Channel 4’s Loaded is an ultra-modern dramedy that holds a mirror up to today’s app-obsessed culture. Then sniffs a line off it.
Four childhood friends — Josh, Leon, Ewan and Watto — run a tech startup called Idyl Hands. Overnight, they each pocket £14m after selling their phone app, Cat Factory, for megabucks to a US corporation. But the windfall threatens to smash friendships and relationships. And a Toby jug collection.
How do you spend yours?
Across eight episodes, the quartet of upstarts react in their own ways to suddenly bulging bank balances. Profligate smoothie Leon (Samuel Anderson) buys a Ferrari, helicopter and yacht. Josh (Jim Howick) the fretter splurges on a new pair of chafing jeans, while nebbish Ewan (Jonny Sweet) is riddled with “millionaire guilt” and can’t stop accidentally giving away £18,000 staff bonuses. Watto (Nick Helm), the most unhinged of the lot, hoards gimcracks to help curb his drink and drug addiction.
Adapted from an Israeli show, Loaded is written by Jon Brown. Considering his CV includes Peep Show and Fresh Meat, it’s little surprise that the acting is peppy and the dialogue quick. “Great! The new boss is here and we can’t account for the office dildo,” panics Josh early on.
Money does make you happy. Really.
Although the best lines are kept for the caustic Mary McCormack as said boss Casey (or “sexy Darth Veder”), the nexus of the series hangs on what Josh’s girlfriend tells him during the unsexiest of sex: “Your job is basically wasting people’s lives.” An acute epithet for all the Zuckerbergs and Spiegels of the world, surely.
The show’s adumbrating lesson is that money doesn’t make you happy. At worst this feels didactic. At best, a reminder to put the national lottery on. But assuming you don’t have the next Cat Factory purring away somewhere, nor six matching numbers, Loaded lives the flush-fantasy for you in whizz-bang style.
Loaded is out on DVD now as well as available on Netflix.