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Enjoyed the finale. Quinn leaving to go on the canoe was great. It's what you want for your kid, get away from screens and find yourself...until it happens. Paula is the worst but it was a fitting end that she has to watch the people she despises continue on actually happier than before combined with Olivia now having something to hold over her. The sad part is her character would eventually move on from the guilt for what she did to Kai because she's that vacant. 

The Rachel thing isn't surprising because it was the least plausible storyline for me. 

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The show was alright but the finale pissed me off.  I would have enjoyed the whole thing a lot less if Paula hadn't reminded of an old gf. To me it turned into a happily ever after-type story. Even Armond seemed happy and relieved to die in the bathtub because he knew his career was fucked. Shane finally got to pound Connie Britton and feel like a man. The old bag who's pumped full of botox got to feel free of her mother. Paula got to realize she actually did have a friend in Sydney. The newlyweds got back together and maybe just maybe Rachel will put in enough time to have enough wealth of her own when she finally divorces her douche of a husband. The teenage son got to paddle into the sunset with his new friends.

The show was promoted as biting satire but there was no darkness. No sophistication. Just a shane dawson-like shit in a suitcase prank with a convenient ending.  I guess everyone ends up happy. Except Kai.

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54 minutes ago, Chopper said:

The show was alright but the finale pissed me off.  I would have enjoyed the whole thing a lot less if Paula hadn't reminded of an old gf. To me it turned into a happily ever after-type story. Even Armond seemed happy and relieved to die in the bathtub because he knew his career was fucked. Shane finally got to pound Connie Britton and feel like a man. The old bag who's pumped full of botox got to feel free of her mother. Paula got to realize she actually did have a friend in Sydney. The newlyweds got back together and maybe just maybe Rachel will put in enough time to have enough wealth of her own when she finally divorces her douche of a husband. The teenage son got to paddle into the sunset with his new friends.

The show was promoted as biting satire but there was no darkness. No sophistication. Just a shane dawson-like shit in a suitcase prank with a convenient ending.  I guess everyone ends up happy. Except Kai.

I'm not sure how you can conclude all those characters ended up "happy".

Every single person save Quinn ended the show in the same or worse position, regardless of whether they solved some surface level issue. The Mosbacher's marriage will be exactly where it was as soon as the vacation glow fades. Paula knows Olivia has dirt on her and will throw her under the bus the second Paula has something Olivia wants. Oh yeah, and she destroyed a fucking guy's life.  Shane either ends up divorced or in a marriage with a woman who told him on his honeymoon that she felt alone with him. Rachel ran back to a loveless marriage and life she doesn't want.  Armond literally gets stabbed to death by the guy he hates. Belinda was strung along emotionally with a new life dangled in front of her, yet ended the show literally where she started. Coolidge - an emotional train wreck - is signing up for a relationship with a guy on death's door. I'm sure she'll handle that death well. 

Even Quinn. You think the story ends happily for a 16 year old who runs away from his parents at the airport? That little shit will be jerking off to his iphone in California within a few days.

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Enjoyed the finale. Quinn leaving to go on the canoe was great. It's what you want for your kid, get away from screens and find yourself...until it happens. Paula is the worst but it was a fitting end that she has to watch the people she despises continue on actually happier than before combined with Olivia now having something to hold over her. The sad part is her character would eventually move on from the guilt for what she did to Kai because she's that vacant. 
The Rachel thing isn't surprising because it was the least plausible storyline for me. 

Rachel clearly explained how it happened in great detail in the final episode. She’s a mediocre journalist. Aimless, attempting to live in NYC. When he left her at the dinner table, reality of loneliness and divorce hit. When she asked for advice, Belinda was like “Im out of it”.

She chose the path of least resistance.
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Privilege and wealth usually wins out in the end. After the powder keg build up for 5 episodes, it ends with the rich people continuing on their normal paths in life, while the working class flails/drowns in their wake. 

Entertaining show, but don't think they quite nailed the landing. 

 

 

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Paula would have been found out (even if Kai didnt give her up).

It's not the crime of the century, but a half decent cop would wonder exactly how Kai got into the safe, and, you know, maybe look at text messages on his phone and establish that Kai had a relationship with someone who was staying in the suite he broke into.

and Quinn.. so one of his parents didn't get off the plane when they realized he wasn't behind them or seated?

i am nitpicking.. i am enjoyed the 5 episodes, but probably enjoyed the last one the least.

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Given his parents barely knew where Quinn was at any given time during the vacation because they're wrapped up in their own worlds, I could absolutely believe he could not get on the plane and they don't realize it till after the flight took off. 

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1 hour ago, Reynolds Woodcock said:

I'm not sure how you can conclude all those characters ended up "happy".

Every single person save Quinn ended the show in the same or worse position

 

It was a week's long vacation. Were you expecting profound improvements in their lives?

Relative to a week's long vacation, they were all either better or generally accepting of their circumstance. Armond of course wasn't on vacation but he was fed up with catering to all the rich people every single day of his life. Maybe you missed that? He had just lost his career. He didn't fight for his life, he didn't call out. He laid in the bathtub with a slight smile on his face because he was glad it was over and he wouldn't have to rebuild a career.

Obviously happiness is subjective.

(edit: Paula...she let Kai take the fall. She didn't even bother to get off the boat when it was clear Kai was in trouble...She dumped his necklace. She didn't even show emotions for Kai when he told her he wished she would stay on the Island. She'll shake that crap off in no time.)

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50 minutes ago, yoladu said:

i am nitpicking.. i am enjoyed the 5 episodes, but probably enjoyed the last one the least.

yeah, i found myself nitpicking more than usual (which is a lot), and that's not a great sign.

last night, before the episode started, i kinda came to the conclusion that the timeline was unrealistic for someone at another resort to "hear that someone got killed at the white lotus" when it was clearly going to be late night (near the end of the finale) the night before everybody flew home.  news travels fast, but not sure that's plausible.

when i start thinking about stuff like that, there are bigger issues.

the most important thing is that armond went out on his own terms, happy.  he crushed the dinner seating then took a shit in an annoying guest's suitcase.  check and mate.

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I'm not so sure that Armond actually crushed the dinner seating. He certainly believed that he did, but when his internal soundtrack for that scene was over, one of the guests remarked that he didn't look quite right. So he might have been a disaster in reality. 

And at the risk of pointing out the obvious, nearly all of the guests were somehow able to leave their comfort zone in one way or another during their vacation (cue Bob Wiley's "A VACATION FROM MY PROBLEMS!!!"), but everyone (save Quinn) more or less returned to their individual status quo by the end of their respective trips. 

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Interview with Mike White that discusses the finale.

https://www.vulture.com/article/the-white-lotus-finale-mike-white-interview-departures-ending.html

Spoiler

The White Lotus is a show born out of necessity, an HBO series that creator Mike White could produce quickly and then shoot almost entirely at one location — the Maui Four Seasons — in the fall and winter of 2020. Despite its expediency, though, The White Lotus is also an extension of White’s personal and professional preoccupations going back years. White is best known as the creator of the HBO series Enlightened (2011–2013), about an ambitious woman climbing the corporate ladder who experiences a breakdown, has a spiritual and existential reawakening on a trip to Hawaii and then struggles to reintegrate her new self with the very messy remnants of her previous life.

The White Lotus also concerns a Hawaiian reawakening of sorts, as a series about the people who can afford to stay at an expensive, cloistered resort paradise in hopes of rejuvenation, bonding with their families, and finding themselves. It’s an experience White is familiar with, something he has chased in various ways during his life, through travel but also by participating in reality shows (both The Amazing Race and Survivor) that send participants to distant, often unfamiliar places. Unlike Enlightened, however, The White Lotus includes the people who work at the resort and whose labor maintains the setting for the privileged guests’ relaxation. Into that premise, The White Lotus adds an awareness of Hawaii’s lasting colonial damage, the complicated dynamics of a place that relies on tourism but where the economic gains from that tourism don’t proportionally benefit the native Hawaiians.

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A week-in-review newsletter from the people who make New York Magazine.
 

When I spoke with White before the show’s finale, he was beginning to think more deeply about some questions he was wrestling with while creating the show as well as some of the criticisms that have been voiced about it. White is a voluble, generous person to talk with — he shares his thoughts freely and was excited about digging into the themes and contradictions of the series, what he wanted The White Lotus to be, and its relationship to his life as an artist. But the first thing that caught my attention was the image on the wall behind him, the backdrop to our Zoom conversation. He spoke to me from his home in L.A., where the wall behind him was covered with a large painted image of a tropical paradise full of palm trees and wildlife.

Editor’s note: This conversation contains a specific, detailed discussion of the ending of The White Lotus, including all kinds of spoilers about who dies and under what circumstances. 

 

I want to know about the mural behind you! 
Oh yeah, that’s wallpaper. I’m really into wallpaper, and as you can see in the creditsThe opening-credits sequence for The White Lotus is a series of animated images of tropical-themed wallpaper — first, beautiful images of flowers and peaceful scenes, then a shift in which the images turn dark. Snakes lurk among the flowers, pineapples rot, and a boat full of people nearly capsizes in a wave., I was like, “We’ve got to have wallpaper.” I figured if I can never leave my house because of COVID or whatever, I can travel in my mind.

Is it a fantasy world?
It’s called Eden, so a little bit. There’s elephants and birds. I actually was in Sri Lanka on a trip by myself, and I went to this place and I looked out the window and was like, This is exactly my wallpaper!

This is tangentially White Lotus–related, right, because it’s all about travel and fantasy and — 
And colonialism. Sri Lanka is the island that everyone colonized: the Dutch, the Portuguese, the French, the English. They all at some point had a stamp on Sri Lanka.

And The White Lotus is about the desire to go somewhere Edenic while also understanding the place’s complicated history. 
It’s definitely something that exists inside me. You go to these colonial spots, and the architecture, the houses, they’re so fantastic! It’s so perverse — you go there and you think, This is living! This is the house! I want to be Isak Dinesen in Africa! But then it’s, well, this is not what someone should be wanting.

Let’s talk about the end of The White Lotus. You dangle the mystery of an unidentified dead body from the beginning, and it clearly propels the series. But it also seems as if you’re making a bit of a joke about how much audiences love a dead body that needs to be explained. 
I’m a type of creator who’s had good critical responses sometimes, but I’ve struggled to get people to show up to watch. [Laughs] Having a little hook — I knew I wanted somebody to die anyway, so it was like, “Let’s lead with that as a hook.”

So you knew you wanted a dead body. How did you figure out who would kill whom, how the whole story would play out? 
I wanted it to seem like maybe it was the honeymoon that really goes wrong and Shane is such a hothead that maybe he’s going to do [his wife] Rachel in. But I knew I wanted Armond to die. It came to me in a flash that his final act of retribution, of the put-upon existence he has serving these privileged people, was to take a crap in their bag, and that would be his last act, an operatic end for him. I’ve never seen that before, and it felt like that would be funny and have a surreal but impactful end.

I sometimes feel like I’m in the service industry, even though I’m not. Dancing for the man — I find myself doing that a lot.

But why was it Armond who was slated to die from the beginning?
I guess that was the character I relate to the most. I sometimes feel like I’m in the service industry, even though I’m not. Dancing for the man — I find myself doing that a lot. Sometimes I’m full in, and I want to be a white-glove-service screenwriter: do great work but also be friendly, a “give the suits what they want” kind of person. And then when I feel like they turn on me or I’m not respected or something bad happens, then I’m like, [holds up two middle fingers] Fuck this place!

I also felt there was something very touching about this being his last great dinner service. Like, “That was the best seating ever!” There’s something so puny [about it], but also he’s a performer. There’s nothing left to say! It’s like hasta la vista, there’s nowhere to go from there.

Did you know it would be Shane who kills him? 
Yeah. Most of my original conceits for the show came out of that story line: a woman who realizes what she’s really married to and what she’s giving up, how a honeymoon is a perfect dramatization of that stuff. I also felt it’d be fun to do something where a little argument about “I didn’t get the right room” turns into a tragedy. That’s so my — I hate to say this, but it’s very on-brand for me. It’s the situational part of it that becomes a more existential thing. Those are stories that I like.

I was so conflicted about the fact that Rachel decides to go back to Shane in the end. 
I always knew she’d go back to him. There was something about her, even in the way she’s approaching him; it’s like someone who wants to get a response. Honestly, it feels true to life for me. I’ve seen peers who may not have been in this exact situation. She’s started to feel the limits of what she thinks she’s capable of, and it’s the reality of the seduction of a lifestyle. Some people read it as cynical; to me, the thing that I feel about Shane is that even though he is a privileged asshole, he does really love her. Even if it’s just an idea of her.

What I was trying to do with Jake [Lacy] was like, [Shane] may say obnoxious things to [Rachel], but he really is into her. And he’s the kind of guy where as long as he’s waiting, it’s okay. It’s only when he doesn’t get what he wants that he shows his douchebaggery. Maybe it’s a little bit of a portrait of mediocrity or someone who’s weak. I don’t know, I feel like when I see her go back to him, the way I talked about it with Jake was that, in that moment, he’s like a little boy lost. There’s a little bit of pathos there for me.

Maybe I’m being condescending to them, but I’ve seen it in my life. There is a powerful pull of money and lifestyle. In L.A., you see it all the time. In a way, she’s naïve; she wants to be independent and have power in the relationship, but she doesn’t have the money, she doesn’t have the power. I do see women making that choice sometimes.

So it’s not meant as an indictment of her weakness. Or maybe it is? 
To me, it’s an indictment in the sense that it’s sad that principled actions don’t always win the day. But it’s also — she already married him! They had the wedding. I can see how you’d just be like, No, never mind, I don’t want to have to unravel this. It’d be interesting to come back and revisit them down the road and see what happens.

The final moment of the show is Quinn in the boat paddling away. When did that story enter into the honeymoon murder idea?
That just fell into place. I didn’t know what exactly I was doing with that kid as I started writing. In my head, I thought maybe Paula was the one that was going to run off. Did you ever see An Officer and a Gentleman? At the very end, she says, “Way to go, Paula!” because the girl is running off with her guy, and I thought, Maybe she falls in love with a local guy and it’s a “Way to go, Paula!” moment.

As I started building it out, though, I thought, I relate to Armond, but I also relate to this kid. Maybe it’s my Survivor experiences. How do I get away from this phone? How do I get away from this culture? Take me away! I thought it’d be interesting to have a kid who doesn’t have much of a life, and is a creature of this time, have this numinous experience and see going back [to his previous life] as a kind of death. I’m not necessarily fantasizing about paddling to Fiji, but being somewhere where I’m free from my devices, free of the discourse, free of all the conversations that he’s experiencing at dinner between his mom and his sister — I want to check out. Let me out of this.

It’s another ending moment I felt conflicted about. I get the sympathy of wanting to get in the boat and paddle away, but he’s also a tourist who co-opts this place for his own ends.
I think you’re also saying that it plays into the trope of the magical locals, this pastoral life. It’s a fantasy; it’s definitely a fantasy. But I also felt like the show is calibrated with a lot of caustic observations, and there might be room for a little bit of fantasy and hope at the end there. It does take place in a Hawaiian setting, and that’s complicated. I’m sure I’ll get some criticism along these lines. But I also felt like I’ve had my own honest experience of that. I’ve had that moment where it’s like, This is so magical. I feel connected to these people and this space. There’s real beauty here. Sartre says there are no perfect moments, and I’m like, No! This is it! I had this!

I didn’t want to land in a cynical place in the end, even though it’s dark for some of the other characters. For him, I felt like, give him a little bit of a fantasy ending.

Quinn evokes a lot of what you were playing with in Enlightened. There’s even a scene where he’s diving and he sees a turtle, a direct echo of an important image from the earlier show. It’s the possibility of going away and finding a different version of yourself. 
It’s also reconnecting to — [deep sigh] and this is complicated, but it’s Hawaii as a porthole to think about natural beauty, a different way of living. That part of it is not just a fantasy, I don’t think. It’s obviously more complicated than that, and the colonial aspect complicates it even more. Like, yeah, you have a rich white kid having this experience on the backs of the other guys, the ones who actually know how to row.

I’m that white kid, I guess. Am I going to hate myself? What do you do? I want to get into some of the stuff about Hawaii and the colonial, imperial parts of it that exist to this day. I feel like I tried to weave that in. When you start trying to tell that story, though, it’s like, Is this really my story to tell? I can only come at it from how I — I saw the turtle. I got on the boat. I had that moment.

I think your reaction is the right reaction, which is, I have conflicted feelings about it. That’s what it hopefully is designed to do. I’m okay with people having that reaction, and I’m okay with the criticism because I think it’s a valid criticism.

Did you have a writers’ room for the show? 
No, it was just me.

Was that ever something you considered, given all the issues you just mentioned about telling these complex stories? 
This is just such a thorny topic, and I probably would just be wise to beg off. I will say that I think the worst thing in the world is to take yourself too literally. Art is about asserting a spiritual component to self.

I want to find myself in the other, and the point of it is that there is no other; it is you. That’s the deepest connection you can make in art.

There’s two elements to this. I think the gatekeepers need to be shamed into allowing more people to have access to the resources to tell the stories they want to tell. It shouldn’t just be white guys telling these stories. I think people should use whatever rhetoric they can to leverage that. At the same time, there is something about the rhetoric that I think sometimes runs counter to the enterprise of art, which I think is asserting that we are not the sum of our identities. That’s something I internally grapple with. I do believe that I am more than what I look like, and I believe that about everyone. There’s a practical part of it, which is that art is made by people, and there’s a power component to who gets to make art. Then there’s the actual action of art, which is a call to empathy and imagination and being able to really see ourselves in everyone. That part of it we shouldn’t throw out in the interest of making it more fair.

I still believe in art as the individual and as the universal, and if I didn’t believe in that, I don’t know what I’d do anymore. I’d be telling stories about literally my life, and I don’t want to tell that story. I want to find myself in the other, and the point of it is that there is no other; it is you. That’s the deepest connection you can make in art.

The possibilities of tourism in The White Lotus seem like they’ve evolved from Enlightened. Amy Jellicoe in that show can find herself while she’s away, and the challenge there is how to reintegrate that knowledge once she’s back. The White Lotus seems much more skeptical of the possibility of leaving the world behind. And part of that is a positive. Vacation cannot just be a fantasy. Nicole and Mark have these two teenage girls with them who keep reminding them that maybe it’s gross to watch this hula dance. 
I think that is right. I definitely think we have deconstructed ourselves in a healthy way, but we’ve also made it hard to not see ourselves as walking clichés representative of a certain kind of thing. This is exactly what I was just talking about, that feeling of wanting to transcend self, and realizing, I really am just a vegan Buddhist Santa Monica screenwriter. You’re so self-aware that you see that you are that guy, but also you’re not!

That’s one part of your question; the other is that the world is too much with us, whether it’s the climate or our phones. That idea of being transported away really was the inspiration for the show as much as anything and [it’s] why the music is the way it is. You go to these places, [on] this hunt for escapism, but there’s this feeling of existential dread that permeates the experience. The waters are rising here, too. There’s no getting away from it all. There’s no mystery anymore.

It’d be nice to be completely obtuse about all these things. This is something I wanted to explore with the show, how everyone’s on the defensive right now. Everyone feels on their heels a little bit. The funny, interesting, complicated ways we try to justify how we vacation, how we spend our money. I’m doing it right now defending why I wrote this! Where do I get off writing a show that takes place in Hawaii? I feel it as a creator, too. Should I just gracefully step off the stage and hide in a hole? You do feel like you’re in an Ouroboros eating your own tail.

In the first episode, you introduce Lani, a pregnant hotel employee who gives birth in the resort. We never see her again, and I found myself thinking about her constantly in the later episodes. I wondered what happened to her! 
It’s not just her, too. We meet Kai and then he just disappears. There’s a practical aspect to that, which is that we were forced to shoot in the bubble, so other than when we were out on the boats, we couldn’t shoot anything else. That was the mandate.

But I thought it would be interesting to do that. At the very beginning, [Armond says], “We’re interchangeable helpers.” It’s like they don’t exist, this idea that once they exit the hotel, they’re pulverized, they vanish. I thought that would be maybe controversial, but it’s like a steamrolling. The people waving in the beginning, by the end they’ve been replaced, and it’s like the experience of these hotel guests — oh, she had a baby, he’s in jail, whatever. My hope is that the critique of that is built into the DNA of it.

In the penultimate episode, Armond quotes from Tennyson’s poem “The Lotos-Eaters.” As soon as I heard it, I felt like an idiot for not thinking of that reference from the beginning. How early did you have the show’s title in place?
The title was there before I started writing. The idea of — and again, this is something I experienced, ugh. But as someone who’s made money in my 20-plus years in the business, you look at yourself and you think — I feel like this is why I don’t judge Rachel. I came out, so I felt like I was going to always swim upstream. I came out with so much idealism about the purpose of art, the purpose of what I was going to do. I have tried to stay that person, and I feel like, Have I fallen asleep in the poppy fields? Am I a lotos-eater? Yeah, I tookWhite is credited as a screenwriter on the children’s animated feature The Emoji Movie. It is not critically acclaimed. The Emoji Movie. I tried to get the money for that house in HawaiiWhite owns a house on Kauai and has referred to Hawaii as his second home.. I’ve tried to justify some of it by being like, Oh, I didn’t come from money. I’ll get my mom out of debt. At some point, it’s hard to justify continuing to chase the dragon. I wanted to explore that in a way that I felt like — at least for me, and it may not feel that way for the audience — but at least for me, it felt like I was exposing something of my own lotos-eating.

So the fact that it’s a white lotus is probably not accidental. 
Yeah, it’s both my name and the racial oppressor and all of that! I have been Shane. I have been Shane recently, where they wouldn’t let me into my room at two, they said, “Your room won’t be ready for two hours,” that kind of thing.

As I rewatched Enlightened recently, I was struck by one of the Amy Jellicoe voice-over monologues where she’s rhapsodizing about time. “There’s so much time!” That felt true in 2011 in a way that does not feel true now. 
Maybe you’re older, too.

I am! But apocalyptic ideas are present now in a way that they weren’t ten years ago. 
It’s been ten years since that episode came out. There’s been a lot of positive things, and a lot of people have been held accountable. [But] I think I’ve become more conflicted about my own idealistic self and the limits of that.

I feel like I see myself the way Twitter sees me or a certain kind of Twitter would see me. Me, putting out a little hopeful argument and realizing it’s being reflected back in this way that it’s just, “Oh, you’re just THIS.” Either I’m a libtard, or I’m above the accusations of privilege. It’s like what Quinn says at one point. We’re all parasites on the earth. There is no virtuous person anymore. It doesn’t matter if we have virtuous thoughts — by the nature of existing now, we’re part of the extinction. I feel like some of the sentiment I still want to believe. I want to believe that there’s some telos, there’s some endeavor to making the world a better place, there is somewhere to go from here. But I feel like we’ve seen the limits of that discourse both on a personal level and on a global level.

Where is Eden when we bring the problem with us everywhere?
It’s just my wallpaper now! I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I do feel more cynical than I did when I was writing Amy Jellicoe. It’s one of the things that come to me when they ask me about doing a third season [of Enlightened]. What would be the words of wisdom? What would be the voiceover of Amy Jellicoe now? I don’t know.

In another interview, you said that making Enlightened now would be like “pandering to the Zeitgeist,” and I was thinking about the problem of pandering. What even is pandering when your job is to make art for people? 
I do think about this, and I definitely thought about it in relation to this show, which is — you know, I’m not an idiot. If I wanted to create a virtuous show, I could do it. I feel like I could create characters that fit some people’s political and cultural agenda and probably my own! That would be pandering. The point of art is to reflect something that feels true and conflicted!

There was a guy who did a piece on Jennifer [Coolidge] for Vulture, and he tweetedVulture writer E. Alex Jung tweeted, “i do think white people love the white lotus because it satirizes privilege/class/servitude while still centering white people.”, like, “White people are liking White Lotus because they can stay centered in the narrative,” and I could kind of tell he had — I had the knee-jerk reaction [to someone] criticizing the show. But the show demands that! [But also] if I took that assumption to its fullest, it would make it so that I shouldn’t even be creating anything anymore. It’s a deep criticism of who’s getting what stories made, which is a completely valid conversation. But obviously, it would threaten me in some way! Because this is all I can do! I don’t know how to be a general manager of a hotel!

You give some of those ideas to Steve Zahn’s character in The White Lotus: Should he give away all his money? Should he just disappear?
Am I bad because of the things I can’t control? I think that’s something that, again, is so in the Zeitgeist right now. I think it’s worth making things that hopefully aren’t oblivious and hold both truths. There’s an idealistic strain that has some humanity and at the same time acknowledges the imperfect creation.

You know, I’m not an idiot. If I wanted to create a virtuous show, I could do it.

What you want is to inspire debate. Funnily enough, when I was young, I was like, Oh, they’re discounting it because I’m a gay weirdo, and I could be like, Fuck that, they’re losers, they’re bigots. Now it’s like, “Oh, he’s a white, privileged guy.” Like Steve’s character, I was the good guy! Don’t be mad at me! I’m one of the good guys! Well, you still do stand for that. You still are going to be read that way. Your house that has been paid off should be enough of a consolation for the criticism you receive.

So I accept the criticism. But a part of you — you want everybody to like you. It’s like David and Goliath. When I realized I was a Goliath [on SurvivorWhen White was cast on the reality show Survivor in 2018, the theme was “David vs. Goliath.” Half the cast was designated as power players, and half as sympathetic but presumably weaker underdogs.], I was like, “Nobody’s going to be rooting for us! We’re the Goliaths. I want to be a David!” But you’re not a David anymore! You are a Goliath!

I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for me; I don’t feel sorry for myself. But I still want to think about things, and I still want to create stuff. And my hope is that it’s useful for somebody besides myself.

It’s so fascinating to me that Survivor comes up for you so much in talking about this show. How does Survivor play into your artistic life?
So much of self is situational. You see how people bungle having power, how the oppressed becomes the oppressor, the bully becomes the bullied. All the different strategies of Survivor felt like they were analogous to whatever I was going through. When you grow up watching scripted things, there’s a lot of tropes, there’s a lot of cliches, there’s a lot of religiosity around humanity. Even in the best scripted dramas, I sense a little of that. The first season of Survivor, these people were, like, straight out of life. So funny and complex. And also very base and human! There’s humanity here because we’re humans, but there’s something very honest about what goes on on that playing field that, as a dramatist, I find very inspiring.

Thank you for making the time to have this conversation. I appreciate it so much. 
Some of the things we talked about, I was being honest about some of the things that are really at the core of what the show is. I really want to be honest. If the artist isn’t going to be honest, who is going to be honest? It’s a thorny world, and you never want to say the wrong thing. But I’m happy I’ve had this conversation because I feel like it did clarify some of the things I’m obsessing on that the show talks about but I feel like I haven’t been able to talk about. So thank you.

Anytime you want to talk again, I’m available. 
Do I have to pay by the hour?

I’m very reasonable, I promise.

 

Edited by Herpa Derpa
added interview for the lazys
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13 minutes ago, Prepuce of Doom said:

I'm not so sure that Armond actually crushed the dinner seating. He certainly believed that he did, but when his internal soundtrack for that scene was over, one of the guests remarked that he didn't look quite right. So he might have been a disaster in reality. 

haha.. true.. when Shane mentioned Armand during the dinner service, Armond was in the background of that scene, and looked quite out of it.. it was a nice bit of acting there, subtle - not over the top.

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I liked the show overall and don’t take it too seriously. The ending was fine but it was more about the build-up for me.

If I wanted to nitpick, it would be odd details like this:

-Shane’s suite had a queen bed.

-The Mossbachers went on a family vacation to an expensive resort, stayed in a fancy suite with a kitchen, but the suite only had 1 bedroom and their game plan was apparently for their teenage daughter and friend to share a sleeper sofa and their teenage son to sleep where exactly?

-The White Lotus (Four Seasons) is totally cool with people sleeping overnight on the beach and has zero security.

-The Four Seasons Maui has shitty pool and beach furniture, like something I would expect at a Galveston condo. Unless the film crew brought that in, which I’m not sure why they would intentionally make it look less swanky.

-The guests arrived by boat to a hotel in Maui. I guess it’s a fictional location, but those same guests left by plane.

-Olivia sleeps with a bra on.

But none of that stuff truly bothers me with this type of show. Well, maybe the last one.

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2 hours ago, mdmost said:

Given his parents barely knew where Quinn was at any given time during the vacation because they're wrapped up in their own worlds, I could absolutely believe he could not get on the plane and they don't realize it till after the flight took off. 

McCauley Culkin had a career based on this happening.

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2 hours ago, Texas St. Armadillos said:

Isn't there a rule about scuba diving and flying within 24 hours?  

Ha -- I asked my wife the same thing last night. We didn't know. She thought it might've been the other way around. Still don't know.

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Enjoyed the season, but they missed on the last episode. I didn’t mind Rachel going back, that shit happens. Two main things, there is no way in hell Quinn would be allowed to stay as a minor. Second, if your best friend caused a dude to attack your parents and rob them, it will be hard to just forgive and forget. Overall, it was fine. 

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Enjoyed the season, but they missed on the last episode. I didn’t mind Rachel going back, that shit happens. Two main things, there is no way in hell Quinn would be allowed to stay as a minor. Second, if your best friend caused a dude to attack your parents and rob them, it will be hard to just forgive and forget. Overall, it was fine. 

Quinn is a runaway. Happens all the time.

Best friend betrays friends parents and stays friends (as long as its secret or even if its not). Happens all the time.
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7 minutes ago, Eskimohorn said:

Best friend betrays friends parents and stays friends (as long as its secret or even if its not). Happens all the time.

also quite probable that two girls are best friends their sophomore year in college and barely speak 6 months later.  happens all the time.

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We were disappointed. Booorrringgg. Had its moments.  But boring.  Everyone basically sunk back into their original ways or gave into “the way things are”. Except Quinn’s goofy ass. 

Good acting by some though. Hated the daughter and her face/comments. But she had a secret great rack. 

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1 hour ago, utxmike05 said:

We were disappointed. Booorrringgg. Had its moments.  But boring.  Everyone basically sunk back into their original ways or gave into “the way things are”. Except Quinn’s goofy ass. 

Good acting by some though. Hated the daughter and her face/comments. But she had a secret great rack. 

I actually thought that was the point, and I really liked the ending. Not to get too deep about an HBO show, but it is akin to what Bonhoeffer described as "cheap grace." People tend to be attracted to the slogans and the ideas of living radically, but at the end 99% find the comfort security too hard to resist and reject sacrifices required to live authentically according to the slogans. It was obvious earlier with Paula and Kai - although she felt like here skin color gave here some sort of shallow solidarity with him, she reverted back to her own privilege and would not sacrifice her comfort and security for her T-shirt cause.

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He didn’t kill him for shitting in his clothes. He was on edge from the other break in and overreacted and grabbed the pineapple knife. (As an aside, I called “killed with the pineapple knife In the pineapple suite as soon as Chekhov’s knife was shown in the earlier scene.) He accidentally stabbed him when he came around the corner.
So in reality, Paula was also responsible for Armond, since convincing Kai to steal the bracelet was what put Shane on edge. 
 
Paula sucked. 
Paula was the worst person in the show, and she walked without consequences.
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Agreed with what most said on this thread.  Enjoyed the series, but there's a few nitpick items like many shows, like the hotel and law enforcement never finding out that Paula gave Kai the code to the safe, and Quinn staying in Hawaii as an unemployed runaway minor.  I thought the casting across the board was great.

I hate millennials.

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Yeah Paula would be screwed IRL. The Mossbachers would have been more curious about how the guy got into the safe without breaking it.

 

Also Mrs Massbacher is suuuuuuch a bitch. When she was yelling at Mark for being honest with his son about the cheating, saying she doesn't ever wanna talk about it, like bitch you wear that jewelry every day that reminds you of the cheating. Shut up. 

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1 minute ago, Pam Cummings said:

Yeah Paula would be screwed IRL. The Mossbachers would have been more curious about how the guy got into the safe without breaking it.

 

Also Mrs Massbacher is suuuuuuch a bitch. When she was yelling at Mark about how she doesn't wanna ever have to discuss the cheating, like bitch you wear that jewelry every day that reminds you of the cheating. Shut up. 

Maybe they would've lost interest once Armond told them that their stuff had been recovered. Also, once you hear it's a member of the staff you can think he'd have easy access to the room and perhaps knowing some way to get in hotel safes when guests invariably forget (or miskey) their combination. Only Olivia knew Paula was banging Kai. Or it could be a plot hole. WGAF. I want to thank Mike White and The White Orchid for introducing me to Sydney Sweeney's rack -- and Daddario is still stunning (could use a little color, though).

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yeah the safe entry is an issue until you confirm that the burglar was wearing a hotel staff uniform.  i wouldn't give it another thought after that.  getting into the safe is just like getting into the room.

actually pretty surprised olivia picked up on it as quickly as she did, while the self-consumed mossbachers didn't even notice the paula interaction.

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The show is about White Privilege. It’s in the title (as is creator’s name).  I thought it was really well done.  I was hoping Rachel could hit eject but that marriage lasts 2 months more at most. 
 

Would be interesting to see Rachel and Shane in next season staying at another White Lotus (Mykonos?) on their lifetime free pass due to the dump taking and whatnot. 

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The show is about White Privilege. It’s in the title (as is creator’s name).  I thought it was really well done.  I was hoping Rachel could hit eject but that marriage lasts 2 months more at most. 
 
Would be interesting to see Rachel and Shane in next season staying at another White Lotus (Mykonos?) on their lifetime free pass due to the dump taking and whatnot. 

So Paula is ultimately an Uncle Tom?
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22 hours ago, Hank Kingsley said:

Privilege and wealth usually wins out in the end. After the powder keg build up for 5 episodes, it ends with the rich people continuing on their normal paths in life, while the working class flails/drowns in their wake. 

Entertaining show, but don't think they quite nailed the landing. 

IMHO therein lies the genius of the satire. The meta-theme of the show was the upper class' relationship with the working class:
- Shane / Armond
- Paula / Kai
- Stifler's mom / Belinda
- Shane's Mom / Rachel

Quinn was the only one who authentically rebelled and chose happiness over materialism. Yes, he likely ends up as a bellboy at the resort, but I want to believe he found his tribe. If I want to really go uber-optimistic maybe there is a message there about "tribe" (not literal but figurative, your people) transcends race and class - a rich, privileged white kid found his true home among working class Hawaiian guys and they mutually accepted each other despite society telling us they should not.

 

Spoiler

WTF is wrong with me ... I'm making an HBO summer show out to be Citizen Kane ... and I'm not even drinking.

 

Edited by Harrison Bergeron
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19 hours ago, wild_turkey said:

I liked the show overall and don’t take it too seriously. The ending was fine but it was more about the build-up for me.

If I wanted to nitpick, it would be odd details like this:

-Shane’s suite had a queen bed.

-The Mossbachers went on a family vacation to an expensive resort, stayed in a fancy suite with a kitchen, but the suite only had 1 bedroom and their game plan was apparently for their teenage daughter and friend to share a sleeper sofa and their teenage son to sleep where exactly?

-The White Lotus (Four Seasons) is totally cool with people sleeping overnight on the beach and has zero security.

-The Four Seasons Maui has shitty pool and beach furniture, like something I would expect at a Galveston condo. Unless the film crew brought that in, which I’m not sure why they would intentionally make it look less swanky.

-The guests arrived by boat to a hotel in Maui. I guess it’s a fictional location, but those same guests left by plane.

-Olivia sleeps with a bra on.

But none of that stuff truly bothers me with this type of show. Well, maybe the last one.

A hotel manager gets stabbed in the room of a guest he had clashed with for the previous week and they release his body to be flown home under 24 hours later?  Wouldn't there be some sort if investigation that lasted longer than a few hours?

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27 minutes ago, Angry Gorilla said:

A hotel manager gets stabbed in the room of a guest he had clashed with for the previous week and they release his body to be flown home under 24 hours later?  Wouldn't there be some sort if investigation that lasted longer than a few hours?

That and if he were an aussie why is his body going on a flight to the US. Wrong direction and that airplane didn't look like an island hopper. 

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6 minutes ago, Chopper said:

That and if he were an aussie why is his body going on a flight to the US. That airplane didn't look like an island hopper and I'm sure the elites were on nonstops to the mainland. 

in the opening, the airport announcement said the flight to honolulu was boarding soon, so you have to assume it's just a connection.  realistic or not, it's the best way to keep it vague, and makes sense if they're in maui.

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1 hour ago, A-Tex Devil said:

The show is about White Privilege. It’s in the title (as is creator’s name).  I thought it was really well done.  I was hoping Rachel could hit eject but that marriage lasts 2 months more at most. 

i see it as just the opposite.  this was her one chance and she blew it.  now she's likely in there for a long time.  they won't be happy, and both will probably cheat, but this thing goes 10+ years once rachel starts her "new" life.

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1 hour ago, A-Tex Devil said:

The show is about White Privilege. It’s in the title (as is creator’s name).  I thought it was really well done.  I was hoping Rachel could hit eject but that marriage lasts 2 months more at most. 

With the next to last episode called The Lotus Eaters, outside of the poem reference, I wondered if it was also a euphemism for the ass eating scene in the previous episode. If so, then the title could mean "White Assholes".

 

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in the opening, the airport announcement said the flight to honolulu was boarding soon, so you have to assume it's just a connection.  realistic or not, it's the best way to keep it vague, and makes sense if they're in maui.

I was about to say the same thing. They are flying to Honolulu. Also, Stiffler’s mom mentioned she and Uncle Rico were headed to the big island.
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A hotel manager gets stabbed in the room of a guest he had clashed with for the previous week and they release his body to be flown home under 24 hours later?  Wouldn't there be some sort if investigation that lasted longer than a few hours?

The actor who played Shane gave an interview where he said his theory is that Shane called in a favor to have it go away. So, privilege.
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4 hours ago, Chopper said:

That and if he were an aussie why is his body going on a flight to the US. Wrong direction and that airplane didn't look like an island hopper. 

It was going interisland to Honolulu. It was a Boeing 717. I wouldn't suggest trying to fly one to the mainland unless the cabin is full of fuel.

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31 minutes ago, royiv said:

It was going interisland to Honolulu. It was a Boeing 717. I wouldn't suggest trying to fly one to the mainland unless the cabin is full of fuel.

And it was Hawaiian Airlines or something -- not American or Delta or anything like that.

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