The acclaimed series ‘The White Lotus’ – which explores the lives of well-heeled guests in the playground of a lavish resort and the problems they encounter when interacting with the locals and each other – was created by Mike White, who can be considered a maestro of grimacing.
If in doubt, just skim through some of her impressive previous work, like ‘Enlightened’ from a decade ago – in which Laura Dern played a well-meaning corporate employee whose lack of self-awareness got worse. looks like a superpower. (“White Lotus” and “Enlightened” are from HBO, which, like CNN, is part of the same parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.)
But with multiple Emmy-winning “Lotus,” White, who has said his own “clumsiness threshold is very low”, has more than come into its own, painting withering portraits of amazing hotel guests on paper who (sometimes) turn into low-key monsters as they try to escape their problems and relax on vacation.
In honor of the imminent end of the shenanigans at the White Lotus in Sicily for the second season finale this weekend (don’t worry, another season is on the way, even though the show was originally supposed to be a limited series unique), here’s a look back at the cringiest moments from seasons 1 and 2, ranked by levels of off-the-skin awkwardness.
While some viewers were upset that pregnant Lani (Jolene Purdy of “Donnie Darko” fame) was never seen again in the show’s first season after giving birth at the station in the first episode, the decision underlined to how transient and replaceable the hotel staff and hospitality. service providers can be perceived, which in turn has widened the gap even further between the guests entitled to the White Lotus and the staff doggedly trying to accommodate them. Yet watching manager Armond (Murray Bartlett) repeatedly forget Lani’s name — even after her water broke outside her reception desk — is one of the first smack-on-the-brow moments for many of the series. (“Honourable” mention: Emmy-winning hotel manager Bartlett also gets major points for the season finale, for a senseless act of scatology that, in the end, is more simply rude than is commendable).
Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge) is a woman whose navel-gazing knows absolutely no bounds, and it comes to a head when she embarks on an extremely awkward journey in season 1 (she’s one of only two characters to be seen in both seasons) on a small boat with Shane (Jake Lacy) and Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) – who thought they’d have the ship to themselves for a romantic dinner (this pair, in fact, saw an array of cringe-worthy moments throughout the season, especially when Shane’s mother, played by Whites regular Molly Shannon, surprises the honeymoon couple with a bizarre visit). While the viewer can revel in Tanya’s display of wacky emotions, the look on Jake’s face is enough to make you want to jump overboard.
Season 2 of the show introduced a cast of mostly new characters, with arguably the most troublesome being Albie (Adam DiMarco) – a soft-spoken young man on a family trip with his dad and granddaughter. -dad. When he meets Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) – the personal assistant with a pretty dire outlook on her situation – he feels he’s hit the jackpot, at one point informing her that he’s attracted to “birds.” injured”… which has the expected effect. Still, the pair try to cement their union largely because there’s no one better around…that is, until the handsome Brit Jack (Leo Woodal) arrives, who takes Portia in a party shack right next to where the abandoned Albie dutifully awaits her with a rescued lounge chair. Cringe.
Although there are two male scenes in the series – one in each season – it would be incorrect to label Tanya’s testimony as Jack and his “uncle” Quentin (Tom Hollander) near the end of the season. 2 as cringe-worthy, in part because she doesn’t get caught. But when wellness staff member Belinda (Natasha Rothwell) and hotel guest Shane open the door to Armond’s office in Season 1 – and find him engaged in a very NSFW sex act with his underling. Cranky Dillon (Lukas Gage) is off the charts, because 1. they’re at work, and 2. recovering Armond is clearly going around in circles here.
Sometimes it’s the little scenes that are the loudest in terms of “eeeek” on the awkwardness scale. Together with Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore), manager of White Lotus Sicily, White has beautifully built a motivated and capable employer who nevertheless has a rather significant blind spot. Throughout Season 2, Valentina barks high-pitched orders at her male staff (and the men at a nearby cafe as well), but when she sees her run over Isabella (Eleonora Romandini), her voice softens and her guard substantial. drop – so much so that she doesn’t realize how inappropriate it is to give her employee a piece of jewelry. The look on Isabella’s face is all you need to turn off the TV and take a break.
Although it could be seen coming from a mile away, the way things are going for Kai (Kekoa Kekumano) – after being asked to fly by Paula (Brittany O’Grady) to try and get out of debt and not not having to work for a company that, in turn, stole land from one’s ancestors – is both frightening and heartbreakingly realistic. Worse still, with Kai’s life seemingly ruined, Paula can leave behind the mess she unwittingly created.
Part of what made “TWL” Season 1 so remarkable was how it commented on the different levels of class and the innate, almost automatic racism and elitism that occurs when they mix. Add in Tanya’s particular brand of “crazy alcoholic” narcissism (her words, not mine), and it creates a mess of wreckage. The final exchange between Tanya and poor Belinda (again) – who had sent her a business proposal in good faith after Tanya put off the idea of helping her start her own wellness business – is perhaps -being the most devastating moment of the series. Tanya’s ability to get up and out of herself in the moment, just enough to apologize pathetically, is disappointing to say the least, while Belinda breaks down in I-should-know-best tears. “The last thing I need in my life is another transactional relationship,” Tanya says, while clutching a thick envelope of cash in her purse, which she hands to Belinda to avoid too much guilt before leaving. go out.