The first season of white lotus It came as a surprise to many. The series mixes social commentary with murder mystery elements, adding a fresh twist to critique of white privilege and how it operates in its safe space at a luxury resort. She paid minimal efforts in promotions but ended up being nominated for several categories at the Prime Time Emmy Awards.
The series made headlines for the much-deserved return of Jennifer Coolidge, and stands apart from the series’ sequel for its tongue-in-cheek humor in satirizing the characters’ blind entitlement.
white lotus is a social thriller series that takes place in an exotic hotel called The White Lotus and follows the lives of its wealthy guests and employees. The first season is set in a beach resort in Hawaii and the second in Sicily, Italy. The first season starred Murray Barlett as Armond who manages the incoming guests at the resort and tends to every complaint they have. The show satirizes the spoiled behavior of its characters while contextualizing their behaviors with the natural and social environment around them.
Series creator Mike White was inspired by the detachment of vacationing in the realities of indigenous communities, and basing the story on a luxury Hawaiian resort symbolic of his idea. Several references are made in exploring the paradox of privilege with societies living in harmony with nature, which is done by drawing parallels between wildlife and the lives of the privileged.
What does the white lotus symbolize?
The resort is presented as a natural home of white concession. Most of the guests at the resort are white, while the lower-ranking staff are people of colour, establishing a hierarchy within the hotel. Just like animals in their natural habitat, guests adapt well to their surroundings and feel free to express themselves and their wealth without being judged.
Shane Patton, played by Jake Lacey, is unable to enjoy his vacation only because he is given the wrong room even if it is nice, and after Armond lives for his mistake of booking the wrong room. The commercialization of natural habitats and the fragility of privilege in the characters juxtapose with each other to point to the collapse of nature and white privilege.
Why are there animals during the opening credits
The opening credits of the series show a series of nature-inspired textured backdrops as exotic music plays with ominous animal sounds. The animals displayed on the wallpaper are a symbol of the characters and are also borrowed from the indigenous Hawaiian culture. For example, pineapple and hibiscus symbolize hospitality in Hawaiian culture. The backgrounds also feature monkeys, color-changing chameleons, and a snake, which are references to several characters and their motivations in the series. With these direct comparisons to wildlife, the show exposes the characters’ primal instincts.
What do animals and characters have in common
The room occupied by Tanya, played by Jennifer Coolidge, has a hibiscus on the wallpaper. The flower represents the spiritual hospitality she seeks from the hotel, as well as the fragility of her demeanor. Tanya is mostly unaware of her presence and thoughts, and is traumatized by her mother’s death. Tanya reveals her weaknesses as she is unable to keep the promises she has made.
The chameleon-changing opening credits note Nicole Mosbacher’s sudden tone change to Rachel played by Alexandra Dodario in the scene when they talk about supporting women in their careers. Nicole, played by Connie Britton, encouragingly counsels Rachel about her professional crisis but turns to a dismissive tone when she discovers Rachel wrote an article about her that she did not approve of. Chameleon also represents how Paula has to switch the code between talking to Kay and Olivia by Sidney Sweeney to adjust her racial consciousness with her white friend and talking to people outside of white privilege.
A tortoise-shaped decor piece is in the Mossbacher family’s room, which Nicole moves around to save space in the living room. A turtle also appears while Mark and Quinn Mosbacher are swimming in the ocean. The turtle symbolizes the protective nature of the family in their worldview and the mother trying to keep the family together.
The most obvious reference is Monkey, a commentary on masculinity and how men reconcile their primal instincts and combat misogyny as women demand an equal share in relationships and work. This insecurity is seen in Mark and Shane as they grapple with their own parental instincts as their partners desire equal agency in their relationships.
How the show displays the raw instincts of the characters
When Olivia and Paula insult Rachel for marrying a rich man, Rachel walks in front of them in a bikini pool, making them jealous of her beauty. Ominous music plays as Olivia pantes on her slender body, demonstrating the animals’ competitive nature. The show isn’t shy about explicitly showing the characters’ nudity and sexuality.
The show’s sexuality can be sexy, but it’s just a metaphor for the characters being unapologetic and comfortable in their own skin in their comfort zones, like animals in the wild. Besides, how could anyone ignore the infamous defecation scene? Not only does the show reveal the characters’ motivations, but it also reveals in their blood, tears, and excrement.
In many ways, the show reduces characters to animals and takes refuge in the concrete jungle. The show’s second season is devoid of wildlife-inspired references and instead is replaced by the mythological traditions of Italy in describing the show’s pathos. Even when the themes of the series remain the same, the metaphorical context of the characters with the hotel’s location makes white lotus Irresistible viewing pleasure.
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