Why Arrested Development Fans Need To Know The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret Is The Best Show They’ve Never Seen

poor todd

If you guys are anything like me, and let’s be honest, you are,  when you finally wrapped up the BRILLIANT fourth season of Arrested Development, you felt a slight twinge of panic rising up in your chest. Why? Because you knew in finishing that season, that there really wouldn’t be any television that would touch on the brilliance of what you just watched. As Cracked so astutely said in this article, season four really was one the best seasons of anything on TV, ever.

Why? Because they wrote it out like a book, and to see the way the final episode tied into the first episode of the season was nothing short of staggering in its scope and how well it worked. But what if I told you there is a show on Netflix right now that is, seriously, as brilliant as Arrested Development? As overstuffed with running jokes and subtle gags as Arrested, and containing a few of your favorite characters from that show, as well. While you may assume I meant actors, I didn’t. It really is like David Cross wanted to take his Tobias character to other shores, and the end result is comedy gold. So you say you want a great show to watch post season four of Arrested Development? Well, without question, that show is The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret.

Generally, my main fix when I go through Arrested Development withdrawal (which HAS happened before) is I try to find shows or movies that star various cast members. Why? Because all Arrested Development did was play up each of those actors strengths. In essence, Will Arnett is ALWAYS Gob. The cocky guy who may not be as smart as he is trying to make you believe but damn if you don’t get caught up in his lies. And Tobias, for example, is obviously playing to David Cross’ genius physical comedy, as well as his social awkwardness. While he may be an exaggerated version of himself, it still tends to cross over into his other character work. It was for this reason alone that I turned my attention to The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, not knowing just how perfect the show would be as a follow up to Arrested Development.


It will suck you in quick, I can promise you that.

So The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is about a shlub names Todd Margaret, who really is not that good at anything, and gets handed the reigns to sell an energy drink overseas in England. Thing is, he knows nothing about sales. And knows nothing about England. And the energy drink he is shilling over there is, well, not exactly high quality (to put it mildly and not give anything away). What we then see is the exact title of the show play out before our eyes. Todd knows he is in over his head right away, and instead of addressing it, he just starts stacking lies on top of lies on top of lies. Oh, and Todd Margaret is a TERRIBLE liar. He also has the same fumbling social awkwardness that seem to be prevalent in everything Tobias Funke did. Also, the boss who sent him to England is played by Will Arnett. Think Gob, but with forty times more ego and no filter. This is Gob, but this is Gob telling you to do your job or he is gonna f*ck your Mother in front of you. So, really, if Arrested Development is Gob on volume four, this show is Gob on volume 20, after doing coke off a hooker’s ass. So Gob at his best, essentially.


And yes, that is the always brilliant Spike Jonze, who is also a crew member on this sinking ship of awesome.

The real catch for this show, though, outside of the amazing talent, setting, and story, is the running joke of Todd’s life, and how he just keeps making it collapse in on itself more and more, and no matter what he does. So in essence, just like with season four of Arrested, if someone jumps in on the third episode of the second season, they may very well have some laughs, but nothing like the laughs of those who have watched since episode one, and can see how every single thing connects with every single thing. Warning, if awkward Michael Scott moments from The Office (British and remake, actually) make you cringe, this show will have you shutting your eyes and wincing. It is that level of discomfort found in The Office, turned way the fuck up. But at its heart, that is what makes the show work. Hell, that is the title. The show lets you know, right off the jump, that things were gonna get worse and worse for Todd, and boy, do they. To Shakespearean levels of tragedy, actually. Aw, you gotta love the tragic comedy. A concept I never understood until life started shitting all over me, and all I could do was laugh.


I really don’t think David Cross gets the credit he deserves for how brilliant his physical comedy is.

The last thing I really need to talk about to finish selling you the show (like a case of “Thunder Muscle”) is the cast. And yes, David Cross (who also wrote the show) is the center of attention, but the supporting player’s club is so brilliant, it is actually hard to have a favorite character on this show (which was my Arrested Development curse as well). As I mentioned, you also have Will Arnett as, well, Will Arnett, but playing that up to awesome new extremes, as seen here:


The Mrs. Doubtfire line is golden, and a definite nod to David Cross doing the same bit in Arrested Development.

And yes, that IS the enigmatic and ever-awesome Spike Jonze, totally stealing the show in the few scenes he is in, as the tepid worker bee, Doug Whitney. I won’t ruin the nuances of his performance, or the evolution of his character across the show, but trust me, there is an evolution. I also want to shout out actress Sharon Horgan, who plays cafe owner Alice Bell, who Todd has an ever-growing crush on. She never fails to be charming on a show filled with people who are anything but. She also is interested in molecular gastronomy, which they make many running gags about, some of which only true foodies will appreciate. She seems to have no interest in the fumbling American, yet can’t help but take some pity in him a bit, so she shows him kindness, when no one else will.

hamm steak

You have NEVER seen John Hamm like you will see him on this show. ‘Nuff said.

Also, HUGE nod to John Hamm who is also in this show. I won’t say anymore than that, and you won’t get a reveal as to why he is on the show until into the second season, but when they finally deliver the punchline to why John Hamm is there, you will only love the guy that much more. Really, Hamm might steal the whole show, and he is on it for a collected ten minutes at best.


The best part is I totally thought of a 90’s modem, too.

So you take Tobias, get rid of the homosexual undertones, but you keep the social awkwardness and gift to make unintentionally innuendo laden dialogue and bad choices. Then you send him to England to sell some unmarketable shit. You make Gob his boss, who sends him there under the assumption he is much smarter than he is, because he, too, is stupid. You add in the charm of Katherine Keener’s character from The 40 Year Old Virgin, and throw in some Spike Jonze and John Hamm just to keep shit hip and fresh. You add the writing brilliance and running gag humor style of Arrested Development, with a wholly fun and original take on the fish out of water concept and what a “tangled web we weave” adage. And then you put it all in a blender, hit puree, and you pretty much have the makings of a perfect show. Yes, I just called it that. It really is THAT good. So good, I used THAT line, again.


Elllo Guv’NAH!

And I genuinely believe you will be calling it perfect after you’ve see the show, too. And if you disagree,you know where I live, and you know where to complain. But know beforehand, every complaint gets a free case of thunder muscle, and if you knew anything about this shit, you know you’d want it as far away from you as possible at all times.

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  1. I took me almost the entire 1st season to start to like this show. At first I watched it for the WTF factor but really hated it and thought it was stupid. I think I kept waiting for Todd’s ah-ha moment but it never materialized and things kept getting worse for him. Once I started to realize what the background story was really about that’s when I got hooked. It wasn’t until the second season that I realized that I had to watch it again and the realization that there will be no 3rd season started to make me sad.

  2. Yeah, I think I made it four episodes and took it off the DVR. I did like the ever downward spiral Cross seemed to put himself in, but, after a while, I need something more to keep me watching, and it just never developed.

  3. Ah, Remy, you and I are kindred spirits (such an awful,awful thing) and although many times I think I am no longer in sync with you it always returns ten-fold. Don’t remember how I stumbled onto this show some time ago but I became infatuated with it. When the second season emerged I was ecstatic, such a great show. Don’t think it’ll continue since it never got much attention but the 2 seasons are so good.

  4. I remember watching the first series several years ago when it first came out in the UK.Cringe worthy brilliance!I’d always assumed it didn’t get renewed for a second series.I shall have to get on it!
    Thanks for highlighting that it still exists!

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