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'White Lotus' review: Mike White's second season of HBO hit brings sex, romance and satire to the Sicilian coast

At first glance, Cameron (Theo James) and Daphne (Meghann Fahy) look like a photo of #couplegoals, with their sun-kissed good looks, photogenic designer outfits and endearing habit of snuggling and kissing in public. But Harper (Aubrey Plaza) didn’t buy their Instagram image of married happiness. “It feels like a show,” she sniffs at her husband, Ethan (Will Sharpe), once they’re alone. “No way. It feels fake.”

Because they are all white lotus, Mike White’s snarky satire on the rich and the miserable, which falls short when Harper is finally proven right Surprising. However, as Ethan points out, the real question might be why Harper cares in the first place. In season 2, the HBO series made us all Harpers, casting a skeptical eye on the familiar courtship trap — and while the new part didn’t cut to the bone like the first, it sparked more than Just a few sharp enough observations to draw blood.

White Lotus

The bottom line is just as sharp and almost as delicious.

Air Date: October, Sunday (HBO) Actor: F. Murray Abraham, 30 Jennifer Coolidge , Adam DiMarco, Beatrice Grano, Megan Fay, Jon Gris, Tom Holland De, Sabrina Impaccatore, Michael Imperioli, Theo James, Aubrey Plaza, Hayley Lou Richardson, Will Sharpe, Simona Tabasco, Leo Woodall Creator: Mike White

If the second season’s findings can be briefly summarized, it’s probably just bad straights (but to be fair, the show’s non-straights don’t seem to be that hot either). In the five-hour episode sent to critics, over a seven-episode season, the show revolves around the intractable gulf between genders that plays out on the battleground of sex and romance, with White’s take on the issue of wealth. Come the anthropological precision analysis and the first quarter of the course.

The new setting is the White Lotus luxury resort on the coast of Sicily, where players are mostly fresh guests. There’s the aforementioned quartet, celebrating the sale of Ethan’s company, along with a pair of friend and foe vacancies; Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) and her now-husband Greg (Jon Gris) are the first. The only recurring character in a season, they travel with Tanya’s existentially frustrated assistant Portia (Haley Lou Richardson); and three generations of Di Grasso men (Bert in F. Murray Abraham, Dom in Michael Imperioli) and Adam DiMarco’s Albie) on a pilgrimage to their ancestral homeland.

Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) serves as this iteration’s counterpart to Amond, the troubled Maui hotel manager in the first season, until she confronts a beautiful young employee (Ella Isabella of Honora Romandini) is interested. However, the staff mostly put the narrative on two locals, Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatriz Grano) lurking around the hotel, hoping to use their sexy in exchange for any money or favors they can extract from the wealthy. male guest.

After the Italianized version of last year’s tropical film’s opening sequence, the season begins again with a fast-forward promising death, then jumps back a week to piece together the story of who died, how, and why die. The warning feels almost redundant. While The White Lotus goes to great lengths to highlight the island’s breathtaking beauty – take a detour to visit majestic palaces, charming vineyards and a small town for some The Godfather was shot like the longest travel ad in the world – which also explains the alleged rape of Persephone by Hades in Sicily Nirvana place. Romance and violence, both physical and emotional, go hand in hand here.

Compared to the first season’s blow to the cruel, ignorant elite, the second season lacks the obvious goals of Shane’s terrifying rights or Tanya’s selfish needs. For one thing, the characters are prettier overall (though Cameron and Sean are cut from the same hateful cloth, and Tanya is still Tanya). Socioeconomic class remains an ongoing focus on The White Lotus , but as a complicating factor in this season’s central themes of gender, desire and love, the difference between The relationship between villain and victim is not so clear. The result is a series of episodes with significantly less humor and irony, even if Cameron tends to spout alpha male crap or Bert shamelessly attacking every woman he sees.

Thankfully, this season of observation or empathy is just as clear. As a creator, White has a special talent for digging into the gap between who his characters want to see themselves and who they have to be. Here, he uses it to dig into a vague anxiety about whether it is possible to know what we really want when we have been told what to want throughout our lives. This question applies most clearly to characters’ decisions about who to have sex with or flirt with as much as their desire for status or comfort because they are guided by actual desires. (When a sex worker shrugs and says “it’s not that bad when you have sex knowing exactly what you’re going to get out of it,” her clarity is both unexpectedly refreshing and understated frustrating.)

But the aforementioned anxiety also manifests in moments like Portia, who roars at a world of disappointment that even jaw-dropping views like the ones she enjoys in Sicily may not produce real The miracle or joy, but just “stupid some superfluous Instagram.” The pain Richardson expresses is so palpable you can almost feel it — especially if you’ve also experienced this very specific but hard-to-identify modern discomfort.

She’s not the only one who could benefit from White’s knack for creating characters that are understandable, if not necessarily endearing. Other standouts in the cast include Plaza, who delivers a hilariously embarrassing effect with her trademark deadpan, as a woman whose harsh judgment all but masks her own insecurities. Fahy, in particular, matches her well, and she taps into the sheer amount of steel and grief behind her typically ebullient character to make Daphne one of the season’s most captivating characters.

despite a hint of sympathy white lotus no interest in reducing men or women to be about predators or prey, Subject or object, white knight or maiden. Rather, it knows that this is the social framework within which all its characters—we, the audience, and—all operate. They may accept these stereotypes as “ingrained” or reject them as “a construct”, as in Bert and Albee’s Godfather s manly appeal, or try to play to their advantage as Lucia and Mia did.

But no one seems to be able to get rid of them completely and go after their real wants and needs, at least in episode 5; we’ll find out in the next two if there are any The way out does not involve being a corpse floating in the Ionian Sea. It turns out that Harper does misread Cameron and Daphne’s meekness in a crucial way — assuming they’re the only ones showing off their love and sex lives. ‘White Lotus Religion’ ‘ gift to audiences looking for engaging drama, semi-spiky comedy, and maybe a bit of painful self-reflection , yes it didn’t have the same mistakes she made.



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