To current television entertainment and I suppose another example of why often I prefer re-reading Jane Austen or Edith Wharton…
…or even mayhem in historical fiction…
I note that above because we watched the other evening the first episode of something called The White Lotus. It is labeled a “comedy-drama,” but I did not smile once (much less laugh) and remain unable to identify any drama I witnessed. Let’s just say there’s no reason to try to summarize the plot because there really isn’t one; it is set in a Hawaii holiday resort, but that’s about all I could tell you. The on-screen activity is mostly just guests and staff wandering around being dull to insufferable.
The “dialogue” is “spiced” up by crudities spouted at varying intervals that evidently is among what now passes for “witty” and “edgy.” (Presumably because it is HBO in the States and they have to justify the subscription so use foul language and vulgarities that cannot be used on, say, free to air CBS.) Example: A husband turns to his wife on their honeymoon and says to her, “Time for a bl-wjob.” Seriously. Given writers often draw we know from personal experience, I suppose one of the male writers must have said that or one of the female writers was so asked. If so, to be clear, such a male writer is an as-hole and I feel sorry for a real-life (possibly writer) wife.
That same husband endlessly also complains, including to the beyond irritating front desk guy, about how they have the wrong room that his mother paid for. Another guest is a man who thinks he has testicular cancer, which he describes like an 11-year-old using the “d” word and with the evidence for such being that, he states more than once, his “balls” are huge; and when swimming with his late-teens/young adult son, the son snidely asks: “Why are you looking at your balls like that?” (Maybe sons that age speak to fathers like that now, but I could only think if I had ever in that situation asked my father that in that disrespectful tone, he would have… well… probably drowned me.) Another character is a predictably obnoxious woman who must have as of yet unrevealed problems-traumas-whatever who gets a massage from a masseuse who asks her to repeat some mantra about her vagina.
About an hour of that sort of thing. Including also an unanchored political observation dropped in by an older woman lecturing a younger one about the significance of Hilary Clinton for women of her – older – generation; apparently that rates as “serious” thinking in “drama” nowadays, too. What is it lately? Have many TV writers’ brains turned to creative mush? It all reminded me too much of the decidedly vulgar and dopey and overdone Succession – another awful cable “comedy-drama” that is supposed to be “superb.” Like Succession, I care not a bit about any of these characters and couldn’t wait to get away from them. (My “review” of Succession is here. So you also know what I could not stand before that, I thought Big Little Lies was just profoundly annoying and The Affair to be basically laughable.) Thus “Lotus” is yet another “hit” that I cannot fathom even remotely HOW it is “critically acclaimed” and I hate that feeling that I don’t get it. [Sigh.] Am I that out of touch with “hip” comedy-drama now? I know it was just the first episode, but if something that is only six episodes is that bad for the entire first one I’m sorry but I do not want to devote any more time to watching any more of it.
I actually wondered during one of the idiot scenes what HBO executive(s) actually sat through this first episode’s screening pre-release and thought?: “This is great stuff!” Were they stoned? Indeed, were all the critics stoned? We know that smoking the only plant that we are told now will not give us lung cancer, what a great-aunt of mine once called (funnier by far than ANYTHING in that program’s opener) “the mari-ja-wana,” is legal in more places now in the States than ever before. That’s the only reasonable explanation I can come up with. After all, being “high” does distort the senses to the point that pretty much anything is entertaining (I was once told by a [now long gone] uncle who was an addict and died at 48), so presumably if one is stoned even Putin would seem like a laugh riot.
As the execs and critics must have been stoned, I can only also think “mari-ja-wana” in the writers’ room had to have played a big role in imagining they were concocting something funny and dramatic here, too. Because watched sober – as I did – the first episode of The White Lotus is like being stuck in a hotel lobby with no choice but to overhear inane to stupid conversations including the predictable types whining over something to the desk clerk, while broken up by aggravating moments of what drunk college dudes might blurt out, finally rounded out with tedium. In fact by the end of it I realized I would much rather have watched a re-run of the 1980s prime-time soap Hotel – that would at least have been entertaining.
Yep, break out the Emmys.
I will try to watch the second episode, but I have to say I do not hold out much hope when the big PREMIERE is so poor.
Have a good day, wherever you are. LOL!