Why The White Lotus Is The TV Show Of The Summer

Picking up where Succession left off, The White Lotus shows us humanity and all of its flaws.

The white lotus

by Shannon Mahanty |
Updated on

Every now and then, a new TV series comes along that completely captures the nation's attention. A show that’s so good it cuts through all the competition, dominates the water-cooler (or Slack) chats, and gets binged-watched by the masses. If the US response is anything to go by, twisted social satire, The White Lotus is set to be the next one of those shows.

The White Lotus Review

Set in a super luxurious Hawaii resort, the hotel is surrounded by endless white sands, swaying palm trees and turquoise oceans; but that’s where the beauty ends. The show centers around the intersecting stories of a selection of demanding holiday-goers, and within the first five minutes, we find out there’s been a death in paradise. ‘Wave like you mean it’ whispers the resort's manager Armond [Murray Bartlett] to his employees as the week's guests arrive via yacht. He’s grinning ear to ear, through knowingly gritted teeth.

Despite his best efforts, the guests of The White Lotus are never satisfied. Entitled honeymooners obsess over getting the best suite, while a snobbish family squabbles over how to spend their time. Meanwhile, the hotel staff bend over backwards to provide the ultimate luxury experience. It turns out to be a sisyphean struggle; the holiday-makers already live in a world of privilege and excess. They expect an unrealistically level of perfection that can never be met.

The recognisable cast have perfect comic timing. Euphoria’s Syndney Sweeny plays a brilliantly acerbic bratty daughter, while Jennifer Coolidge [Legally Blonde] stars as a lonely and ultra-rich woman on a pilgrimage to scattering her mothers ashes in the most luxurious setting imaginable.

Every guest suffers from a startling lack of self-awareness. They are rude, obnoxious and entitled, and at points it makes for squirmingly uncomfortable watching. But it’s also hilarious; the characters are so out of touch with reality that there’s a comedic madness in seeing them turn a relaxing experience into a world of chaos. Mix the sinister foreboding of Get Out and the elitism of Devil Wears Prada with the chaos of Holidays from Hell and you're halfway there.

It’s been a sorrowful two years since Succession last graced our screens, and in many ways The White Lotus picks up exactly where it left off. It shares the same trappings that made Succession an overnight hit; glamour and excess, characters who you love despite fundamentally hating (Roman, we’re looking at you). The White Lotus shows us humanity in all of its flaws.

As hilarious as the show is, it paints a dark social commentary. While rich white families sip cocktails and scuba dive, one of the Native Hawaiian employees serving them is so poor she has to work despite the fact she’s about to go into labour. Commentary around race, wealth and privilege looms deep, and given the huge reckoning we’ve had about racism and injustice in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, the show feels particularly poignant. We may not all be jetting off to five star resorts, but The White Lotus asks every viewer to question their own relationship with privilege.

How can I watch The White Lotus in the UK?

Season one of The White Lotus is available to stream now on Sky Atlantic/ Now TV.

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