This kind of curious phenomenon is not new, but perhaps it will be accentuated in the middle of the winding and unfortunate path that the series are currently traveling. Fundamentally, the problem that we are trying to point out would be this: what is the interest in addressing the vital and existential conflicts of (very) rich people who finally discover, in the midst of opulence, that their lives are not full? Or even more, how to feel affected by those cardboard-stone sadness that emerged in the distant neatness of a sophisticated New York loft or on a glitzy beach in Hawaii?
There is some obscenity in the gloating of those “human” crises expressed or silenced with a martini glass in front of the sea, with designer clothes and between gestures of stale snobbery. There are already many series that have been addressing the subject, with more or less luck, such as Big Little Lies (with a great first season) or The Undoing (a disaster from beginning to end), among many others.
And now, in these months, two new bets very similar to each other have converged, which are even the most prominent bets of two large chains. One is Nine perfect strangers, from Amazon and the other is The White Lotus, from HBO, a six-episode miniseries that recently finished airing.
Critical and scathing perspective
The White Lotus, the one that concerns us here, is a miniseries raised in the tone of an acid comedy, even black. His vision of life in the most obscene opulence clearly takes on a scathing and purportedly devastating critical perspective. Nobody (or almost nobody) is left standing. All ties are traversed by a brutal power play indelibly traced in the social locations they occupy.
However, beyond the tenacity of its evident judgment and its graceful narrative skill, the series does not cease to arouse that uncomfortable feeling of deception, of falsehood, of imposture. In the midst of the apparent criticism, the delight in sumptuousness, in the fascinations of luxury, in the delusions of wealth, and the unleashed personal crises and conflicts do not cease to be, there, almost a grimace or a mockery.
What is it, a kind of mea culpa? Of the rich men and women of Hollywood who come to tell us that they too cry and that they might even be bad people? Yes, even though The White Lotus It is a remarkable bet in several respects, there is something irritating in all that. Having to go to an all-inclusive mega-hotel in Hawaii to discover that their opulent lives are not full, that irritates.
A spectrum that turns a smile into a grimace
Now then what is it about The White Lotus? The miniseries narrates the stay of three family groups in the Hawaiian hotel that gives the series its title. A somewhat neurotic woman who takes her mother’s ashes to deliver them to the sea, a newly married couple (he, a rich child, she, a middle class conflicted with the wealth of the man she has just married), and a married couple with his son, his daughter and a friend of hers (she is oblivious to the opulence of the family). Each group, of course, will have its crisis (middle-aged, belonging, sexual, etc, etc).
But in the midst of all, those who work in the hotel are also deployed, workers who must put themselves at the service of the childish whims of those who ruthlessly hold power. The one who plays as the center is the hotel manager, the most powerful character in the series.
Although the tone is of a very acid humor, it is also played, in the middle of the comedy, with the idea of a mystery. The first chapter begins at the end, when these family groups return from their vacations carrying a corpse. Someone has died and the series, by narrating what happened, will play with that mystery: who of all of them and why and under what circumstances died? Both things work effectively: comedy and mystery. The narrative rhythm is absorbing, humor and irony always hit the right key, the characters and their relationships are drawn, despite certain clichés, with intelligence and creativity.
Everything works then. The White Lotus It is a good proposition, or at least an adjusted and remarkable product. It can even be seen, cheerfully, in one fell swoop. However, of course, there is that spectrum that does not stop turning the smile into a somewhat uncomfortable grimace. Everything is a great imposture, a mockery. On The White Lotus there is not as much irony as cynicism.
The seal of mockery
Many years ago, in the late 70s, a Mexican soap opera starring Verónica Castro caused an enormous furor. It was called Rich people cry too (although here in Argentina it was first seen, as I recall, as Mariana). The title, of course, was more than eloquent. A poor young woman in love with a rich man, encounters and disagreements, an unrecognized son, various melodramatic conflicts and excess, the dignity of poverty, money that does not make happiness, and final reconciliation between classes through the recognition of love true. All easily criticized and reprehensible.
But one can at least think that those popular expressions, which are so lightly judged, made of their lack of political and class consciousness a naked gesture and without cheating, without putting on the false tinsel of an intelligent and distinguished production that lies in mockery. hidden. The White Lotus, with his retailer in shape and with his effective and sophisticated humor, he says the same thing, the rich also cry, and they are also miserable people. It is true that here there will be no possible conciliation or redemptive love, but this is by no means a gesture of political conscience but the stamp of mockery.
After all, back from their Hawaiian vacation, they’ll keep thinking about their hardships with a martini glass in hand, gazing at the city lights through the massive glass of their sophisticated New York loft. As surely the entire team of the series did, after finishing filming on that beautiful Hawaiian beach during the pandemic.
The White Lotus / HBO / 1era. Temporada
Creation and direction: Mike White
Intérpretes: Murray Bartlett, Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge