HBO’s Paradise of the White Lotus is a Dead End

A bank of exorbitantly wealthy white folks descends upon a Hawaiian resort in the opening minutes of Mike White’s The White Lotus. They want to be coddled and pampered, to relax and recharge, to lounge by the pool for a week and do nothing but think about themselves, and they want to be aided and abetted in these endeavors by a helpful staff that aspires to blend in with The 1 percenters depart a yacht and are handed their fancy room assignments atop a beautiful bluff, when the first contact between the holidaymakers and the resort personnel occurs. If it all feels a little Upstairs, Downstairs by means of The Love Boat—a class-inflected, soapy satire set in paradise—any similarities to colonial landings and horror movie openings are also absolutely intended. Visitors and spectators may be lulled into a false feeling of security by this beautiful utopia, but the bodies will inevitably pile up.

Or, in the instance of The White Lotus, the body. It’s hardly a horror show, but there will be a corpse, and much bloodless class conflict leading up to it, as the show’s flash-forwarded opening sequence promises. (White, who previously created HBO’s adored but underwatched Enlightened, which was eventually canceled, must have noticed that nothing on TV boosts a miniseries’ ratings like a whodunit.) The Mossbachers, a family of four with a visitor, are on the side of the obscenely wealthy. Nicole (Connie Britton) is the breadwinner, a founder and CEO who exudes lean-in feminism while expressing genuine concern for the opportunities lost to young white guys. She’s married to Mark (Steve Zahn), who isn’t quite as caricatured as he appears to be, but is lost in his beta-husband persona. Their daughter, Olivia (Sydney Sweeney), has brought over her college friend Paula (Brittany O’Grady). Paula isn’t as white or as wealthy as the Mossbachers, but when she’s not canoodling with one of the staffers, she joins Olivia in ice-cold eye rolling. Quinn (Fred Hechinger), their kid, is cute, uncomfortable, masturbating, and preoccupied with his phone.

Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge), who arrives with her mother’s ashes and a lot of emotional baggage, becomes an emotional succubus on Belinda (Natasha Rothwell), the calming spa manager who has a flair for The newlyweds, Rachel (Alexandra Daddario), who has married into money and is only now realizing what that means, and Shane, played by an incandescently unbearable Jake Lacy, an entitled man baby who engages in a series of ever-esc.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top