I’ll admit that when Mike White’s social satire “The White Lotus” debuted on HBO in the summer of 2021, I didn’t see it becoming such a critical and commercial and awards favorite. In my mixed, two-and-a-half-star review, I gave the series props for being occasionally interesting but said that the characters in the deeply twisted m*rder mystery were “a colorful bunch of spoiled, privileged dolts — most of whom They are. If you’re stuck with them at a restaurant, you’ll want to walk away from their table.”

For the highly-anticipated season two of an anthology series that could run for years, each time with a new cast and a fresh location, White returns to the same formula and we’re once again colorful, privileged dolts. have been introduced to And they’re pretty obnoxious, to be sure—but this time, if I’m stuck in a restaurant with them, I’d actually want to be closer to hearing about their lives. They’re a little more interesting, a little more charming in a human train wreck sort of way, a little more … surprisingly scary (in most cases).

“The White Lotus” offers all sorts of social commentary on class warfare, but at its core it’s a wish-fulfillment experience for the audience. We immerse ourselves in the lives of the obscenely rich and enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of their world – all the while noticing how deeply, profoundly and gloriously unhappy they are. Yes! Take it rich people! You might be on a vacation that costs more than most people make in a year, but your life sucks!

‘White Lotus’ Season Two

As was the case in season one, we begin with at least one dead body at the end of the week—and then return seven days earlier, when a group of guests arrive at the luxurious Sicilian branch of the White Lotus Resort. And to my credit, the location cinematography is stunning, whether we’re on the island or touring beautiful locations (including the site of a particularly memorable sequence in “The Godfather”). This season’s group:

  • Sarcastic Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and her husband Ethan (Will Sharp), who have just made a fortune selling their tech company, Ethan’s alpha dog ex-college roommate Cameron (Theo James), an investment brother, and Cameron Joined by wife Daphne. (Meghan Fahey), a stay-at-home mom who’s ready to let loose and party.

Aubrey Plaza (from left), Will Sharpe, Theo James and Meghan Fahey join the “White Lotus” cast as a pair of married couples visiting Sicily.

  • Three generations of the Di Grasso family: the recently widowed and always flirtatious Bert (F. Murray Abraham), who keeps telling the locals “we’re Sicilian too”, because his grandmother is from a nearby village; Burt’s Hollywood hotshot son Dom (Michael Imperioli), a s*x addict going through a divorce, and Dom’s honest and simple son Albie (Adam DiMarco).
  • Jennifer Coolidge’s narcissistic and clueless billionaire Tanya (the only returning main character from the first season), her now-husband Greg (Jon Graves), who is beginning to doubt the marriage, and Tanya’s troubled assistant Portia (Hally Lou Richardson), who is yearning. Living beyond “doom scrolling” and jumping into action whenever Tanya barks at him.

Adding a lot of spice to the proceedings are some local people: the beautiful and cheerfully manipulative s*x worker Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and her best friend, the aspiring singer Mia (Beatrice Grano), who many people love. are confused with to the guests, much to the displeasure of Valentina (Sabrina Impecator), the hotel’s strict manager. Then there is Tom Hollander’s aristocratic Brit, Quentin, who is like something out of a Truman Capote novel and befriends Tanya, who recognizes in him a certain shared sadness. (“It’s a good feeling when you realize that someone else has money,” says Tanya. “You don’t have to worry about them wanting you.” A very funny and very sad line.)

S*x abounds, sometimes to great comedic effect, sometimes resulting in potentially irreversible fractures in relationships (and in one case, one’s health). Many of the characters turn out to be more than our initial impressions, for example, Daphne, who initially seems like a superficial and insufferable Instagram mom, reveals a more thoughtful and complex side, while the seemingly obnoxious Dom is more sympathetic. becomes, and tough-ass Harper proves to be weaker than we expected.

I’ve seen the first five episodes of the seven-episode run, and while a lot has happened, we still have very little indication of which characters will be killed, and who’s doing the killing. It’s a tribute to the depth of the writing and the fine work of the ensemble that whoever ends up floating in the ocean, I’ll feel bad for them but I’ll also understand why anyone would want to see them.

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