Review of “The White Lotus”: The Comedy of Privilege

Today HBO Will Broadcast the Final Chapter of the Second Season of this Acclaimed Series. Crime and Comedy will Mix in this Grand Finale that Fans of the Series have been Waiting for. This is our Review of "The White Lotus".

Still from the series 'The White Lotus'

Photo: HBO Max

LatinAmerican Post | Staff

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Leer en español: Reseña de “The White Lotus”: la comedia del privilegio

Fans of "The White Lotus" are waiting for its final episode today. Its two seasons have the same premise: guests and staff at a luxury resort become involved in the secret of a crime that we know about from the first episode, but that will only be solved in the last chapter. Under this premise, both seasons have been able to take advantage of the mystery resource: who will die?, who is the murderer?, why did he or she do it? But in addition to the enigma, the series has an absurd element: all the characters seem to have a motive for murdering another. Or, at least, they all seem to be able to. So the viewers of "The White Lotus" will place their bets today and have their answer today.

"The White Lotus" is a series created by Mike White, who had already participated in the creation and production of another series for HBO: "Enlightened". Both seasons have been very well received, although it really is not an easy series to digest. It is difficult to empathize with any character, since the script is designed so that the viewers hate them all. This is precisely the reason it is sometimes uncomfortable to watch —above all, it was a resource from the first season—, it is also what makes it addictive, since we cannot stop seeing these unbearable characters.

So it's not only the mystery behind the crime that sustains the suspense of the series, but the ways in which the paths of these characters intersect, which make us imagine that, at any of these intersections, there will be the culprit and his reason. Both seasons take place at a White Lotus venue, the resort where vacationers stay. The first is in Hawaii and the second is in Sicily. Both are cliché vacation destinations for the wealthy.

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The comedy of privilege

A constant in "The White Lotus" are the tensions between tourists and locals. In the first season, this happened mostly among young people from wealthy families and local boys who practiced activities on the beach, some of whom were hotel employees. The ones and the others fell in love and became friends, which made the rich want to betray those with whom they had gone to the resort, to feel more sympathy for the locals, to whose world they wanted to belong. This perspective is refreshing, as it goes beyond the usual social criticism that would victimize hotel employees or show how they envy the rich. Here, tourists feel a fascination for the locals. This fascination, however, is not exotic, since the characters quickly know how to see that their curiosity about the hotel employees is showing them something about themselves and not about others. Perhaps what they see is that the others are freer.

It is not the same with adult guests. They find it more difficult to relate to hotel employees. Even those who seem to make it easy really suffer while doing it. There are no ways for these adults to relate healthy to those outside of their world. This is part of what makes them difficult for the viewer to accept, but also what makes them funny. The mockery of this inability to get out of the bubble of privilege is a fundamental element of "The White Lotus" which, once again, does not victimize those below, but makes us feel sorry for those above.

In this second season, the tensions between tourists and locals are focused on two sex workers, who are the knot in which all the stories meet. These girls will have direct and indirect contact with all the characters in the series, guests, and staff. They are the center of guilt felt by some and the focus of venting for others. They are interesting characters, because although they want to take advantage of the rich, there is something of innocence in them. The series ridicules the young man who tries to victimize them, without knowing that they have been able to take advantage of their position in the hotel; while allowing us to feel sympathy for them, without this being pity.

"The White Lotus", then, is elusive in its position. We are not able to decipher a moral position on what the characters do or a social criticism beyond mocking the rich and those who criticize the rich; finally everyone. The series leaves no one unscathed or blameless. This is what makes it so refreshing and far from the Wokism that today reigns in the series of streaming services and that imposes a moral on each production. "The White Lotus" breaks loose with its irreverence.

The two seasons of "The White Lotus" are available on the HBO MAX platform.

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