TV review: The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

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From the December 27, 2011 edition

Watching “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” makes me uncomfortable … in a good way.

David Cross (Todd Margaret) has always been an expert at bridging funny and awkwardly unpleasant, and “Todd Margaret” may be his finest example of such shtick. Okay, Tobias Funke on “Arrested Development” is Cross’ best, but as creator, writer and star, “Todd Margaret” is his most unfiltered example of this type of humor.

Todd is more pathetic and loathsome than the never-nude actor/analyst/therapist of “Arrested Development” — if that’s possible — by being completely inept at just about everything and covering up these shortcomings with obvious and boldly outlandish lies.

During Season 1, these lies led to a number of increasingly abundant and complex hot-water circumstances. After telling his boss Brent (Will Arnett) that he spent summers in Leeds with his father, Todd is charged with selling the company’s energy drink, Thunder Muscle, to Brits. This goes incredibly poorly for Todd, culminating in many of his various lies being exposed in the finale.

Season 2 picks up immediately after Todd’s (not) dead father appears as Todd attempts to explain why his apartment looks like a murder scene — complete with “Alice’s Rape Kit” — to the police and the obviously distraught Alice (Sharon Horgan).

With Todd’s court hearing pending, we learn a little more about Dave (Blake Harrison) — who has the coolest butler ever — and find out that Todd’s lies, coupled with outside influences, seem to result in an even worse outcome this season.

Cross pulls no punches in “Todd Margaret,” creating a wildly unlikable character that’s also pretty damn funny … in a cringe-inducing sort of way.