Author Topic: The White Lotus  (Read 2163 times)

The White Lotus
« on: August 19, 2021, 08:09:35 PM »
A new series that has just dropped on Now TV/ Sky Atlantic, created, written and directed by Mike White.

It is about a load of rich arseholes and the poor sods that have to serve them at an exclusive Hawaiian resort. There is some interesting stuff about privilege, colonialism and the like there, and it is also really funny. Some great performances from the likes of Steve Zahn, Alexandra Daddario, Connie Britton and Jennifer Coolidge. It looks sumptuous and the music is also excellent. I splurged it all in a couple of days ( 50ish minute episodes). It set the internet alight when it was shown in America and I can see why.

I highly recommend it, so you will all probably think it is shit

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2021, 09:15:03 PM »
I liked it a lot as well. Hard to talk about after seeing the finale already though innit? You could say that about all shows, but this one really is building to something right from the start. I got sucked in. And hated almost everyone in it. But I enjoyed hating them. If you liked Succession, this feels like it's in a similar ballpark, albeit the people aren't quite that rich (but who is).

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2021, 09:51:01 PM »
Haflway through and really enjoying. As with Enlightened, it feels impossible for chatter around it not to centre on "the characters are bad but you still like them, isn't that interesting!" when it's significantly better written than the moralistic media discourse allows. Coolidge is fucking fantastic. And it seems churlish to say those were clearly fake balls Steve Zahn was examining in the opening hour, but...they were some really obviously fake balls.

Noodle Lizard

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Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2021, 12:10:19 AM »
Between this and Succession, Bret Easton Ellis must be furious that nobody's asked for his assistance.

EDIT: I had only seen one episode when I wrote this. I've seen two now. It's a bougie American version of Benidorm, isn't it? For some reason, it really bothers me when a film or show has the hotel manager being involved in every guest's lives at every possible opportunity. This is not something that normally happens.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2021, 01:32:11 AM by Noodle Lizard »

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2021, 08:18:06 AM »
Between this and Succession, Bret Easton Ellis must be furious that nobody's asked for his assistance.

EDIT: I had only seen one episode when I wrote this. I've seen two now. It's a bougie American version of Benidorm, isn't it? For some reason, it really bothers me when a film or show has the hotel manager being involved in every guest's lives at every possible opportunity. This is not something that normally happens.

But these are super rich people who will always want to speak to the manager

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2021, 08:58:48 AM »
(also Armond has no involvement with Tanya, Greg or Quinn's lives, and I don't think he directly has any conversation with Rachel, who continually tells her husband to stop involving Armond in his life. Does he speak to Rachel outside of seating the family for meals?)

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2021, 09:48:37 AM »
I am calling Armond as the best character and performance of the year. I know there is a lot of the year left to go but it would take a lot to beat him

Better Midlands

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Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2021, 06:17:13 PM »
In the ending

Was Shane charged with killing Armond (at least manslaughter) or was he just skipping out because he wasn't a suspect?

In the the final episode they seemed to be doing lines of ketamine, but reacting like it was coke when they should have been falling through the floor.

The music was really good in this, very interesting stuff from Cristobal Tapia de Veer.

Blue Jam

  • I'm Going to Mars (Where They Have No Cars)
Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2021, 05:23:28 PM »
Between this and Succession, Bret Easton Ellis must be furious that nobody's asked for his assistance.

Ha! What's he even up to these days? Been thinking about starting a 90's literature thread so I had been thinking about his 90's output

Quote
I had only seen one episode when I wrote this. I've seen two now. It's a bougie American version of Benidorm, isn't it?

I was thinking more Funland. Similar sense of unease in a prettier setting.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 05:36:42 PM by Blue Jam »

Blue Jam

  • I'm Going to Mars (Where They Have No Cars)
Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2021, 05:35:40 PM »
But these are super rich people who will always want to speak to the manager

Is that more of a nouveau riche thing I wonder? Or that these people aren't quite the super rich for whom money is no object, but perhaps a tier below? Shane in particular trying to squeeze every last bit of value out of the trip his mother paid for and which he couldn't never have afforded himself.

They remind me of the times I did customer service work at places like Wimbledon and Lord's, it was he middle-class punters who would arrive very overdressed and with a massive picnic basket which would have to be searched and all the knives confiscated (giving themselves away as first-timers) who would kick up a fuss, berate the staff and demand to speak to the mananger. Meanwhile club members, seasoned regulars and celebrities would just turn up in jeans, with no bags to be searched, and would just discreetly flash their pass and wait for you to nod them through without a word. I guess some people like to make a fuss because it makes them feel important but it's so dreadfully common.

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2021, 04:55:43 PM »
In the ending

Was Shane charged with killing Armond (at least manslaughter) or was he just skipping out because he wasn't a suspect?

In the the final episode they seemed to be doing lines of ketamine, but reacting like it was coke when they should have been falling through the floor.

The music was really good in this, very interesting stuff from Cristobal Tapia de Veer.

I think it was some of the pills the girls had that he had crushed into powder. I think you see him crushing some at one point

As for your spoilered point I imagine he got away scot free because he is rich, he was "attacked" in his room, and there would have been a shit load of drugs in Armond's system

Better Midlands

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Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2021, 05:47:21 PM »
As for your spoilered point I imagine he got away scot free because he is rich, he was "attacked" in his room, and there would have been a shit load of drugs in Armond's system

Thanks, that's the way my thinking went too.

gilbertharding

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Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2021, 03:00:52 PM »
My favourite bit was when he drove the white lotus into the sea and it turned into a submarine.

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2021, 05:07:15 PM »
Undecided about this after the first episode. Coolidge is fantastic but I find the other characters really unlikeable (I guess that's on purpose with some of them). Very true to those kinds of people though, who I encountered often in the US. Finding the yellowish tint to everything a bit much too. For an exotic Hawaiian getaway for rich people it looks kind of ugly and dull at times. Going to keep on with it though. Couple of funny moments, particularly "you can't have a baby on your first day".

Chollis

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Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2021, 06:11:43 PM »
Finding the yellowish tint to everything a bit much too.

on first episode too, what's going on with this? it's way too much surely

chveik

  • crazy bit of business
Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2021, 06:13:22 PM »
its full of clichés from contemporary discourse, maybe rich americans really talk like that but it's not very compelling narratively

enlightened was far superior

hbo is just in it for the clicks now, very disappointing

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2021, 09:58:42 AM »
Binged it all on Sunday -- I really enjoyed it, some really funny bits and excellent performances. Murray Bartlett is brilliant and if you've ever worked with the public you can feel his pain and frustration.

The characters are unlikeable in a good way too -- Shane for example is an absolute dick but he is sorta right with the roomal fuck up, he just handles it incredibly badly. He is also pretty awful to his wife but in more subtle ways than are usually portrayed on screen -- he's emotionally quite absent, and controlling without being overly dominating. Loved hating that prick.

Armond was the stand out for me, although he did turn out to be a bit of a creep shall we say...

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2021, 01:02:48 PM »
I think I have preferred it without the opening scene, starting at the end and setting up what the final showdown would be. Was thinking they try to sidestep audience expectations but only did so mildly by initially alluding that it may be Shane's wife. Kept focusing on who it would be and distracted me from just being in the moment.

Also the final reunion was (probably purposefully) unsatisfying.

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2021, 01:28:45 PM »
I think I have preferred it without the opening scene, starting at the end and setting up what the final showdown would be. Was thinking they try to sidestep audience expectations but only did so mildly by initially alluding that it may be Shane's wife. Kept focusing on who it would be and distracted me from just being in the moment.

Also the final reunion was (probably purposefully) unsatisfying.

I knew it wouldn’t be Shane’s wife but once Tanya’s love interest Greg was introduced I was sure it was going to be him. They made such a big deal of him coughing and swimming that I assumed he was going to drown in the hotel pool, or choke on her mum’s ashes or something

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2021, 10:30:26 PM »
Really enjoyed this but it's just 'Fawlty Towers' for the 90s isn't it?

Enzo

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Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2021, 12:42:07 AM »
I wonder if this was the first time Anulingus was portrayed so explicitly on a major tv series?

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2021, 01:16:34 AM »
Mike White is exceptionally skilled at writing pretty terrible characters and making them all somewhat empathetic and the bulk of the characters in this are no exception.

Found I loved the first three episodes but gradually cooled off on it, I think a lot of it was enjoying seeing the cast clearly relish the chance to do their characters. Once it got to the point that it had to rein things in a little for wrapping up plot that had to take a secondary place.


Murray Bartlett was very obviously having the time of his life playing Armond, should be something of a breakout performance as I don't think he's had such a big personality character to play before. Seemed absolutely miles away from his character in Looking, which as far as I'm aware was his previous standout role.
Coolidge was the most interesting character and her performance was great but it was all veering a bit too close to Enlightened. That her character seemed to have the best realised ending (both realising how she was manipulating Belinda and how much worse it could get, and finding a temporary respite with a man who is very obviously terminally ill) wasn't massively surprising.

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2021, 09:04:13 AM »
I am not sure she realised she was manipulating Belinda. It was more self-focused than that. She realised that she relied on making friends with people with her money but didn't seem to see how much she had fucked with Belinda in the process. It was all self-centred. The pay-off at the end was proof that she didn't really see what was going on at all. She was basically exactly how she had described her mum, right down getting comfort and affection from a man that clearly only really wanted to fuck her

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2021, 09:05:31 AM »
I wonder if this was the first time Anulingus was portrayed so explicitly on a major tv series?

I didn't see it, but I think famously Queer as Folk?

Blue Jam

  • I'm Going to Mars (Where They Have No Cars)
Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2021, 09:13:45 AM »
I didn't see it, but I think famously Queer as Folk?

Big fan of that show and I may be misremembering but I'm pretty sure there was no analingus, just some licking of a buttock, prompting the famous exchange: "I dunno, he is quite sweet I guess"; "I don't know- I didn't lick him!".

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2021, 10:41:00 AM »
Looking online it is described as a "graphic rimming scene," which implies somewhat more than just licking a buttock. But as I say, I haven't seen it, so it's possible the entire internet is exaggerating the graphicness of it.

Blue Jam

  • I'm Going to Mars (Where They Have No Cars)
Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2021, 11:03:18 AM »
There is definitely a mention of rimming in the first episode, where Nathan is trying to convince Stuart he is older and more sexually experienced than he actually is, before it becomes apparent that he doesn't know what rimming is. There might be something in later episodes though, I might have to give it a rewatch- not because I'm a dirty old bollocks, but because it's great.

(sorry if this is all getting a bit rude, Barry Admin!)

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2021, 02:17:45 PM »
I am not sure she realised she was manipulating Belinda. It was more self-focused than that. She realised that she relied on making friends with people with her money but didn't seem to see how much she had fucked with Belinda in the process. It was all self-centred. The pay-off at the end was proof that she didn't really see what was going on at all. She was basically exactly how she had described her mum, right down getting comfort and affection from a man that clearly only really wanted to fuck her
I dunno... I'd say she knew but she thought just giving a big envelope of cash resolved it (it looked like a massive amount, but a one off lump sum is hardly the same as having someone backing your business plans). There's no way that dynamic wasn't going to get massively toxic so it's def better for Belinda to not be trapped in it.
Belinda's business plan stuff didn't totally work for me though, obviously she got quite swept up in the idea and it'd be crushing for the person you were doing all that pitching to and everything to be so dismissive, but asides from their encounters on the first day she was in full-on grift mode with Tanya from that point on. Maybe there was a desire to think she was a better person than all the other guests at the resort but it didn't really shine through for me.


I'd also say it's a bit more muddled with the dude. He's sticking around (or rather, not fleeing), her issue was primarily about men leaving, he definitely doesn't take her or her issues very seriously but there's absolutely nothing to suggest that would help her anymore than finding some carefree dude who thinks her problems are ridiculous and mostly just wants to fuck. It's obviously gonna go pretty sour when he gets properly sick and then she'll be more or less back where she's started, but she's leaving the holiday in a better place than when she arrived and she's at least substituted her mother for a new thing that'll probably result in the same issues.

Blue Jam

  • I'm Going to Mars (Where They Have No Cars)
Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2021, 03:24:48 PM »
I'd also say it's a bit more muddled with the dude. He's sticking around (or rather, not fleeing), her issue was primarily about men leaving, he definitely doesn't take her or her issues very seriously but there's absolutely nothing to suggest that would help her anymore than finding some carefree dude who thinks her problems are ridiculous and mostly just wants to fuck. It's obviously gonna go pretty sour when he gets properly sick and then she'll be more or less back where she's started, but she's leaving the holiday in a better place than when she arrived and she's at least substituted her mother for a new thing that'll probably result in the same issues.

I got this impression too, there was definitely a sense of a cycle being repeated, and not just with her behaving just like her abusive mother and using money to manipulate people. Tanya struck me as someone who needs the pain and the drama and almost gets off on it. Season 2 is going to be set at a different resort isn't it? I wouldn't be surprised if she returns- new resort, new ashes to scatter, new therapist to exploit, same problems. Considering the probability that Ominously Coughing Guy didn't really accept "the crazy beneath the onion layers" or even want to talk about it and was just happy to be getting laid before he died probably won't do her self esteem any good either. Loved the character though, the most sympathetic by far but from the very start something still seemed a bit off about her, a bit creepy and untrustworthy and exploitative.

One thing I was a little confused by: Was Dillon (with his cute little manbun) actually gay or just really, really desperate to get to choose his own shifts (or avoid being fired by a manager with a reputation for being volatile and predatory and vengeful)? To the point where he'd meet up with a creepy older gay man for a bit of analingus? Or was he just so bored the idea of a night working through a stolen stash of really good drugs had an appeal? In that scenario I would have thought the natural instinct would be to RUN AWAY, but I did pick up a running theme of employment being precarious and rich people either not appreciating it, or appreiciating it way too much and exploiting it. It seemed to run through all the socioeconomic strata here, from Lani being so desperate for work she lied about being in the late stages of pregnancy, to Rachel fretting about turning down a freelance job (seemingly knowing her new role as a kept "trophy wife" might not work out- didn't they have a pre-nup? And wasn't Shane's overbearing mother controlling their finances anyway?), to Nicole angrily reminding her daughter Olivia that she couldn't stop working on holiday because her work was the very thing paying for the holiday.

Then there was stuff like Tanya getting Belinda's hopes up about running her own business and not appreciating that throwing cash at someone like a one-woman Bullingdon Club doesn't make up for letting someone down after getting their hopes up- and Belinda being a bit exploitative in return accepting all those free meals, and Kai charming Paula and winning her trust before robbing her parents as she'd planned- but robbing her too because he wasn't impressed by her naive young rich girl virtue signalling and their little holiday romance didn't mean shit to him. The exploitation went both ways.

I thought it was blindingly obvious that Quinn would do the whole Shirley Valentine thing and miss his flight home but I did wonder why the oarsmen were so trusting of an outsider. The ending I'd hoped for for that character all the same. Also I did really love to hate Olivia, with her wisps of greasy hair and vocal fry. The way she sneered at Paula for putting too much trust in Kai, just after she'd cut in and tried to make a move on him out of spite- she was probably the one character I found it hard to see a good side to. Did love Paula and Olivia reading (or pretending to read) lofty books on holiday though, and for some reason their "Let's do some ASMR" thing on the first night elicited a guffaw from me.

Re: The White Lotus
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2021, 08:22:33 PM »
Never mind the analingus, this is the first time i’ve ever seen somebody realistically shit on tv.

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