TV: Loot (Season 2)

There’s no getting past the troublesome premise of Loot. By centering the problems of an out-of-touch billionaire, the show threatens, at every turn, to lurch unsympathetic. That said, the series does what sitcoms need to do in their second year: builds an ensemble chemistry and refines its comic voice. The results, provided one can stomach the obscene wealth of its hero, are considerably more satisfying.

The protagonist is Molly Wells (Maya Rudolph), the ex-wife of a tech industry douchebag, who has been channeling her enormous divorce settlement into a charitable foundation. In attempting to find a new direction in life, Molly has vowed to give her fortune away, and with the help of the foundation’s director, Sofia (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez), she launches an ambitious plan to turn abandoned hotels into homeless shelters. As the foundation works to make this initiative a success, Molly faces numerous personal struggles, including fending off the toxic reconciliation efforts of her husband John (Adam Scott), and making sense of romantic feelings for the foundation’s kind, geeky accountant, Arthur (Nat Faxon).

Despite its over-privileged milieu, Loot appears to be developing into a positive, community-based series in the vein of Parks and Recreation or Ted Lasso. One can sense the writers truly finding the voices of the characters this season, making for quirkier, snappier interplay in the workplace. Ron Funches once again steals the show as Molly’s open-hearted cousin Howard, but the rest of the Wells Foundation regulars—Faxon, Rodriguez, Joel Kim Booster, Meagen Fey, and Stephanie Styles—fall more comfortably into the show’s rhythm, leading to a much higher hit-rate for hilarity. It’s still unclear to me if Loot has a clear handle on what it’s trying to say and do, but the journey has grown considerably funnier and more endearing.

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