This July 12th HBO premieres ‘The White Lotus’ a limited six-episode series with a mixture of mystery and comedy resulting in a social satire on privilege.
The story follows a group of guests staying at a luxury resort while on vacation in Hawaii. All wealthy folk who live up to the stereotypical idea of “nice” American society but who are in for a less “nice” outcome.
Mike White warns his audiences in the first episode that he’s going to laugh in the face of convention, that we’re going to see perfect lives and that he has activated the countdown on the demise of one of the characters.
A show that’s capable of bringing together the entire family to watch it, but which, if you are willing to scratch a little below the surface, will force you to take a good hard look at the values inherited from that American dream so many pursue.
Uptown folk incapable of seeing others who are down
So, as you already know, the protagonists of ‘The White Lotus’ are about to spend seven dream days completely unaware that when they return, none of them will ever be the same again after their stay.
But audiences won’t find all our characters easy to empathize with and that’s because they all show their most unbearable sides, making identification difficult. From the newly-weds who complain about not getting the honeymoon suite, to the wealthy hypochondriac father of the family, to the spoiled teen who can’t stand her parents, to the woman addicted to cosmetic surgery….
They’re all so focused on their first world problems that they’re world vison doesn’t extend beyond navel-gazing, and this is evidenced in every scene, as critical as they are comical (in line with the saying, ‘better to laugh than to cry’), but even more so in moments like when one of the maid’s waters break, an event that goes completely unnoticed by all the guests.
A well-known creator with an even better-known cast
All this is the latest work by Mike White, a creator well-established in the industry after having worked on a string of hit movies including ‘Dawson’s Creek’, ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and ‘Enlightened’ with Laura Dern and we can see a good portion of his track record poured into these six episodes that, in addition, are perfectly framed within the golden age of Instagram we live in, where everything has to be perfect because it might be snapped at any moment. Even the Hawaiian scenery is an irony to today’s society.
Pretty impressive ingredients for this cake, the icing on top of which includes a celebrity-packed cast, the biggest name being Connie Britton who, as has been the case many times before, plays the mother to problematic adolescents as she strives to remain sane and balanced while dealing with a well-positioned but immature husband and children at that most ungrateful stage for parents.
Britton once again steps into this role, which she completely nails by the way, between comedy and drama reminding many of the coach’s wife in ‘Friday Night Lights’, a part that transformed the actress into the mother every American kid dreamed of. Britton also repeated the role in ‘American Horror Story’, but then diversified her register in ‘Nashville,’ where she played a country music star.
And for more icing, the cast of ‘The White Lotus’ includes some major signings, such as Jennifer Coolidge, a household name after several ‘American Pie’ appearances, Alexandra Daddario who ensures the traction of her followers on YouTube, Molly Shannon, Murray Bartlett and Fred Hechinger, among others.
In a nutshell, this fresh comedy will make you think twice about where to go on vacation this summer, but above all … with whom.