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AMC Launches an Entertaining Tech Comedy with ‘Loaded’
July 17, 2017  | By David Hinckley

You could look on Loaded as a good-faith attempt by AMC to make up for every dark show with which it has cost us a good night’s sleep over the last two decades.  

Loaded, which launches Monday at 10 p.m. ET, is an eight-episode British comedy about four tech geeks who become instant multimillionaires when their little company is swallowed by a big company.

As too many real-life lottery winners have discovered, however, a sudden large pile of money can create unintended consequences, not all of them positive.

All that money also doesn’t erase pre-existing quirks and neuroses. In fact, it sometimes enables them.

Leon (Samuel Anderson, top and left), Josh (Jim Howick, top), Watto (Nick Helm) and Ewan (Jonny Sweet) created a company called Idyl Hands that developed a phone game called Cat Factory. It took off big, so a mega-company decided to buy Idyl Hands for 300 million pounds.

Leon immediately buys a Ferrari and announces to the staff they are going to throw the biggest party ever.

Seconds later, Josh says purchasing has been suspended. It’s a minor issue, it turns out, but Josh nervously tells everyone they should go back to their computers until it’s resolved.

Nervous Josh thrives on the wet blanket role. The only thing he has bought with his new wealth is a pair of jeans that don't fit properly. Lest anyone miss that gag, we see Josh walking around a half dozen times tugging uncomfortably at some part of his new jeans.

Ewan, meanwhile, sees an opportunity to impress a cute girl in the office by giving her an 18,000-pound bonus. She’s properly ecstatic, which means his ploy seems to be working, until she tells everyone else in the office about her bonus.

So Ewan, to avoid the awkward appearance of playing favorites with the cute girl, has to give everyone an 18,000-pound bonus.

Around this time our four newly rich guys meet Casey (Mary McCormack, right, with Howick), their liaison at the big company that bought them. She has little patience for any of these random loose cannons and directives for all of them.

This includes ordering them to resolve the threat of a copyright infringement lawsuit by someone who used to be friends with Watto.

Casey’s solution: Fire Watto and pay the guy off.

Since Watto lives on a houseboat and hoards hundreds of boxes of sandals and has always been one of the four horsemen, the guys must find a way not to do this.

Somewhere in the midst of all that, Watto comes up with the best line in the show: “Nobody likes rich people, including me. And I’m one of them.”

Still, having a lot of money can’t be all bad, and thinking up bad things about suddenly being worth millions at times turns Loaded into a stretch. The fact it runs an hour rather than a half hour also means it needs more gags than the average comedy.  

That will be good for some viewers, not so good for others. But credit Loaded with this: It never aspires to be more than breezy summer fun.

It gets zany at times, and while it touches on real-life issues, it never gets lost in them. Call it the anti-Breaking Bad.

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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post


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