With some 48 odd hours to go til IFC's premiere of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, our hopes are high.
Once thrown into the scrap-heap of rejected US pilots, the UK's C4 (not to be confused with S4C, the Welsh language channel — though Byw yn ôl y Llyfr can't be missed) aired David Cross' original pilot in 2009 to wide, largely viral, acclaim. Now, with a partially re-shot pilot, Todd Margaret is getting its shot at primetime. While Outsourced, Running Wilde and Raising Hope have registered lukewarm with viewers, Todd Margaret (an American show, produced and written by Americans, which originally aired in the UK, filmed in the UK with a partially British cast) faces an interesting dilemma.
It's appeal has to remain co-cultural, it either has to shed or embrace the low-budget, viral sensibility of its pilot, and after the show's long, almost Dickensian history, Todd Margaret now has to distinguish itself from Fall 2010's comedy lineup to avoid getting the already swinging network axe. Here are the tips we've come up with to keep Todd Margaret both around and good:
Utilize Blake Harrison like there's no tomorrow
Blake Harrison's dim-witted Neil off of The Inbetweeners has to be the most lovable teenage boy since Brian Krakow, and he's set to take on the role of David (played in the original pilot by Russell Tovey). Please, Mr Cross, will you milk this lanky charm-bucket for all he's worth.
Walk the Anglo-American comedy tightrope
This shouldn't be terribly hard. In the UK, American sitcoms have well and truly shared the spotlight with the native lineup. Likewise, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm and — sigh — Family Guy are secured in the pantheon of UK university dorm entertainment from Stirling to Swansea. Upright Citizen's Brigade's Dave Hill and all-American Youtube sensation Bo Burnham were the stars of 2010's Edinburgh Fringe. And every self-respecting American twenty-something can recite full episodes of Peep Show on command. The comedy boiling pot stretched well across the pond — as evidence with Todd Margaret's very resurrection. But not only out of some sense of gratitude does Todd Margaret need to maintain its appeal to a British audience — Todd's clumsy venture into UK retail is the impetus for his "increasingly poor decisions", and rather than retreat to the successful absurdity we saw in the original pilot, heavily referential cross-cultural awkwardness appeals to basically every human alive.
Keep it dark
Because this isn't Running Wilde.