'Todd Margaret' is a hot-air buffoon

David Cross (Todd Margaret) and guest star Will David Cross (Todd Margaret) and guest star Will Arnett (Brent Wilts) in "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" on IFC. Photo Credit: IFC

advertisement | advertise on newsday

REVIEW

REASON TO WATCH: Delightfully strange, often gross, extremely dry humor about the world's most self-assured lying doofus.

WHEN/WHERE: Premieres Friday at 10 p.m. on IFC

Bald buffoon David Cross ("Arrested Development," "Mr. Show") goes to London for a loony six-episode series he co-wrote and stars in, playing an increasingly duplicitous yet intermittently charming dork.

The title character bluffs his way across the Atlantic into an accidental gig heading the new foreign office for a possibly toxic energy drink called Thunder Muscle.

It's actually quite Brit-like the way the blithely clueless Cross proceeds through snowballing calamity, "dating" a perplexed cafe owner (Sharon Doherty) yearning to open a "molecular gastronomy" restaurant, and "mentoring" an amused office assistant (Blake Harrison) who mostly baits the boss into successively more embarrassing blunders.

(You don't even want to know what happens along the way to the cat that Cross leaves behind with a washtub full of tuna in Portland, Ore.)

Each episode starts in British court with a flash-forward reading-of-the-charges, piling up and up and up against our (hardly a) hero. Let's just say that in full-episode flashback he manages to stumble into terrorism, child porn, peanut allergy anaphylaxis and other outrages. Cameo appearance by world snooker champ Steve Davis!

MY SAY

advertisement | advertise on newsday

TV is staking out territory so nicely now - Monday and Thursday for network sitcoms, Sunday for quality cable drama, Friday for IFC's droll assaults on propriety. They're following up Kids in the Hall's wacked-out mystery farce "Death Comes to Town" with the even more absurd - and more tasteless - "Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret." It's crammed with over-the-top swearing, deceit and idiocy.

This would all be much too much if it weren't for the ceaselessly jolly attitude with which Cross imbues the proceedings (well-echoed by Harrison's jovial jerking on the boss' chain). Savor his naive cheer as he tells whoppers upon whoppers, attires himself in tweed and ascot, and rebuffs all offers of actual facts and knowledge extended to mitigate his ignorance. He's a world-class duper and dupe.

BOTTOM LINE

Proceed with caution into this foul but funny cauldron of catastrophe.

GRADE

B

You also may be interested in: