Series review: “White Lotus” (season 2) by Mike White

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Today, Lucile Commeaux talks to us about the second season of “White Lotus*”* on OCS.

It is an American series produced by HBO, written and directed by Mike White, started in 2021 and broadcast in France on OCS. The “White lotus” at the start is a hotel in Hawaii where in the first season a group of wealthy American tourists meet, welcomed by a colorful team. A bit like in an Agatha Christie novel, we know from the start that at the end there will be at least one less. Who, how, why? fiction played with this suspense along six particularly successful burlesque and satirical episodes.

This second season literally plays on the franchise: “White Lotus” being in fact a hotel chain, we find ourselves in another luxury establishment located on another island, in Sicily this time. An opening scene at the edge of the beach tells us that once again there are a few corpses at stake. The group of wealthy tourists who will populate this new almost closed door is almost entirely new: the son, father and grandfather of a family seeking to trace its Sicilian origins. The son is sympathetic and a little soft, the father in the middle of a marital crisis, the grandfather a little embarrassing and libidinous. At their side, two couples of thirty-somethings, newly CEOs who are more or less friends, one of whose wives, more intellectual and fairly jaded, balks at the idea of ​​staying there. And finally the famous Tanya, interpreted by the great Jennifer Coolidge, luscious blonde with a largely redone body and face and extravagant outfits who always drags her whims and anxieties, decked out with a new young assistant. To the tourists are added the locals: in particular a surly hotel owner, and two young girls ready to do anything to settle in.

All these little people arrive on the island via a luxurious boat, greeted by a team dressed to the nines, tight smiles and prosecco in hand, an almost exact repetition of the arrival scene from season one, and which foreshadows a quite astonishing bias for this season two: it’s exactly the same thing. Some shots and sequences almost overlap; certain characters are constructed as a mirror of their predecessors – for example this hotel manager, who is a little stiff in her affability, a female copy of the butler in Hawaii. Corridor intrigues, circulating drugs, scandalous sex, and family secrets, we tell ourselves that it’s too strong, we’re still not going to watch the same thing transposed to Sicily. Well if.

Frankness and satire

One of the big new interests this season is Tanya. The only recurring character in the series is a great character, both ridiculous and magnificent, very endearing and very funny: neurotic and lonely heiress, in desperate search of mad love, who absolutely wants to live a day in Sicily like Monica Vitti. Then for all the other actors who surround him, a racy array, who composes a small theater of great quality: Farhid Murray Abraham, immense Hollywood supporting role, Michael Imperioli, the nephew of Tony Soprano, or Aubrey Plaza, champion in all categories of mouth pulling.

Moreover, paradoxically, it is very interesting the way the series has of going over the previous one, thus showing that in Hawaii or in Sicily, or anywhere else, hotels, swimming pools, breakfasts, excursions, drugs, class and gender relations are the same, rotten by male and capitalist domination, sometimes turned around by the exploited who are smarter than the others. The satire works all the better in this effect of repetition, much more than in Ruben Ostlünd’s film we talked about here, “Without Filter”, which obviously comes to mind: same ultra-rich population, same apparently paradisiacal setting. White Lotus succeeds where the Palme d’Or failed, by being finer, by being more humanistic and funnier, the series is much more effective. Lucile Commeaux

  • White Lotus“Season 2, already three episodes available on the OCS platform

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Series review: “White Lotus” (season 2) by Mike White