How LOOT is Vying To Be The Next TED LASSO And Why It May Never Be

How LOOT is Vying To Be The Next TED LASSO And Why It May Never Be

Another fun watch. You’re welcome.

Loot is the sitcom no one is talking about that I wish everyone would watch. And it’s because many of my relations just don’t have Apple TV +!!

After divorcing her husband of 20 years, Molly Novak must figure out what to do with her $87 billion settlement. She decides to reengage with her charitable foundation and reconnect with the real world – finding herself along the way.

Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, Away We Go, SNL) as “Molly Novak” is likable in a way that could only be described as “Maya Rudolph” and you’ll see why right away. She is oblivious and wrong, but with a relaxed and undercurrent of relatable charm. She embodies heightened realism. And she elegantly nails it.

Michaela Jaé (MJ) Rodriguez (Pose, Tick, Tick, …Boom) as “Sofia” is Molly’s exact opposite and occasional mentor. Rodriguez has a grounded nature, but swings into the comedy too easily. She is sharp, driven, and yet vulnerable to the cause. Rodriguez’s character doesn’t have the edge of Brett Goldstein’s Roy Kent from Ted Lasso, but her arc isn’t about changing how other people see ‘her,’ it’s how everyone sees the disadvantaged she works to support. She is more likely the Rebecca (from Hannah Waddingham) who softens her style to stop mimicking men in the world and truly shine as herself. Ron Funches (Trolls, 6 Underground) as “Howard” could easily be the teddy bear with a big smile, that is his usual comedic style, but he is already starting to become a possibly more serious character with a greater depth than I’ve seen from him before. Joel Kim Booster (Fire Island, The Other Two) as “Nicholas” may never not be a joke, but I think he’s wonderful in the role anyway. He could be our Brendan Hunt’s Coach Beard – given his interesting tastes and completely different goals in life. Nat Faxon (The Way Way Back, The Descendants) as “Arthur” is heartbreaking. His will-they-or-won’t-they plot ended too soon. He is a treasure. And I’d say he is possibly our Jason Sudeikis’ Ted Lasso. His truly positive and valuable efforts in the office, and on Molly herself, could be the ensemble flip this show needs. More “Arthur” could be the best thing to happen to this show.

Adam Scott (Parks And Rec, Step Brothers) as “John Novak” is a clever casting choice. He has a Peter Pan quality that keeps Rudolph and Scott as equals. They are both perpetually mature youthful comics. Well matched for sure, but strikes me as silly since Scott was last wedded to Amy Poehler’s lead character in Parks And Rec. Feels like his casting might have been a scheme from the SNL Alums from a decade ago.

At its best, Loot is in the vein of Parks & Recreation or The Good Place — an ensemble built around fundamentally decent characters trying very hard to do the right thing, or at least trying hard to understand what doing the right thing would look like in our complicated modern world. At its worst, Loot is in the vein of Mr. Mayor — an ensemble about goofballs tasked with doing the right thing, but shoehorned into a string of ill-defined workplace hijinks without a consistent enough hit-to-miss ratio to live up to the potential of the cast. There’s a lot to enjoy about Loot, starting with its timely narrative and solid showcase for some of Maya Rudolph’s myriad skills. At the same time, it’s very much a show you’ll keep watching more for its potential than its immediately execution.By the end of the 10-episode first season, Loot begins to settle into something resembling a perspective on whether or not the solution to systemic inequality involves grotesquely wealthy people making more donations, but most of the season positions Molly in a way that’s aggressively inoffensive. Rudolph, with her rapier-sharp comic timing and cadences unlikely any of her contemporaries, is very difficult not to like at least somewhat, no matter your thoughts on the eating of the rich. That’s not exactly a problem, just a broadcast-friendly treatment of the character as oblivious, but fundamentally and innocuously benign. Molly is glibly frivolous when it comes to her money, but not in any way that suggests she has any serious lessons to learn and, indeed, from episode to episode Molly has little room to grow and little need to. It’s like A Christmas Carol if Scrooge started off giving his employees a long weekend for Christmas and, after being visited by three ghosts, tossed in an extra half-day. See also Ted Danson’s character in Mr. Mayor. (Daniel Fienberg, Apple TV+’s ‘Loot’: TV Review)

I found myself lamenting to my spouse that they haven’t hit their exact stride yet. They are working out a few sitcom clichés first, but I see that someone in that writers room is looking to be the next “Doing Good Begets Doing Good” and “Trying is Worth Failing” show in the vein of Ted Lasso. Every single character has room to bloom, but we are still treating characters like small punch lines so far. My hope is that we move from punchlines to the more serious relationship work of putting faith in one another, failing to connect, and fleshing out those characters through the natural strengths of this talented roster.

They need to take this premise seriously and they need to take the issues on from a little outside Molly’s experience. They need to dig deep. Ted Lasso will end after this coming season and the gap is ready for Loot to step into. All the right casting and elements are there, but their energy has yet to be disruptive. perhaps it is too late?

The potential is electric, my hope is that Apple TV+ allows them to get there. Hoping Apple will defy what Netflix and HBO have done by cutting their creatives short instead of trusting the process. I trust Loot has an exciting creatively disruptive future if they shake off all that TV pressure to be defined too soon.

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