The first season of Loot, starring the one and only Maya Rudolph, just ended, and maybe I’ve been a little too unplugged from pop culture this summer, but it doesn’t seem like many people were talking about it. Was it just absent from my feed? I admit I didn’t start watching Loot as soon as it premiered–I think a headline from Vulture or The A.V. Club made me think I’d be disappointed.


But I couldn’t stay away from Loot for long. Because of Maya Rudolph. I can’t remember when Maya Rudolph first made me laugh, but I know it was on SNL. I think I loved her because her comedic genius reminded me of two of my favorite SNL cast members of the late 80s/early 90s: Dr. Ellen Cleghorne (she got her PhD from NYU) and the late Jan Hooks. If you watched those episodes live, or on syndication on Comedy Central like I did, you probably laugh at just the thought of parodies like “The Washing Machine” (of Jane Campion’s The Piano) or “Compulsion”, a fragrance commercial for “Calvin Kleen.” 

I loved Maya on SNL — her impressions of Donatella Versace and Oprah, her rapport with Amy Pohler on “Bronx Beat,” her spoof of Destiny’s Child called “Gemini’s Twin” — but I was really looking forward to seeing her do her own thing. Since SNL, I often see Maya Rudolph steal the show, when I really want her to BE the show. I love seeing Maya in guest roles like Judge Gen on The Good Place, U.S. Marshall Karen Hass on Brooklyn 99, or her takes on VP Kamala Harris and Beyoncé on recent hosting and guest stints on SNL, but I am even more excited to see her at the center of her own series. 

The premise of Loot’s first episode is that Molly Novak (née Wells) finds out at her 45th birthday party that her tech CEO husband (John Novak, played by Adam Scott) is cheating on her with his assistant (Dylan Gelula, Xanthippe from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt–damn, I’m old!), and goes on a worldwide bender to cope post-divorce (with the aid of about 80+ billion dollars). But her embarrassing antics lead the head of her foundation (Sofia Salinas, played by Michaela Jaé Rodriguez) to ask her to please chill on her partying so as to not damage the foundation’s philanthropic efforts. 


While this is Maya Rudolph’s show, Loot showcases an ensemble. The series is really more of a workplace comedy because so much of it relies on the interactions of the employees at the foundation. Rudolph’s dynamic with just about any character is great, but especially with Joel Kim Booster, whose devotion to Molly is super fun to watch. He compliments Molly on her birthday by telling her that “on a scale of ageless Jennifers, [she] went from Aniston to Lopez.” Booster himself has really fun scenes with Howard (Ron Funches), Molly’s cousin who “used to work at a comic book store/vape shop but now runs the computers here or whatever.” Funches’ delivery throughout the season is f*cking gold. I never thought a recurring Dragon Ball Z joke (aided by two action figures) would make me laugh and get emotional. The friendship between these two is both funny and endearing.

The show’s soundtrack is also part of the Loot fun. Aside from the show’s theme, the songs in every episode took me back to my high school and college days, and when I looked for a playlist, iTunes had one ready for me. I guess this is what Jack Donaghy referred to as “vertical integration”? 

{I won’t spoil everything about the series, but if you really don’t want to know much, stop reading here…}

If you know a bit about MacKenzie Scott (formerly Bezos), you might have a sense of where this series is going, but it takes a while for it to get there. The series’ central tension is Molly’s desire to help while being completely clueless to the real needs of the people the foundation is meant to serve. And while I really enjoyed the series and have rewatched almost all of the episodes by now, I can’t help but think of a comment I heard Guy Branum make when he was guest hosting the podcast Keep It! recently (along with the Great Angelica Jade Bastién!). He said that the problem with streaming is that a season is no longer a season…it is an eight to ten episode TV pilot. And so you end the first season of many shows with how the pilot episode should have ended, meaning, it takes a whole season to establish a premise that could be set up by the series' first episode. In the case of Loot (SPOILER!), after another one of Molly’s public relations disasters, she decides to change the conversation and, like MacKenzie Scott, vows to give away her billions in the second half of the season finale. So just when the show is starting, it is time for the first season of Loot to end.


So much of the season was spent showing how the third richest woman in the country deals with a breakup, and while I’m sure a betrayal and split must hurt regardless of someone’s socioeconomic status in real life, I don’t know if we needed a whole season of Molly dealing with her divorce, and that it had to take her ten episodes to figure out that the best way to help people was to actually give up her wealth. 

And to be honest it did pain me to see so much MONEY everywhere. In the pilot’s first scene, Molly’s still-husband gives her a “boat” for her birthday which has at least one pool deemed too small to be usable by anyone but her dogs, Mary-Kate and Ashley. Molly’s house is so…MUCH. A part of me really did expect it to only be featured in the season’s first episode–I figured once she and her husband split, she would downsize. But the season kept showing the house and extravagance after extravagance—let’s just say Molly would be one of the people taken to task right now on her private plane use if she were an actual celebrity/person of notoriety. I asked myself if displaying all of that wealth was really needed, especially because the show’s commentary on the excess wealth could be more substantive. But then I also asked myself if it bothered me this much when I saw this much opulence on Succession. I think part of why it bothered me on Loot is that the premise centers so much on Molly’s foundation. But I also asked myself if I have higher standards/am more prone to critique a show that is acted, written, and produced by folks of color (the show was co-created by Alan Yang, who also co-created Master of None). Anyway, I guess I am still working that out. 

One scene that was promising/surprising regarding the excess of Molly’s wealth and privilege, was when she leaves for her first day of work at the foundation, and she tells the many members of her household staff that she will miss them and to “have fun!” Rather than immediately follow Molly, in the next scene we see the staff take her words to heart and proceed to have a really badass pool party at their boss’ mansion. I wish we had not just gotten that one scene, that we had seen more of these characters. It reminded me of when in The White Lotus I got excited about Lani’s storyline only for the character to disappear after the first episode.  


But I still think Loot is worth watching. If you love Maya Rudolph, she is reason enough to watch. We get to see the comedic genius we know Rudolph to be while getting a good look at her dramatic chops. The way she loses her sh*t at her cheating husband in the pilot is funny and believable. And the way she loses her sh*t at Sean Evans when she goes on Hot Ones to counter her husband’s passive aggressive interview is just fucking funny (maybe you’ve seen a clip of it online–this is one Loot-related thing that made my IG feed). If you’re looking for eye candy, the show’s shots make the opulence in the Hulu Kardashian show seem quaint, and Rudolph’s wardrobe is so much fun. Molly Wells’ style is the one I have in my dreams (if I had the cash, I would shop for it here). I was so damn proud when I recognized the pink silk suit she wears on her first day of work at her own foundation, which was rocked by Queen B in The Carters’ “Apesh*t” video at the Louvre. I am guessing I am the LaineyGossip writer who knows the least about fashion, so this is a big accomplishment for me. 

Loot has been renewed for a second season, and despite my critiques, I am glad! I want to see how they deepen the Sofia character. While she was not one-dimensional, I want to see more of what makes her so rigid. I am happy Howard left an unhealthy romantic relationship and wonder if he will finally follow through on that podcast (or any of his other ideas). And I do want to see more of Molly’s flirtatious awkward banter with Arthur (Nat Faxon). I do wonder which people will benefit from Molly’s help or if Molly will struggle to give up her wealth. I also wonder if Molly will have a wardrobe in the second season that I can actually afford or pull off since she’s giving up her billions. But as long as it has Maya Rudolph and this supporting cast, I know I will be watching.