I got into The White Lotus after Violeta wrote about it right after it premiered. And now? This is the show that I obsess about the most with friends and colleagues. Duana and I had dinner last weekend and dedicated several minutes to the series. One of my producers and I are constantly texting about it. Maria started late but is now fully caught up and we’ve been messaging about it back and forth. And it’s also a priority for my husband, Jacek, who does not generally enjoy scripted dramas. But every Monday night for the last five weeks, The White Lotus is where he wants to go.
I say Monday even though The White Lotus airs on HBO and Crave in Canada on Sundays. That’s the thing about The White Lotus though – I’m already anxious on Sunday nights, that dreaded back to something feeling that so many of us have never been able to shake since school days. And with The White Lotus, it’s nothing but oppressive dread and discomfort. Which, I realise, is probably not the best way to sell the show to you if you haven’t been watching.
So let me reverse and tell you that the genius of Mike White’s work is combining the dread, the awkwardness, with the absurd, and the comedy. Because The White Lotus is also funny – darkly, disturbingly funny, but when those moments come, they make a huge impact, often when you least expect it. Without taking away from the profoundly incisive social commentary that this series is making on race and class and imperialism. This past week’s episode, the penultimate, was just about as masterful of an indictment of capitalism, and how we’ve all participated in its devastating impact, as I’ve seen in a long time.
We’ll have more on The White Lotus tomorrow, ahead of the final episode of season one airing on Sunday. A week ago, I would have written the “final episode of the series”, but it was announced this week that The White Lotus has been renewed for season two with a whole new cast. And it really isn’t a surprise. This is the best drama of the season. It’s the drama that more and more people are talking about, including celebrities. Finneas has tweeted about the theme song, which is now being memed the way the way the Succession score was memed. Sarah Paulson feels the same. And this seems like it’s just the beginning, as more and more people will discover The White Lotus over the coming months. Given the critical acclaim, there is no doubt HBO will be putting a lot of energy into an award season campaign for the show. I’d be surprised if it’s not a factor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and definitely next year’s Emmys. It might actually go up against Succession, HBO vs HBO, at the 2022 Emmys – and wouldn’t that be interesting: two series interrogating wealth and privilege from different perspectives.
Here’s Molly Shannon at Kimmel this week presumably promoting the series. For the benefit of those who haven’t started watching yet, I won’t tell you about her character… only to say that she’s PERFECT, every note is perfect, from the way she walks to the way she orders her food, to how she hugs, you will recognise this person, how tangible she is, and how many of her there are in real life, to a terrifying degree.
Every single Molly Shannon line reading on The White Lotus has made me scream in absolute terror.— Joe Reid (@joereid) August 9, 2021
But it’s the same of almost every character in The White Lotus. That’s how great this story is, how amazing these actors are. And if you haven’t started yet, lucky you, because now you can hit play tonight and catch up by Sunday for the finale.