“Loot” is a programme inspired by the Workplace Comedy Misfits Playbook, with characters ranging from the “dorky accountant” to the “aloof assistant” to the “happy source of happiness.” On their own, they’re individually characters who do exactly what they’re supposed to do: mirror and refract the personal ups and downs of whomever links them all. However, it is the decision of who is mirrored that puts this performance in jeopardy right from the outset. Despite having a strong lead actress and a competent supporting cast, the Apple TV+ comedy “Loot” creates a narrative hole for itself that takes a full season to climb out of.
“Loot” begins far away from that strange assemblage, tucked away in the realm of 0.00001 percent er soirees. Molly (Maya Rudolph), the wife of Bezosian tech boss John (Adam Scott), is our entry point into that stratum. Molly takes her helper Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster) and her 11-figure portion of the family assets and flees after discovering her husband’s adultery and their marriage disintegrates.
Eventually, that path leads her to spend the most of her time at the charity that carries her name (one she’d never given much thought to before being newly single again). Molly meets the aforementioned group of foundation employees, including her relative Howard (Ron Funches), an IT specialist, and money guy Arthur (Nat Faxon). Sofia (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez), a no-nonsense charity executive, leads them all, and her dedication to her profession puts her at odds with Molly’s first facile assumptions about the team’s aims and functions.
In bursts and starts, “Loot” captures the intensity of both. Molly’s love roller coaster is a significant theme in this first season, but the operatic divorce material feels ridiculous in comparison to the handful of true moments of connection sprinkled across the first half. The foundation office boardroom moments occasionally have some crackle, but it’s typically when there’s some genuine movement and it’s not halting as a pretext for a parade of beautifully delivered punchlines.
The most significant stumbling block in “Loot” is Molly’s disconnection from reality, which makes it difficult for anything in her circle to feel anything other than ludicrous. By the conclusion of the season, it’s baked into the premise of the programme to some level. That shift between name-dropping grandeur and personal-level human interactions, on the other hand, feels far less genuine. It’s also difficult to picture “Loot” progressing naturally given the seesawing between the two. Apart from the season opener and conclusion, the next eight episodes feel more like a jumble of bizarre setups than anything solid that binds this group together.