‘Loaded’: Startup Humor More Charming Than Funny

Ken Tucker
Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment
Loaded (Photo: AMC)

In the new AMC comedy Loaded, four British lads have just sold their tech startup and its popular new video game to a large American company. The quartet, headed up by the perpetually worried Josh (Jim Howick), is suddenly awash in cash, and they react as you might expect nouveau riche gamers to: Expensive cars are bought; baths are taken in champagne. But with great success comes great difficulty: In the premiere, the boys are hit with an intellectual-property lawsuit, and they meet their new owner, played by Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight).

Loaded has some superficial resemblances to HBO’s Silicon Valley, primarily in the way these energy-drink-chugging young men are ill-prepared to deal with the world beyond their gaming consoles. Josh, along with Leon (Samuel Anderson), Ewan (Jonny Sweet), and Watto (Nick Helm), can hardly believe their good fortune over the success of Cat Factory, their apparently addictive game app. Josh tries to do something nice for his long-suffering parents, but they’d rather he pay off their mortgage than accept the gift he gives them — a trip around the world. The best scenes involve their interactions with McCormack’s Casey, a ruthless businesswoman who asks them to think of her as “a sexy Darth Vader.”

One flaw here is a pretty significant one: the show’s length. At an hour, it feels more drawn out than it should; some gags are milked for a second and third go-round, and rather than accumulate in humor, the repetitions make it seem as though the writers thought maybe we didn’t get the joke the first time. But this is also a show that aims to get by on the charm of its characters as much as on the strength of their punch-lines. In this, Loaded succeeds as a likable show, even if it’s one that takes a bit too much self-congratulatory pride in having the boys fail to keep track of what everyone refers to as “the office dildo.”

Loaded airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on AMC.

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