Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Todd Margaret is forever doomed if he does, doomed if he doesn’t

Illustration for article titled Todd Margaret is forever doomed if he does, doomed if he doesn’t

So, when are we going to get series four of The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret? Because if people could really keep asking for a series three after the literal world-ending finale of series two, then there’s no way they can’t ask the same after a finale that answers both everything and nothing. Plus, this time around, there’s an even easier opening if you look at this all as a very hard reset of the series: There’s an almost abnormally long shelf-life in this becoming an anthology series based on Todd Margaret finding variations in the doomsday end game

But all of that is about the end, and we can’t really talk about that until we discuss the the steps that got the show there in the first, second, and third place. The decision to split The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret series three into two chunks a week apart finally makes a world of sense early on in this week’s “The Poor Decisions Of Too Margaret, Part 1.” Each two-parter and individual episode are different sides of the same show, with the first three episodes in particular being tasked with slowly reacquainting the audience with the world of Todd Margaret, Thunder Muscle, and terrible moves. This week’s three episodes, however, can be as manic as they want as they transform the show back into the one we first met back in 2010.

While “The Decisions Of Todd Margaret” parts one and two introduced the concept of Todd leaning into and reenacting his dream, “The Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret” parts one and two and “The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret” focus instead on the repercussions of Todd’s decision to do so, even when he eventually realizes that he needs to lean back instead. In an act of self-awareness that wouldn’t have existed in the first two series, Todd honestly tries to do everything he can to avoid his demise in these episodes. He understands that he should follow Alice (good) instead of Dave (bad), avoid any bit character he recognizes, and try all he can to avoid going to a Leeds hospital or Princess Diana’s burial site. These are finally all, in theory, good decisions.

Yet they’re still so wrong. In fact, they’re even worse this time around. As it turns out, every decision Todd makes—whether it’s the right or wrong one—is a poor decision. Todd can’t win, no matter what he does. Honestly, that’s even more bleak than him blowing up the world.

Todd: “In the dream, you’re good. You’re a good, decent person.”
Alice: “Yeah, well in my reality, you’ve been a lying little asshole.”

As I mentioned in my review of last week’s episodes, the thing about this version of the Todd Margaret character is that he’s really just your typical asshole, but he’s not a “bad” person. Even with the theory that he and Brent Wilts have just switched personalities and places, David Cross’ version of this Todd is still not as despicable as Will Arnett’s version of Brent from series one and two. Todd’s also not fully the architect of his own failure here, and it’s actually a more fascinating show because of that.

Series three of The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret allows the audience to want to see Todd succeed or at least get out of the pit of despair that the show’s title dictates. These string of episodes in particular reach a certain amount of Argo-style tension once Todd gets to Heathrow Airport, and there’s nothing more surprisingly exciting than the announcement that the plane he’s on is about to take off. At that point in “The Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, Part 2,” there still a minute left in the episode, and it’s obvious that something else is going to happen. But in that moment of success for Todd, it’s hard not to mentally fist pump with the guy. At that moment, he cheated fate, and he did it with minimal damage in comparison to his “dream.” The original theme kicks in, and there’s a world of possibilities for how the rest of this series can go down.


You can seriously feel Todd deflate when he’s asked to get off the plane.

The episodes in this batch (especially “The Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret) build up everything so well, even on just a character level: The twist that this version of Alice is a white supremacist and this version Dave is an innocent bystander (until pushed into revenging Todd for legitimate reasons this time) are two of the best things to come out of this series. In fact, the Alice reveal is so amazing in how out in the open it is that it instantly makes every one of her and Todd’s interactions in this series better. As for Dave, his arc in this series facilitates the argument that series three is kind of way to take down series two, with Dave completely bashing the previous series’ absurdly flawed revenge plan on Todd and Brent. As for Todd himself, there’s a depressingly sweet moment in his suicide attempt when he thinks his death is reversing all of the bad things in the world, and it’s played so straight. This is on a show that easily could have laughed at him in that moment, but instead, it’s his hero moment, if such a thing is even possible. Then the montage that follows his death would suffice as a decent enough closer to all of this, if only for the fact that it serves as a reminder that Blowjobtits is still on an path of enlightenment and self-discovery (coincidentally, learning that “the self is void of meaning”) and that Stephanie is more than ready for the end of the world.


Unfortunately, it’s all dashed by what ends up being the worst part of all of this, the catalyst-based cult (which just edges out the post-Alice white supremacist scenes). The more these episodes give us of the cult, the less interesting (or even funny) it becomes, and then this entire series’ framing device deters from the otherwise enjoyable aspects of these episodes. The cult is a part of this series that merely hits a ceiling at a certain point: Once you have Doug and Brent teaming up in colorful sweaters to spread the good word, there’s really no place to go but down. And that’s not just a compliment regarding Jack McBrayer and Will Arnett’s work in these episodes, that’s exactly what happens with this plot. It then makes it more disappointing that Doug is never able to get that new microwave for the office, especially since the world doesn’t even end this time around. Brent’s long-winded explanation of the cult to Doug is much better than the actual depiction of the cult, besides maybe the bit about the savings account that members should transfer their funds to, not that they’ll be using it. These episodes are simultaneously the funniest and most gut-punching of this series, and the cult is such a dud in comparison to everything else in them.

As for the end of said series, Todd being goaded into finally pressing the doomsday button only for it to end up being part of a game show isn’t exactly as important as the revelation that it’s all a dream. In fact, it’s a continuation of the dream from series one. So as it stands now, the third series of The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret isn’t the much assumed life-flashing-before-his-eyes moments of a Todd Margaret who brought forth the apocalypse—it’s really just a Thunder Muscle-induced fever dream that started in the second episode of the entire show. As Todd says in “The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret,” he “had a dream that told [him] it was true.” But is it true? That’s still a bit of a mystery, unless you do believe that the cult was at least right about the catalyst thing.


As a whole, this is definitely one hell of a way to finally end The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, but like with series two, there’s no way people aren’t going to ask for more, just to see what that will be like. This is a cringe humor show that heavily relies on defecation jokes, and it needs Lost-level analyzing. Think about that for a moment. Or it’s all a load of polished crap like this version of Pam’s art. Either way, David Cross and company made the “right” decision to bring the show back in this form, simply because of how funny this world and its characters are. Brutal and chaotic, sure, but funny. If this is the end though, “it’s okay. [It’s] with Hitler now.”

Stray observations

  • Todd: “And remember, it’s improv, so it doesn’t have to be funny.” Let this always be a constant in any of this show’s realities. Also, way to get really into the scene, Jeanette.
  • So Todd is in fact the catalyst, with no swerve on that. Except for the fact that it doesn’t actually matter. I think. By the way, his slow turn back into the original Todd Margaret (in more than just the physical level) is a real kick in the gut. Case in point: his scene with airport security. The dread that comes from watching that scene go on and on and hearing Todd say “I’m from Leeds” is palpable. It’s funny dread, but it’s still dread.
  • I’d like to note that I absolutely loved series two and the finale at the time it aired, but upon rewatching it in preparation for this series, I just couldn’t overlook how frustratingly over-the-top it was. So the lack of Jon Hamm in this series was actually kind of welcome.
  • On the other hand, Russ Tamblyn’s return to this world as “Billy The Cheesegrater” is even more welcome. Heel Dave hiring him because he wanted Todd to have a slow death, only for that to translate to Cheesegrater’s extremely slow sniping set-up is one of those Todd Margaret jokes that serves of a reminder of how smart the show actually is.
  • “It’s a sign! Read it.” That line also falls under the same category.
  • The athlete they got to endorse Thunder Muscle being pinged for steroid use because of said Thunder Muscle proves that there’s really nothing Thunder Muscle can’t do. Thunder Muscle.
  • The montage that follows in Todd’s “death” is pretty magical, but I’d argue that the necrophilia is too much in a show all about being “too much.” It’s kind of offset by the fact that it’s a black staffer doing the act, but she’s already a dead racist. The punishment has happened by that point. On the other hand, it’s something I completely expect from David Cross.
  • Bless Blowjobtits’ heart.
  • Hudson being just the bear and not Colin Salmon in the flesh makes all the sense in the world when you take into account Alice’s surprise racism. “The Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, Part 1” actually kind of tips the hand of that reveal with the Alice line “I do love Hudson… bear.” She could never love Hudson, for now obvious reasons.
  • The most interesting thing about this dream and the original series one dream is that it continues the dream line “I have to do everything myself,” which never really made any sense in the first place. On a basic level, Todd doing everything himself is what mucks it all up. Here, he’s fine by himself until he asks for help: Help gets his cat dead, him chasing the world’s worst dream, and a surprise white supremacist. Maybe he should have done everything himself this time around.
  • “I think it’s a mistake to upset Dave.” This is the true message of this entire show.