The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

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The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
ToddMargaret.png
Genre Sitcom
Created by David Cross
Written by Shaun Pye
David Cross
Mark Chappell
Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
Alex Hardcastle
Ben Gregor
Starring
Composer(s) Johnny Marr
Country of origin United Kingdom
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 12
Production
Executive producer(s) Shaun Pye
David Cross
Clelia Mountford
Mark Chappell
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) RDF Television
IFC Original Productions
Broadcast
Original channel IFC
More4 (2010)
Fox (2013)
Picture format HDTV 720p
Original run October 1, 2010 (2010-10-01) – February 10, 2012 (2012-02-10)

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is a British-American comedy mini-series[1][2] starring David Cross, Sharon Horgan, Blake Harrison, Will Arnett, and Spike Jonze. The series is produced by IFC and RDF Television[3] and premiered on October 1, 2010, on IFC. The show comprises two seasons, totalling 12 episodes, broadcast in 2010 and 2012.

Premise[edit]

The series follows an American, Todd Margaret, who takes a job running the London sales team for the energy drink Thunder Muscle. He has no experience with British culture, knows nothing about sales, and has only one employee, Dave.

Each episode begins with a scene of Margaret appearing in dire circumstances—in season one, he is a defendant in a British court, with a long list of bizarre charges against him being read; in season two, he is in what appears to be a North Korean nuclear missile base, being forced to press a launch button—then flashes back to portray the events leading to his sad fate. Another running joke in the first season has short post-credits scenes depicting the increasing deterioration of Todd's apartment in America; despite leaving a month's worth of food and water for his cat, the cat is shown to have died in the first of these scenes, and in later episodes the apartment becomes entirely overrun with wildlife.

Cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • David Cross as Todd Margaret: An American who is promoted overnight to be chief marketer of the Thunder Muscle energy drink in the UK, a position for which he is wildly unqualified. He is quick to tell implausible lies to impress Alice or to get out of uncomfortable situations.
  • Sharon Horgan as Alice Bell: The Irish owner of a cafe near Todd's flat. She aspires to turn her cafe into a showcase for molecular gastronomy. Todd develops a crush on her the first time they meet. Although she finds him annoying and unattractive, she continually takes pity on Todd and helps him out.
  • Blake Harrison as Dave: Todd's sole employee, who often seems to take advantage of Todd's ignorance of British culture to pull pranks and make him appear foolish. As the series goes on, it is revealed he is actually David Mountford, a deranged son of a British lord. Following a bar incident, in which Todd inadvertently humiliated him, Dave arranged for Todd's (and Brent's) promotion to a management position so that he can secretly watch Todd fail at his job and life. In the original pilot episode, Dave was played by Russell Tovey.
  • Will Arnett as Brent Wilts, Todd's boss, who uses excessive profanity and promoted him impulsively, thinking he was a tough, take-no-prisoners businessman. He travels all over Europe, unsuccessfully gambling and hiring prostitutes, and expects Todd to start producing cash to support his habits immediately. However, at the end of season one, it is revealed that he was promoted the same way Todd was.
  • Spike Jonze as Doug Whitney, Todd's original boss in America, over whom Todd was promoted to become the marketer of Thunder Muscle. He suspects there is something fishy about Brent (and later Dave) and is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Steve Davis as himself: gets hired by Todd (who, following bad advice from Dave, believes him to be "bigger than Beckham") to be the "face of Thunder Muscle".
  • Colin Salmon as Hudson: Alice's Canadian ex-boyfriend who is currently in Leeds shooting an independent film. Todd's jealousy of Hudson prompts him to extreme behaviour in a futile attempt to monopolize Alice's attention. Hudson is quite blunt about having little respect for Todd. His film also seems not to have been received well by the local British population.
  • Amber Tamblyn as Stephanie Daley: a girl who had a drunken one-night stand with Todd. Also plays a news reporter by the same name.
  • Russ Tamblyn as Chuck Margaret: Todd's father who comes to Britain after seeing Todd's debacle at the Remembrance Day ceremony, deciding Todd "needed a hand". Chuck is slightly less bumbling than Todd.
  • Jon Hamm as himself: Dave's personal servant at his mansion, listed simply as "Dave's Employee" in the credits. However, it is later revealed that the character is in fact a fictionalized version of the real Jon Hamm, having had his services bought out from the Mad Men production by Dave to record the "self-help" CDs that Todd and Brent use.
  • Sara Pascoe as Pam: Todd's pregnant, promiscuous neighbor.

2009 pilot[edit]

The series originated as an episode of Channel 4's Comedy Showcase in November 2009.[4] This backdoor pilot follows the same narrative arc as the season one premiere episode. The Dave Mountford character is played by Russell Tovey. Tovey's obligations to the show Being Human conflicted with the subsequent sitcom. The role was recast with Blake Harrison and Tovey's scenes were reshot. Additionally, the pilot episode length was 24 minutes rather than the series 22 minute length.

Episodes[edit]

Season 1: 2010[edit]

Season Episode Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
1 1 "In Which Claims Are Made and a Journey Ensues" Anthony & Joe Russo (original pilot)
Alex Hardcastle (first episode)
Shaun Pye & David Cross October 1, 2010 (2010-10-01) (US)
November 14, 2010 (2010-11-14) (UK)
#101

Part-time office temp Todd Margaret is unexpectedly chosen to lead the UK launch of Thunder Muscle, a new North Korean energy drink of suspicious contents. Despite help from his new acquaintances, Dave and Alice, Todd struggles to make inroads.

Note: 2 versions of this episode exist. The first, with Russell Tovey as Dave, aired on Channel 4's Comedy Showcase in the UK on November 27, 2009. Tovey's scenes were reshot with Blake Harrison when the full series went into production. 
1 2 "A Plan Is Hatched and a Date Is Not a Date" Alex Hardcastle Shaun Pye & David Cross October 8, 2010 (2010-10-08) (US)
November 21, 2010 (2010-11-21) (UK)
#102
Todd's new boss, Brent Wilts, turns up the heat to sell Thunder Muscle, so Todd hatches a plan to crack the British retail market, but he leaves the practical execution to Dave because he thinks he's scored a first date with Alice. 
1 3 "The Snooker Player, the Black Canadian, the Turkish Terrorist, and the Peanut" Alex Hardcastle Shaun Pye & David Cross October 15, 2010 (2010-10-15) (US)
November 28, 2010 (2010-11-28) (UK)
#103
Todd decides to launch Thunder Muscle with an advertisement featuring a celebrity endorsement; Dave sets up the meeting. Meanwhile, Todd's "relationship" with Alice goes to the next level: dinner at her flat 
1 4 "In Which Brent Wilts Arrives and Things Take a Turn for the Worse" Alex Hardcastle Shaun Pye & David Cross October 22, 2010 (2010-10-22) (US)
December 5, 2010 (2010-12-05) (UK)
#104
Wilts arrives in London demanding all the money from Thunder Muscle sales. Todd oversees the filming of his commercial and it seems he finally makes a breakthrough but...no. 
1 5 "Where Todd and Brent Misjudge the Mood of a Solemn Day" Alex Hardcastle Shaun Pye & David Cross October 29, 2010 (2010-10-29) (US)
December 12, 2010 (2010-12-12) (UK)
#105
With Wilts now maniacally demanding results, Todd finally takes initiative with a publicity stunt guaranteed to get Britain buzzing about Thunder Muscle. Meanwhile, Todd's former boss, Doug, is embarking on an investigation into Wilts's past. 
1 6 "What Can Only Be Considered a Dreadful Day for Todd" Alex Hardcastle Shaun Pye & David Cross November 5, 2010 (2010-11-05) (US)
December 19, 2010 (2010-12-19) (UK)
#106
Todd's world is falling apart, so he makes a final desperate bid for Alice's affections with even more spectacular lies. The various calamities Todd has embroiled himself in are starting to come to a head. 

Season 2: 2012[edit]

Season Episode Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
2 1 "Todd’s Terrible Day Ends and His Next Terrible Day Begins" Ben Gregor Story: Shaun Pye & David Cross
Teleplay: Shaun Pye & David Cross & Mark Chappell
January 6, 2012 (2012-01-06) (US)
March 5, 2013 (2013-03-05) (UK)
#201

Picking up directly where season one left off, Todd has a lot of explaining to do: What was he doing in the Houses of Parliament? Why is there a blood-stained cardboard box on his floor that is labelled ALICE RAPE KIT? And what is his father doing outside the door if he supposedly died in a skydiving accident?

Trying to talk his way out of trouble, Todd only makes matters worse. As if things weren't bad enough, a giant supermarket chain wants to sue Todd for 10 million pounds and the police want to question a man fitting Todd's description in connection with the sudden death of a Member of Parliament. 
2 2 "Todd and his Valet Arrive in Leeds and What They Saw There" Ben Gregor Story: Shaun Pye & David Cross
Teleplay: Shaun Pye & David Cross & Mark Chappell
January 13, 2012 (2012-01-13) (US)
March 12, 2013 (2013-03-12) (UK)
#202

Todd and Dave decide to take a trip to sell some Thunder Muscle. On the way, they stop at La Molecule, Alice's favorite restaurant, in an attempt to convince the chef to hire Alice so Todd can regain her favour. Todd complicates things by spinning a ridiculous lie.

Todd arrives just in time for his big meeting with the chairman of the toughest rugby team in England. Having mere minutes to seal the deal of his career, and knowing nothing about rugby, Todd makes yet another poor decision. 
2 3 "How The Liver and The Salad Conspired to Ruin Todd’s Good Deed" Ben Gregor Story: Shaun Pye & David Cross
Teleplay: Shaun Pye & David Cross & Mark Chappell
January 20, 2012 (2012-01-20) (US)
March 19, 2013 (2013-03-19) (UK)
#203

High on morphine, Todd mistakes a small teddy bear for Hudson, Alice's former boyfriend, whom he rightly suspects of trying to win her back. Desperate to make it to La Molecule before Hudson, Todd steals a test tube of toxic spores on the way.

Meanwhile, Brent Wilts and Doug Whitney, Todd's former boss back in Oregon, team up to track down the malevolent force that is "Mountford." 
2 4 "In Which Todd Accidentally Learns a Secret and Brent and Doug Get Closer to Further From the Truth" Ben Gregor Story: Shaun Pye & David Cross
Teleplay: Shaun Pye & David Cross & Mark Chappell
January 27, 2012 (2012-01-27) (US)
March 26, 2013 (2013-03-26) (UK)
#204

Wondering if she had the wrong idea about him, Alice visits Todd.

After Todd's father leaves the country, Todd seeks solace in a pub, but instead finds himself enmeshed in a night of unimaginable debauchery in a hen party from hell. 
2 5 "The Crime Scene, The Storyteller and the Sanctimonious Tower of Morality" Ben Gregor Story: Shaun Pye & David Cross
Teleplay: Shaun Pye & David Cross & Mark Chappell
February 3, 2012 (2012-02-03) (US)
April 2, 2013 (2013-04-02) (UK)
#205

After a disastrous night, Todd finds himself in an even more disastrous situation.

Alice is forced to run from the law when the police see the unauthorized liquor license Todd gave her. Trying to clear her name, Alice goes looking for Todd to have it out with him only to find him on television and in police custody. 
2 6 "Conclusion" Ben Gregor Story: Shaun Pye & David Cross
Teleplay: Shaun Pye & David Cross & Mark Chappell
February 10, 2012 (2012-02-10) (US)
April 9, 2013 (2013-04-09) (UK)
#206
Todd is on trial for his life. The public wants him to hang and that seems the most likely outcome. A number of "friendly" witnesses are called to the stand but each one backfires. Meanwhile, Alice struggles to find the evidence needed to clear both their names and is in a race against time to make it to the courthouse. 

Production[edit]

The show was created by David Cross and written by Cross and Shaun Pye.[5] The first season premiered October 1, 2010 on IFC in the U.S.;[6] and on More4 in the UK on November 14, 2010.[7] The second season was broadcast on Fox in the UK from March 5, 2013. David Cross announced that season 2 would be the final season, despite the network's wish for a third season.[8]

The pilot was aired in the UK as an episode of the Channel 4 series Comedy Showcase. Scenes from the first episode were re-shot after the Channel 4 airing when the part of Margaret's assistant, Dave, was recast with Blake Harrison.[9] Russell Tovey, who played the character in the original pilot, was no longer available when the series went into production.[10]

The show reunites Cross with Arrested Development co-star Will Arnett; the two also appear together on the Fox sitcom Running Wilde, which premiered before, but was produced after, Todd Margaret.

David Cross mentioned on WTF with Marc Maron that he put his own money into financing the show.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reiher, Andrea (October 1, 2010). "'Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret's' David Cross: 'It's not like 'Lost". Zap2it. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Arrested Development Movie In Outer Space?". Perez Hilton. August 6, 2010. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ IFC press release - TV By The Numbers
  4. ^ "Channel 4 Comedy Showcase 2009". Channel 4. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "More4 looking to order a full series of Todd Margaret" - The British Comedy Guide
  6. ^ "Fall TV Preview" - Zap2It.com
  7. ^ The Increasing Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret - David on Sharon & Blake on YouTube - Channel 4 YouTube channel
  8. ^ Modell, Josh (2012-01-06). "David Cross | TV | Random Roles". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  9. ^ 'Todd Margaret' pilot reshot without Tovey - Digital Spy
  10. ^ David Cross interview - Movie Web
  11. ^ "Episode 269 - David Cross"

External links[edit]