The one thing an $87b divorce settlement can’t buy in Maya Rudolph’s Loot

We’re sorry, this feature is currently unavailable. We’re working to restore it. Please try again later.


The one thing an $87b divorce settlement can’t buy in Maya Rudolph’s Loot

By Karl Quinn

Loot ★★★
Apple TV+

Soon after Molly Novak (Maya Rudolph) discovers her tech-billionaire husband John (Adam Scott) has been cheating on her, she’s drinking herself into oblivion in Berlin, Phuket and Rio. By the end of this 10-part comedy series, which is bigger on learnings than laughs, she’s drinking muddy water in a bid to save the planet.

Maya Rudolph as the newly divorced Molly Novak in Loot.

Maya Rudolph as the newly divorced Molly Novak in Loot.Credit:Apple TV+

The loot of the title is eye-wateringly large: Molly scores a divorce settlement of $87 billion, enough to secure the services of David Chang (who is always and only addressed by Molly as “David Chang”) as in-house chef. As a breakfast TV host says, who wouldn’t trade a man for all that cash.

But the hedonism fast loses its appeal. The “what now” comedown lasts a lot longer, and is really what Loot is about.

Emerging from the prolonged bender, Molly realises there’s a charitable foundation bearing her name and decides to get involved. She makes a hash of it before finding a way to turn what she’s good at – partying and spending money – into a basis for good works.

Along the way, she helps the people in charge – including chief executive Sofia (Michaela Jae Rodriguez, from Pose) and accountant Arthur (Nat Faxon) – to loosen up a little. In return, they teach her to be less selfish. Even her snippy assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster) develops the beginnings of a heart.

Molly with her assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster).

Molly with her assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster).Credit:Apple TV+

Maya Rudolph is a real comic talent, but apart from those early party scenes she’s on a fairly tight leash. Molly’s gaffes are spectacular – like handing out luxury gift bags at the opening of a homeless shelter, or totally losing the plot during a chilli-eating contest-cum-interview on YouTube – but she quickly learns to avoid the worst of them. That’s a win for her, but a loss for viewers.

Loot might just as well have been called The Education of Molly Novak; it’s way more interested in her discovery of purpose than it is in finding the funny in her cluelessness. Its ethical journey finally delivers a pretty solid pay-off, but I can’t help feeling it would have been more persuasive had it delivered a few more gags along the way.


It’s curious that Adam Scott (in little more than a cameo) should play a smug tech titan in a series for Apple TV, after having so recently starred as a worker-bee for a titanic tech company in the same streamer’s superb Severance. Is this Apple trying to expiate its own sins by creating fictional effigies, perhaps?

Of course, the tech world offers no shortage of models for this saga. When Jeff Bezos and his wife of 26 years divorced in 2019, MacKenzie Scott, who had been one of Amazon’s earliest employees, walked away with a fortune (much of it stock-based) estimated at $US38 billion. She has pledged to give at least half of it away, and appears to be serious. By late 2020, she had given almost $US6 billion to hundreds of charities, often in the form of surprise donations.


Whatever its shortcomings, Loot has a lot to say about the inadequacy of ego-driven gifting by the uber-rich and the structural inequality that allows them to become so wealthy in the first place. As polemic it’s pretty powerful. I just wish it had a little more to give on the comedy front.

Email the author at, or follow him on Facebook at karlquinnjournalist and on Twitter @karlkwin

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.

Most Viewed in Culture