Apple TV’s “Loot” takes nothing except for a half an hour of your time

Jackson Milch, Life & Arts Reporter

On June 24, Apple TV+ released the first three episodes of its new comedy series, “Loot,” starring Maya Rudolph. The series follows billionaire Molly Novak who, despite inheriting a massive fortune after divorcing her husband, turns to charity to get her life back on track.

The series had all the ingredients needed to ensure a massive hit. Creators Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard (Parks and Recreation, Master of None) entered the project with a successful track record and were backed by Apple — now a major player in the ongoing streaming wars.

Yang and Hubbard’s direction feels limited by the show’s bland concept, as the characters are not well-written enough for the series to gain steam past the first few episodes. The writers are attempting to achieve a style over substance product, but their attempts flame out because the series ultimately does not contain much style.

Despite a decent performance from Rudolph, Molly is simply not likable or charismatic enough to be the lead character of her own show. At the end of the first episode, she delivers a speech in front of a large audience. This scene attempts to utilize irony by making the speech cringey, but it does not work because it is not funny to watch somebody say something that is not funny. Most of the script’s attempt at humor frankly has the same result. While the writers seemingly aimed to deliver a cringe comedy effect, humorous lines feel awkward and forced. The series focuses more on the exotic locations and decor than its characters, and it shows.

Despite mostly strong performances from the cast, many characters and their behaviors feel out of place. Adam Scott, who plays Molly’s husband John, does not encapsulate the arrogant mogul he was cast to portray. In the show’s opening scene, the music stops playing for John to deliver a punchline, and he fails to say anything interesting. I expected John to be a major criticism with my review, but the character never returns after halfway through the first episode.

Joel Kim Booster, who plays Molly’s assistant, Nicholas, gets the award for least believable character. His mannerisms feel more like a caricature, as most of his presence is filled with over-the-top facial expressions during uninteresting moments and sassy lines that supposedly defend Molly, offering absolutely no comedic or plot-related effect.

Ron Funches, who plays Molly’s nerdy cousin, Howard, was a big standout in the show, creating a funny character without even having many funny lines written for him. When Howard is on screen, viewers can instantly feel his presence, and his quirky array of anime shirts makes for a fun characterization detail. After watching this show, viewers will definitely want to look out for Funches in future roles.

The show consistently beats its themes to a pulp. The series does not let the viewer figure things out on their own, as scenes are subsequently recapped by an insecure Molly, or broken down in a news segment.

Despite its seemingly large budget, “Loot” ultimately proves quite corny. The show has trouble landing a lot of its intended comedic moments, and the plot runs its course once the initial concept plays out. Due to the show’s poorly executed plot, it is unlikely “Loot” will stay on the Apple TV+ programming list for another season.

2 billion out of 5 billion dollars.