40 Thoughts I Had Watching Season 2, Episode 1 of ‘The White Lotus’


I didn’t think anything could top the campy, satirical-beyond-belief first season of Mike White’s HBO series The White Lotus, but happily enough, I was wrong. Season 2, which premiered on Sunday, picks up right where the previous season left off, in tone if not in actual subject matter. There’s a whole new cast of characters this time (with a return from Jennifer Coolidge, thank the goddess), but the sense of entitlement is still very much the same on the pristine shores of Italy. Without further ado, here’s everything I thought watching the first episode of The White Lotus’s sophomore season.

  1. Ah, the staticky fuzz of the HBO intro. I’m home.
  2. Okay, so the conceit is that there are multiple White Lotus hotels, and this one is off the coast of Italy. Cute!
  3. As fate would have it, I happen to be writing this recap from a hotel of my own, though Jennifer Coolidge isn’t here (much to my disappointment).
  4. The most unrealistic thing about this show set in a hotel is that nobody ever skips the day’s activities to just sit in their room, drinking wine and watching Italian-dubbed Grey’s Anatomy reruns.
  5. OMG, it’s my angel Meghann Fahy, a.k.a. Sutton from The Bold Type! She’s a rich girlie swimming in Italy now!
  6. Welp, she found a body in the water. Cue end-of-vacation sequence.
  7. The Italian hotel staff doesn’t seem overly concerned about the body discovery, though I am concerned by my inability to understand Italian without subtitles, a language that I was raised speaking. Ugh, I need to DuoLingo.
  8. I forgot that in Italy, even ambulance sirens sound charming.
  9. Flashback time to the start of the vacation. Hey, it’s Aubrey Plaza! She does not look happy to be on vacation with Meghann Fahy and their husbands, and she’s also wearing an uncomfortable-looking suit that, though probably Chanel, doesn’t scream “vacation-wear.”
  10. We meet some fun local girls, one of whom met a visitor to the White Lotus on a dating app and is waiting for him to arrive by boat. Romantic!
  11. Oh, hell yeah, we got F. Murray Abraham and Michael Imperioli, a.k.a. “Christofaaaa!” from The Sopranos.
  12. “Men are so disappointing,” sighs one of the Italian girls. Word.
  13. The hotel manager, Valentina, helpfully tells the Meghann crew that you should never transfer through Fiumicino in Rome, which is true, but, like…maybe send them an email before their bags are lost?
  14. Aaaaand boom, we get Jennifer Coolidge reprising her role from last season; she’s in Italy to meet her husband, who “hasn’t been responding to my texts!”
  15. Ooh, they’re right by Mount Etna. Sorry to keep telling my sexy little Italy stories, but I went to Mount Etna as a kid and my dad bought me a sparkly little cat made of volcanic ash. Aren’t you glad to know that?
  16. Aubrey Plaza is being an extreme bitch to everyone else on her group vacation, which I respect.
  17. F. Murray Abraham is busily hitting on every woman at the hotel, and his son, Christofaaaa, is embarrassed and explains they’re making a pilgrimage to the town where his grandmother was from. F. Murray Abraham interrupts this explanation with a well-timed fart.
  18. Christofaaa’s teenage son is clearly going to get up to some kind of trouble on this trip.
  19. God, I want fancy luggage.
  20. Jennifer Coolidge brought her assistant on vacation, and her husband is pissed, so she tries to force the girl to spend the entire trip in her room.
  21. Honestly, if Jennifer Coolidge brought me to a fancy hotel in Italy and said I couldn’t leave my room, I’d be OK with that, assuming she was paying for cable.
  22. OK, so the tea appears to be that Aubrey Plaza’s husband Ethan went to college with Meghann Fahy’s douchey husband, played by Theo James, and they’re trying to reconnect, but Aubrey—whose name on the show is Harper, I just Googled it—isn’t down.
  23. Valentina kicks the Italian girls out of the hotel in a very slut-shame-y way.
  24. Christofaaa appears to be going through an ugly divorce back home.
  25. Okay, these aerial shots of Italy are making me pissed that my partner and I didn’t take the standard-issue gay trip to the Amalfi coast that every other queer couple I know seemed to go on this summer.
  26. Jennifer Coolidge’s assistant, Haley Lu Richardson, is very upset about being confined to her room in Italy, eating room-service pasta (weakling!), and her friend advises her via phone to “go get some dick.” She strikes up a conversation with Christofaaa’s teenage son, which can’t possibly end well.
  27. Oh God, the Meghann crew is drinking Aperol spritzes and fighting about employment law, due process, and #MeToo. I want that! Minus the conversational topic.
  28. Aw, Albie (Christofaaa’s teenage son) calls his grandfather Nonno, just like I did! Unfortunately, I learn this because F. Murray Abraham takes a hard fall outside and his grandson has to help him out. It doesn’t seem to slow down his horniness, though.
  29. “I’m so over the whole news cycle,” announces Theo James, and Meghann Fahy agrees, saying, “We vote, we donate money. You can’t obsess.” Except she may not have actually voted, heh heh! Great PSA: The midterms are in a week, check to see if you’re registered!
  30. This conversation about news and politics is too real, baby, in the sense that Harper is bumming everyone out.
  31. Jennifer Coolidge sex scene! God, I hate her husband, who is a total dick to her about eating some cookies.
  32. Oh, damn: Theo James changes in the same room as Harper, and we see his full dick, as does Harper. White Lotus, never change!
  33. The Italian girls are staking out the hotel, and one of them tries to convince the other to do a Seeking Arrangement-style situation with a guest to get over her recent breakup.
  34. LOL, I just realized that they’re in Sicily.
  35. If you’ve made it this far into this recap, you deserve Emma’s #1 Italy Travel Tip: Make time for Sperlonga, an Atlantic City-ish beach town that is certainly not refined by White Lotus standards, but is extremely fun in a semi-gross way.
  36. I want my outgoing voicemail to be Jennifer Coolidge asking: “How is your caprese?”
  37. Oh shit, one of the Italian girlies (the more debauched one) hooks up with Christofaaa.
  38. Harper refers to herself and Ethan as Meghann and Theo’s “white-passing diverse friends,” which A) LOL and B) I will find any excuse to post this video of Aubrey Plaza (who is half-Puerto Rican) addressing J. Lo with “Boricua!
  39. Jennifer Coolidge needs to leave this man pronto. Any partner who doesn’t want you to enjoy a delicious cookie is someone who doesn’t deserve you, FYI.
  40. Well, that was fun! Already counting down to Episode 2.



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