energy drink Thunder Muscle – while Jon Hamm of Mad Men pops up for a couple of cameos as an associate of Dave’s, which were probably my favourite scenes of all.
Oh, and – Spike Jonze! The weird goofy-looking bloke from that Fatboy Slim video where they’re dancing outside the cinema? You probably know him better as a film director, but it’s his performance as nosy investigative employee Doug Whitney which bring the plot strands together which are crucial and so well-played. I didn’t even realise it was him until I looked it up after watching the final episode!
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is definitely one I’d recommend thanks to its brilliant cast and increasingly brilliant comic moments.