FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE YET TO SEE LOOT, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
Maya Rudolph is finally getting another chance to headline a TV series after her Prime series Forever failed to find an audience. Loot is very much so her own personalized version of SNL alums Amy Poehler’s Parks and Recreation and Tina Fey’s 30 Rock… and those are two very difficult acts to follow. This is also a 30-minute workplace comedy like those two classic series’… That follows a headstrong lead protagonist and a group of endearing, oddball co-workers. The only difference is in Loot our lead character is a filthy rich woman who is smacked with a dose of reality and has to change her life around for the better with the help of her new friends… and the show has the freedom to drop F-bombs. But, besides that, this definitely shares the same DNA as Poehler and Fey’s seminal sitcoms.
And the similarities continue with the quality of these first eight episodes. Parks and Recreation is notorious for its extremely messy and underwhelming first season. It was on the verge of being canceled but was miraculously gifted a second season, in which the showrunners fixed nearly all of its flaws and slowly tinkered with it until it became one of the finest television comedies of all-time. Now, I’m not saying Loot is ever going to reach those heights, though it does have the potential to be something great… but, this first season is equally as messy and you can constantly feel the showrunners trying to find their footing.
WHAT IS LOOT ALL ABOUT?
Molly Novak, the spoiled wife of a wealthy tech magnate’s world is upended when her cheating husband leaves her with $87 billion dollars. In the pursuit of finding a new purpose in life, she heads back to work for her namesake charity, to actually make a difference in her community with what she’s been given.
HOW IS THE MAYA RUDOLPH AND THE ENSEMBLE CAST?
The potential that I see here is mostly due to the incredibly talented cast that has been assembled in Loot. Maya Rudolph is one of my favorite comedic actresses working today and I’ve been yearning to see her get her own show, and with Molly Novak, she is able to play to all of her strengths. Rudolph gets to be extravagant and over-the-top with the “rich girl snob” facade and also show her range as she peels back her layers to show a softer, more heartfelt side as the episodes progress.
We also get the hilarious Joel Kim Booster (who is coming in hot after his star-making turn in Fire Island), Michaela Jae Rodriguez in her first role since her Emmy-Nominated and Golden Globe-winning turn in FX’s Pose and also comedy heavyweights Nat Faxon and Ron Funches. So, in Loot, we have a diverse group of established performers who have all proven themselves in previous work and above all else, are extremely likable and charming.
WHERE’S THE COMEDY…?
The real problem with this first season and one that I wasn’t expecting with the talent involved… is how painfully unfunny it is so far. There are so many moments in this season that I could tell they were going for some really broad comedy, but more times than not, it’s a swing-and-miss. This lack of real substantial humor is so apparent that I found myself counting every time I actually laughed out loud during the season… and that number hit five in the finale. That’s five times I laughed, in ten episodes time…. Not a great number.
And it’s shocking because I believe that Maya Rudolph is easily one of the funniest comedic actors working today… But, the writers have not done her or the rest of the cast any favors. It’s also surprising to me, because showrunners Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard have shown their deft hand at comedy with shows like Parks and Recreation, Superstore, 30 Rock, and Master of None… but, the jokes are sadly lacking in Loot.
WHAT IS THERE TO LOVE ABOUT LOOT?
Luckily, besides that big, gaping flaw… there is a lot to love about this show. The frenemy dynamic between Maya Rudolph’s Molly and MJ Rodriguez’s straight-laced Sophia adds some real tension and also warmth to Loot. These two characters are so vastly different… But, seeing them come together for a common cause pushes the audience to endlessly root for their relationship to flourish. I also loved the odd-couple friendship between Joel Kim Booster’s Nick and Ron Funches’ Howard… Who randomly find common ground with each other, and the moments that they are bouncing off each other provide the little comedy that the series does have to offer.
HOW IS THE OVERALL MESSAGE?
The biggest compliment that I can give Loot, is that it succeeds in the feel-good department. I believe wholeheartedly in what this show stands for. With its refreshing forms of representation and its depiction of kindness, honesty, and thoughtfulness. Our lead heroine, though deeply flawed, is on a journey of self-discovery to be a better person: mind, body, and soul, to take advantage of her prosperity and show gratitude by giving it back to her community and those in need. And that is a journey that I can really get behind.
WHAT CAN BE FIXED TO MAKE IT BETTER IN SEASON 2?
I’m hoping in future seasons of Loot… we really see the showrunners find their footing with the comedy. And the cast is able to discover their deep-rooted chemistry with one another… because this could be a real stand-out in Apple TV+’s line-up, if it is able to do so. I do have hope, because as this season went along I found myself slowly becoming more invested… After feeling totally disenchanted at the beginning. And I would like to see this series succeed, not just because I want a win for Rudolph and this cast, but because in this time of apathy and negativity, we need more feel-good comedies with a positive message in our lives.
Loot Premieres on Apple TV+ June 24th, 2022.
For more Reviews, make sure to Stay Tuned to That Hashtag Show!