I’ve never wanted to be the wife of a billionaire; however, I’ve oft fantasized about being divorced from one. Like many people, I have an insatiable curiosity about what it would feel like to buy whatever you want while also having the funds to donate millions to important causes. Enter Apple TV+’s new comedy Loot, a series that explores what it might be like to live the life of a wealthy divorcees like Melinda French Gates.
In Loot, Maya Rudolph plays Molly Novak, a hyperbolically out-of-touch rich lady. When we meet Molly, her cringe-worthy antics immediately – but intentionally – rankle. Upon receiving a megayacht from her tech mogul husband (Adam Scott) for her 45th birthday, Molly declares one of its pools so small, it should be reserved for her dogs, Mary Kate and Ashley.
As off-putting as its protagonist can be, the pilot manages to make you loathe her while also rooting for her. In the pilot, when Molly discovers her husband’s infidelity duing her birthday party, she leaves him in a dramatic speech, quite simply because she gives no f-cks, Molly delivers the monologue in full-view of her guests, interrupting what was supposed to be a performance from Seal. In the moments where she stands up to her vile husband, you really do want Molly to win.
After months of doing drugs and partying in glamorous locations like Phuket and Berlin, Molly returns home to California looking to create some real meaning in her life. Unfortunately for Sofia (Michaela Jaé (MJ) Rodriguez), the executive director of The Novak Foundation, Molly decides philanthropy should be her Second Act.
Molly’s outsized privilege isn’t relatable to anyone watching the series (Unless, of course, Mackenzie Scott herself takes a shine to the show). But nonetheless, Loot presents an interesting philosophical question: if you had the money to do anything you wanted, would you still work to better the world (and yourself)?
Molly certainly has the money to outsource the labour for her vanity Foundation. But is an idle life – even when one is giving away copious amounts of money – worthwhile? Rudolph provides a zany portrayal of Molly as a woman who can be so odious, she gifts luxury candles and incense to unhoused women at a shelter while declaring, “For me, home is wherever my wine fridge is.” But as unlikeable as Molly can be, she’s also a layered character. In some moments, the audience see Molly’s empathy and people skills, suppressed as they were by years of unfathomable privilege.
Loot’s supporting cast is rounded out by plenty of capable performers. Joel Kim Booster shines as Nicholas, Molly’s Yes Man assistant, who hopes her interest in the Foundation fades so they can return to “buying castles on the internet.” Ron Funches also charms as Howard, the cousin Molly doesn’t always remember, but whom she somehow gave a job at the Foundation. And Nate Faxon is adorable as Arthur, the Foundation’s accountant, who serves as Molly’s Regular Joe love interest. Arthur is a nuanced portrait of a man who knows he’s out of touch with the zeitgeist, but is trying to learn better. Unlike with some series that shall remain nameless, Molly has genuine chemistry with her possible future boyfriend.
The series isn’t without its flaws. The writing can be hit-and-miss. When Molly embarrasses her foundation by falling into a pool while drunk, you wish the writers had conjured something a smidgen more imaginative than what feels like an outtake from The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills. However, Molly and Sofia’s rapport makes up for the series’ shortcomings. In Episode 3, Molly tells Sofia, “It’s really beautiful the lessons you’re teaching me.” In response, Sofia hilariously deadpans, “I’m not trying to teach you any lessons.” It’s early days, but Ms. Rodriguez’ portrayal of Sofia could go down as a legendary great comedy straight woman.
In a world chock full of mediocre streaming comedies, Loot is actually worth your time….
- Release Date: 6/24/2022