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You Will, You Won't

Here's what we know so far about England: (1) It's also called "Britain." (2) It's about the size of Kansas—and for some reason, we still give a crap about what they have to say. (3) It has something to do with Wales and Scotland—but holyfreakingcrap, don't dare get them mixed up. (4) The Spice Girls are from there. (5) They say "brilliant" instead of "awesome," "spanner" instead of "wrench," and "knackered" instead of "anal sex." (6) They eat fish 'n' chips, clotted cream, bangers, tea cakes, Yorkshire pudding, spotted dick, toad in the hole, and mushy peas—foods that are also slang for "anal sex."

Obviously, I've never been there, because... well... who wants to go to Kansas? Especially a Kansas where you can't understand what they're saying—even though the language is supposedly English—and they're cramming anal sex... sorry, "spotted dick" in their mouths.

There are two television shows debuting this week that provide further insight into this strange, hostile land. For example:

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (IFC, Fri Oct 1, 10 pm): Fans of David Cross (Arrested Development, Mr. Show) are going batpoop crazy right now, because this new series pretty much takes the acerbic and foul-mouthed Cross off his leash. He plays Todd Margaret, a temp/loser who tricks his way into a middle-management position in ENGLAND, where he's supposed to market a very creepy energy drink—but because it's England, very bad things start to happen. Due to situations both in and out of his control, Todd Margaret stumbles into one ridiculous situation after another and is eventually accused of terrorism, bomb-making, and possession of biological weapons and child pornography (all things the British practically invented). And because it's on IFC, the language is absolutely and hilariously FILTHY. For those who can't wait (or stubbornly refuse to get cable), check out the premier episode of Todd Margaret NOW on Hulu or IFC.com!

Law & Order: UK (BBCA, Sun Oct 3, 10:30 pm): Wait... WHAT?? England actually wanted its own version of the most annoying, boring, and repetitive show on television? On the plus side, there are some hilarious differences between their Law & Order and ours: (1) THE LAWYERS WEAR WIGS!! HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!! (2) Jamie Bamber, who you remember as the hotsy-totsy Apollo from Battlestar Galactica, plays one of the detectives—but rarely if ever takes his shirt off. BOOOO!! Another obvious reason why the Brits lost the Revolutionary War! (3) Remember the monologue that's spoken at the top of every Law & Order? Here's the limey version: "In the criminal-justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime, and the Crown Prosecutors who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."

Sorry, but this is not nearly British enough. Here's how it should go: "Allo there, guv'nah! What we got 'ere is a criminal-justice system, wot? And blokes are rallied by a mob of clever clogs: One's the bobbies and the other's a bunch of dodgy barristers, don'tchaknow. And 'ere are their jackanories! Now what you say we tuck into some spotted dick? And by that I mean anal sex."

Tuppence for the birds, squire? steve@portlandmercury.com

This Week on Television

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
8:30 NBC 30 ROCK Somehow Liz becomes "sexy"—and is as stunned by the revelation as the rest of us.
9:00 NBC THE OFFICE
Corporate forces Michael into counseling sessions with the most horrible person on earth: Toby.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1
8:00 FOX HUMAN TARGET Season premiere! Super bodyguard Chance returns in this goofy but fun action series.
10:00 IFC THE INCREASINGLY POOR DECISIONS OF TODD MARGARET
Debut! Wherein Todd (David Cross) fakes his way into a job that takes him deep into the fetid bowels of England.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2
11:30 NBC SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Hosted by Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston with musical guest Kanye "I'mma let you finish" West. (Never forget.)

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3
9:00 HBO BOARDWALK EMPIRE
Need a new Mad Men? Check out this great gangster drama starring Steve Buscemi!
10:00 AMC MAD MEN
An "emergency meeting" is called—which causes the same panic in 1965 as it does now.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 4
9:00 FOX LONE STAR Don't miss this great show which, because of crappy ratings, is gonna disappear in... oh... three minutes.
10:00 CBS HAWAII 5-0
A deadly gang war erupts, and the 5-0 gang must call upon all their "super sexy powers" to stop it.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5
8:00 FOX GLEE
Finn sees the face of Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich. I know... let's sing about it!
9:00 FOX RAISING HOPE
Hope learns to crawl, forcing this inept family to "baby proof" the house in crazy, dangerous ways.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6
9:00 ABC MODERN FAMILY
A potentially deadly earthquake gives Cameron and Mitchell a great excuse to skip out of a gay costume party.
10:30 COM UGLY AMERICANS
Season premiere! Randall's obsession with his ex-girlfriend puts him on the logical path of joining a zombie cult.

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