Loaded

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Loaded TV Poster Image
Brit tech bros make a bundle in sharp, sweet comedy.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Pretensions and prejudices are skewered refreshingly on this smart show. People of color play strong, but not central, roles; though the main characters of this comedy are largely men, at least one woman has a major, powerful role as their antagonist. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The quartet of entrepreneurs at the center of this show are brash, but largely loyal and supportive of each other, as well as loving to friends and family. Their superior, Casey, is authoritarian and often profane, but her overriding, often-achieved goal is business success. 

Violence

Symbolic violent acts are threatened: a man says he'll set his expensive sports car on fire to prevent another man from prevailing in a conflict. 

Sex

Sexual jokes and references: a woman makes rules for a date: "No intercourse, no recriminations." Another character tells his rivals to "suck my balls," another refers to an impasse as a "penis being shoved in my eye over and over and over." Expect dating, flirting, kissing from the single, available characters. 

Language

Cursing and vulgar language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "screw," "Christ," "d--k." Sexual imagery and jokes about body parts: a man gets revenge on his rivals by hiring a barbershop quartet to sing a song with the repeated refrain "suck my balls," a woman says a (metaphorical) penis is being shoved in her eye repeatedly. 

Consumerism

The show's quartet of app builders are newly rich and spending freely. One buys a Ferrari (his friends tell him to get a Prius instead) and bathes in Dom Perignon champagne; others buy boats and elaborate vacations, and give female employees bonuses with an eye toward eventually dating them. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink champagne and liquor to celebrate business successes. One character has a substance abuse problem and prominently drinks nonalcoholic drinks. A man asks if he can "vape" (marijuana? tobacco?) in his friend's car while holding up his vaping equipment; another jokes about a friend who sold magic mushrooms that inspired creative ideas. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Loaded is a comedy about four men whose app-building company becomes a multimillion dollar success. There's some language ("s--t," "a--hole," "screw," "Christ," "d--k") and ribald humor (a barbershop quartet repeatedly sings a song with the lyrics "suck my balls"), as well as substance use and references: a man tries to "vape" (it's unclear exactly what) in a friend's car and jokes about having used magic mushrooms for creative inspiration. In other scenes, characters swill alcohol to celebrate, and bathe in Champagne to commemorate a business success. One character is sober and conspicuously has nonalcoholic beverages. Newly rich characters talk about brands of sports cars and liquor. Despite these issues, this is a sweet and fresh comedy about well-meaning characters with genuine affection for each other. 

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What's the story?

Yesterday, the quartet who built the popular Cat Factory app -- uptight Josh (Jim Howick), freewheeling Leon (Samuel Anderson), awkward Ewan (Jonny Sweet), and otherworldly Watto (Nick Helm) -- were just a bunch of broke geeks. Today, after a huge American corporation acquired their company for $46 million, they're all LOADED. They've made it! Or have they? While each man sets about gleefully spending some of their suddenly gotten gains, trouble is brewing in the form of their new boss, Casey (Mary McCormack), a fire-breathing phone dragon who's determined to make the Cat Factory team straighten up and fly right. And then there are all the changes slowly rippling through their personal life after the cash infusion. People say that more money only brings more problems. And in the case of these guys, they may be right. 

Is it any good?

A main cast with what feels like genuine affection between them turns what could have been "English Silicon Valley" into something sweeter and more relatable. The Cat Factory lads -- and lads is what they feel like, despite the cast's 30-something age range -- are given to tech-bro-ish actions like hiring a barbershop quartet to croon "suck my balls" at rivals, or buying a palatial new mansion and riding scooters in the halls. But they're also cluelessly looking for love -- and validation -- in all kinds of places. Josh, who celebrates his cash infusion by buying a pair of new jeans, offers a round-the-world trip to his parents and tries to get back with his old girlfriend. Leon, he of the candy-apple-red new Ferrari, drives on over to his old high school to confront a teacher who didn't think he had a future. Ewan is so pixilated by his newfound bank balance that he accidentally gives £18,000 bonuses to all the employees. 

The women of Loaded, meanwhile, are fully realized forces to be reckoned with. Casey (who tells her new employees to think of her like a sexy Darth Vader) barks demands and takes no prisoners; her chatty assistant, Naomi (Lolly Adefope), alternates between efficiency and letting her freak flag fly; and Josh's gamer ex-girlfriend, Abbi (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), gives Josh the kind of spiky feedback that's rare in real life -- and a pleasure to watch on TV. There are messages to be absorbed here about wealth and how it changes things; work, and what it's worth. But on the surface, this series is lovable and fun, the sort of thing that parents might want to watch with kids who dream about striking it rich in tech. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • How do Josh, Leon, Ewan, and Watto show perseverance and teamwork in creating and running a successful company in Loaded? What qualities do they have that make them keep striving and sometimes scoring? Why are these important character strengths

  • How has technology affected the way young people think about the future in terms of college and careers? How is today's job market different from the one your parents entered after high school and college?

  • Why does the tech industry seem to attract a disproportionate number of men to women? Is there a gender advantage to being male, or is something else at play? Why do shows featuring teams of tech entrepreneurs seem to have mostly male casts? 

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