The White Lotus, HBO’s hit dramedy about a Hawaiian vacation gone haywire, is a perfect balance of biting satire and laugh-out-loud ridiculousness, with a murder mystery thrown in there for good measure. It’s a unique blend, but not totally one of a kind. If you’re looking for more shows like The White Lotus to keep you giggling at the mega-wealthy, there are a bunch of quality options.
The White Lotus quickly became 2021’s show of the summer, telling the story of a group of out-of-touch vacationers spending a week at a luxury Hawaiian resort. During their stay, things grow more and more tense, building up to a robbery, a potential divorce, and a climactic murder. The juicy whodunnit was certainly a draw for many fans, but what really made the series special was the various ways in which it lampooned the privileged clientele, highlighting the dismissive and downright degrading ways they treat resort employees and native Hawaiians.
Of course, sing humor to provide commentary on privilege and class divide isn’t new, so The White Lotus fans have several great choices for what to check out next.
Dissecting the problems of rich white people is kind of The White Lotus creator Mike White’s whole thing, which is most evident in his first HBO series, Enlightened. The show that made White a critical darling (after his screenplay for School of Rock put him on the map, that is), Enlightened has a very similar conceit to The White Lotus: Well-off executive Amy (played by Laura Dern) rediscovers herself after a blowup at work thanks to a relaxing trip to a Hawaiian rehab center. Upon returning to her corporate job in a much less desirable role, Amy resolves to challenge the higher-ups to make the world a better place, which doesn’t really work out as she hopes.
2. Search Party
If The White Lotus’ central mystery is what had you enthralled, Search Party would be the perfect thing for you to watch next. Not only does the dramedy hinge on new, thrilling mysteries each season, but it also shares The White Lotus’ knack for poking fun at the out-of-touch elite. Its barbs are pointed at narcissistic millennial Brooklynites rather than carefree vacationers, but it’s a very similar vibe.
3. Nine Perfect Strangers
It felt sort of meant to be when Nine Perfect Strangers premiered just a few days after The White Lotus’ Season 1 finale — as if Nicole Kidman’s Hulu series was the show’s spiritual successor. The similarities between the two luxury retreat-set shows are immediately apparent. In Nine Perfect Strangers, a group of troubled strangers come together at a ridiculously fancy wellness center for a 10-day retreat that promises to completely transform them. But something is very off about the resort’s ethereal, enigmatic leader Masha (Kidman), leading to an unnerving mystery.
4. Made for Love
In The White Lotus, Rachel has to grapple with the pros and cons of becoming a “trophy wife,” and that concept is taken to a horrifying extreme in Made for Love. The HBO Max dark comedy centers on a woman named Hazel (Cristin Milioti) who has been trapped in a sprawling, high-tech mansion since marrying tech billionaire Byron Gogol (Billy Magnussen). After managing to escape years later, Hazel learns that Byron has implanted a next-level tracking device in her head, allowing him to see and hear everything she does. It’s basically Rachel and Shane’s future with a sci-fi twist.
When it comes to satirizing rich white people, Succession is king. The HBO dramedy imbues the brutal competition for power between a family of spoiled siblings with unexpected hilarity, as the Roys constantly try and fail to prove themselves worthy of inheriting their father’s media conglomerate. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if Nicole Mossbacher was Zooming with one of the Roys during one of her meetings at the White Lotus.
6. Dear White People
There’s only one place where immense privilege is more evident than a five-star resort: an Ivy League college campus. Netflix’s Dear White People tackles important and sometimes tricky issues involving racism, colorism, and classism among well-off college students, but always includes a healthy dose of humor as well. There’s even a mysterious secret society that will have you theorizing just as much as you did about that dead body in The White Lotus.
7. Rutherford Falls
Some of The White Lotus’ most damning criticism is pointed at how the luxury resort servicing rich white clientele was built on land stolen from native Hawaiians. That issue of colonialism is at the heart of Peacock’s sitcom Rutherford Falls, in which two friends are forced to grapple with their heritage after learning the truth about their town’s founder. The show doesn’t shy away from the complex issues, but it also manages to be a feel-good series that will keep you laughing.
Ziwe may not look anything like The White Lotus, but the transgressive talk/sketch show might be the most inventive series to satirize white privilege. Sprung from the viral success of her Instagram Live interviews, comedian Ziwe Fumudoh’s Showtime series unflinchingly dives headfirst into the most hot-button issues of our time, as Fumudoh brazenly asks guests like Fran Lebowitz and Andrew Yang how many Black people they know. It’s basically Olivia and Paula’s confrontational energy, but with more purpose and dialed up to a hilarious extreme.
Like Ziwe, Portlandia is a definite departure from The White Lotus’ genre, but it’s still worth checking out for fans who loved how the show poked fun at the insignificant problems of well-off people. The long-running sketch series showcased tons of characters played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, who all shared a common thread of being quirky Portland, Oregon residents. Let’s just say that Tanya’s weirdness would fit right in with so many of the show’s standout characters.
The White Lotus Season 1 is streaming on HBO Max now.