12 Shows To Watch If You’re Missing The White Lotus
No one did it like Tanya McQuiod, but these shows get pretty close.
The White Lotus, HBO’s hit dramedy about luxury vacations 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 debuted as 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. In 2022, the sophomore season followed Season 1 vet Tanya McQuoid and a new group of tourists who lost themselves in Sicily. Both seasons of the show saw the privileged travelers descend into paranoia and chaos over cheating scandals, robbery schemes, and revenge plots, each culminating in shocking murders. 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 social issues, from wealth disparity to sexual mores.
Of course, using humor to provide commentary on privilege and sexuality isn’t new, so The White Lotus fans have several great choices for what to check out next.
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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 (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. The Resort
Need another deadly mystery set in a lush, tropical setting? Look no further than The Resort. The Peacock series has a very similar set-up as The White Lotus, centering on a married couple trying to regain their spark on a vacation in the Mayan Riviera… only to find themselves in the middle of a twisted mystery.
3. 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.
4. 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, but the Hulu show has a psychological twist. In Nine Perfect Strangers, a group of troubled visitors 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.
5. Made For Love
In The White Lotus Season 1, Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) has to grapple with the pros and cons of becoming a “trophy wife,” and Season 2’s Harper (Aubrey Plaza) finds ways to rebel in her stiff relationship. Those concepts are 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 (Jake Lacy) future with a sci-fi twist, or if Ethan (Will Sharpe) wound up becoming pure evil.
When it comes to satirizing wealthy white people, Succession is king. The HBO drama 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 (Connie Britton) was Zooming with one of the Roys during one of her meetings at the White Lotus.
7. Big Little Lies
Hawaii and Sicily were gorgeous backdrops for ridiculous infighting and shocking murders, but so was Monterey, California. Much like its fellow HBO series The White Lotus, Big Little Lies boasted an all-star cast of beloved actors screaming at each other in a beautiful location. Oh, and of course there’s also a dark secret at the center of it all to really boost the drama.
8. 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 it 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.
9. Rutherford Falls
Some of The White Lotus’ most damning criticism in Season 1 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.
The Las Colinas Resort could really give the White Lotus resorts a run for their money when it comes to zany antics. In Apple TV+’s comedy Acapulco, a pool boy named Maximo lands a job at the luxury resort he’s always loved, but soon learns there’s a lot more happening there than just suntanning and sipping margaritas. While trying to rise up the ranks at the resort, Maximo deals with everyone from pop superstars to billionaire investors… and it usually doesn’t go too well.
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 (Sydney Sweeney) and Paula’s (Brittany O'Grady) confrontational energy, but with more purpose and dialed up to a hilarious extreme.
Like Ziwe, Portlandia is a 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 characters played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, who all shared a common thread of being quirky residents of Portland, Oregon. Let’s just say that Tanya’s weirdness would fit right in with so many of the show’s standout characters.
The White Lotus Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on HBO Max.
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