Now that we finally discovered why the hell Shane (Jake Lacy) looked so grim at the airport in the opening scene of The White Lotus, it’s time to say goodbye to those characters we have been following for the past six weeks. One of the strong points of Mike White's HBO limited series (now an anthology) was undoubtedly the portrayal of how people who work in the service industry have to endure bouts of anger and insults from customers who, as we all know, are not always right. And even though this isn’t a new take, it’s important to remember it from time to time.
Watching stories about “the help” can be revealing in a way that makes us question our behavior and how we deal with people who should by no account be perceived as inferior. So, if you would like to see more shows that depict these types of relationships, how they affect everyone involved and also have a good time while watching, call the supervisor because this list is for you.
RELATED: 'The White Lotus': Murray Bartlett Explains the Shocking Twists of That Finale
After delivering 180 episodes of Desperate Housewives, which did a great job of debunking the myth of the perfect wife and mother, creator and showrunner Marc Cherry wasn’t done. In fact, he had a lot more to say, which is why his next project, Devious Maids, can be seen as a spiritual sequel for Desperate Housewives.
Throughout its four-season run, Devious Maids told the story of Marisol (Anna Ortiz), Rosie (Dania Ramirez), Carmen (Roselyn Sanchez) and Zoila (Judy Reyes), four maids who work in the mansions of the rich and powerful people in Beverly Hills. Even though the central storyline, much like Desperate Housewives, was a murder-mystery, it was tied to the way Latinx workers are seen by their bosses.
Devious Maids is great at showing how casually racism towards BIPOCs is thrown around, and how white people tend to expect fitting all these people into certain stereotypes. One of the biggest examples of this is Marisol, a maid who makes her bosses uncomfortable because she can speak perfect English with no accent. TV has changed a lot since then (it aired between 2013 and 2016), but Cherry’s satire still rings very much true.
Even though this Jullian Fellowes series depicts a completely different time (the story starts in 1912), Downton Abbey illustrates perfectly the type of dynamics that was established by the elite centuries ago and shaped what is expected from servants to this day.
Back in turn-of-the-century England and in many other countries as well, rich people simply didn’t believe the help were entitled to their own private lives, the reason why the concept of live-in servants was a thing. Told both through the eyes of the house workers and their bosses, Downton Abbey does a great job of showing that, even though one could get lucky and work in a “nice” household, there were always drawbacks. The master’s attitude could turn on a dime if, say, he was having a bad day and the milk was served cold.
RELATED: 'Downton Abbey 2' Release Date Delayed to Spring 2022
Luckily for the series, the ensemble cast works perfectly together, which provides a lighter tone to much of what happens inside the walls of Downton. But we often get bitter reminders of how unfair life was for most employees back then and the sad perspective that there wasn’t much they could do to change it without horrible consequences.
A more modern take on the service industry that still illustrates how stressful life can be for people who work in that area is NBC’s sitcom Superstore. Created by Justin Spitzer (The Office), it follows the routine of a group of workers at a megastore called Cloud 9. Due to its sitcom-y nature, Superstore uses humor to point out the absurdity of situations that floor workers, cashiers and store managers have to endure when helping clients who think they are entitled to whatever they want because they are a paying customer.
On top of that, the show also criticizes how a corporation can dehumanize individuals under the guise of saying stuff like “all the employees are one” and “we’re a family”. One of the show’s running jokes is how that family motto goes right out the window when corporate feels you are putting your interests ahead of the company’s, like when Cheyenne (Nichole Sakura) goes into labor at work because the company doesn’t offer paid maternity leave. Store manager Glenn (Mark McKinney) then has to simulate a suspension with pay so that the girl can stay at home with her newborn child for six weeks.
Short-lived but widely appreciated, Party Down was an exercise that creators John Enbom, Dan Etheridge and Paul Rudd did on imagining how it would be if the members of a catering service just didn’t give a damn. In the story, the characters knew it was just a job and weren’t afraid to get fired – and seeing them have fun drove whoever hired them for a gig crazy.
A lot of times, a position in the service industry is just what it is – a job. Something you pick up on the way to a job you really want, and a way to pay the bills and stay afloat while you struggle. The service industry workers are so undervalued and humiliated with low pay that it’s a surprise we don’t get Party Downers everywhere more frequently.
Another show by The White Lotus’ creator Mike White, Enlightened shows a character rebirth in many ways. In the story, Amy (Laura Dern) goes to a wellness center to “work on her nerves” after she makes a scene at the workplace. Once she’s fully reformed, she goes back to work only to find out she’s been demoted to the lowest sector of the company, crunching numbers in an underground facility she’s never even heard of.
The constant theme of Enlightened is Amy’s quest to rise above anything bad thrown her way, and trying to remain positive in spite of those things. This becomes particularly difficult once she discovers the corporation to which she dedicated 15 years of her life is developing a system which tracks the lower-ranked employees and finds ways to make them work more while paying them less.
What Amy ends up realizing is that you can’t be a better person if you close your eyes to injustices that are designed by big corporations to crush every little ounce of dignity from people who just want to have a steady job and free time to enjoy life.
Little Fires Everywhere
A different take on “the help” but still as valid, Little Fires Everywhere is about the cynicism involved when someone acts as if they have their employee’s best interests at heart when, in fact, they only want to feel better about themselves. This starts when Elena (Reese Witherspoon) provides Mia (Kerry Washington) with a place to live and a job to have extra money as soon as the Black woman arrives in Shaker Heights, a town filled with rich people.
In her head, Elena’s doing Mia a huge favor, when in fact nothing she offers comes free of charge. Literally, because Mia still has to pay rent, and figuratively because when she accepts work as Elena’s maid, she has to clean up after her daughter Pearl’s (Lexi Underwood) new school friends. This happens while Pearl herself is around the mansion as a guest of the family, which makes Mia feel humiliated to be seen as “the help” by her own kid.
This is a very common type of situation between bosses and employees, in which bosses feel a worker should be thankful for having a job when, in fact, doing the job itself and showing commitment displays more than enough appreciation. In the case of Little Fires Everywhere, the situation is further complicated by race: Elena sees in Mia an opportunity to tell herself she’s not racist by doing the very minimum, which is showing kindness and empathy to another person, rather than extending a helping hand just to use it as leverage on future occasions.
Being yourself while providing a service is almost a revolutionary act. In any type of position in the service industry, the help is expected to “behave”, never speak out of turn, keep their opinions to themselves and become invisible when not needed. Not conforming to those rules is exactly what makes Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) great. Throughout The Nanny’s six-season run, Fran refused to be treated like crap, and accepted nothing less than respect from her boss and his rich visitors.
In the story, Fran happens to become the nanny of a rich family because she was out of a job and, because she didn’t know the etiquette of the position, she just acted like herself and ended up conquering the respect (and later the heart) of her boss and the kids.
Even though The Nanny and many other shows on this list are rooted in comedy, they all underline the same message. Being in the service industry doesn’t make a person less deserving of respect. And, as a customer, you shouldn’t expect these workers to tend to your every need – especially when you consider that they are overworked, underpaid and have to take crap from everyone day in, day out.
KEEP READING: The 55 Best Shows on HBO Max Right Now
What should I watch if I like White Lotus? ›
Big Little Lies (2017-2019)
Starring an all-star cast including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern, Big Little Lies follows a group of women whose lives become intertwined thanks to their children. Like The White Lotus, Big Little Lies uses someone's murder as a framing device to hook viewers.
HBO officially renewed the show for a third season.
We couldn't be more thrilled to get the chance to collaborate on a third season together." Creator Mike White is excited, too.
The White Lotus is an American black comedy-drama anthology television series created by Mike White for HBO. It follows the guests and employees of the fictional White Lotus resort chain whose stay is affected by their various psychosocial dysfunctions.Is White Lotus kid friendly? ›
Parents need to know that The White Lotus is a comedy about the staff and tourists at a Hawaiian resort. The series features a lot of sexual content, including full-frontal male nudity. Profanity is used heavily throughout: "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "d--k," as well as some graphic jokes about sex.Is White Lotus a good show? ›
Season 1. The White Lotus. Though its true intentions can get a bit murky, gorgeous vistas, twisty drama, and a pitch perfect cast make The White Lotus a compelling - if uncomfortable - viewing destination.What is the message of show White Lotus? ›
So, what is White Lotus about? The satirical dramedy drops its audience into the eponymous Hawaiian resort, following several wealthy guests and the havoc they carelessly wreak. Themes of imperialism, classism, and a mercurial moral compass guide these characters through a sun-baked murder mystery of sorts.Is White Lotus like 9 Perfect Strangers? ›
Both, The White Lotus and Nine Perfect Strangers promised a lot. While The White Lotus is bitingly sarcastic and dark and takes a dig at internet wokes and activists, Nine Perfect Strangers dwelled a bit further into the dark side of the wellness industry and retreats.Is the show White Lotus scary? ›
Is The White Lotus series scary? A. The White Lotus makes some viewers uncomfortable but isn't particularly scary. Critics claim that people are unable to accept the harsh realities of society, thus uneasy or scary as per few of the viewers.Did Netflix remove White Lotus? ›
Can I Watch White Lotus on Netflix? No. The White Lotus is an HBO original series.Is White Lotus only 5 episodes? ›
2 SeasonS | 9 Episodes | TV-MA.
Are the girls in white lotus a couple? ›
Harper is in a faithful marriage; Daphne is in a happier one, even though her husband, the finance bro Cameron (Theo James), cheats on her.Is HBO app free? ›
Yes! Download the HBO Max app or visit play.hbomax.com to enjoy access to a limited, free experience. You can sample the first episodes of select Max Originals and HBO Originals for free, with new titles added monthly. But to enjoy the full HBO Max experience, you will need to sign up.What happens in White Lotus finale? ›
Unlike Harper, Daphne takes Ethan on a walk to a private island. After that, and a surprisingly not-weird dinner with the full foursome, Ethan rekindles his attraction to Harper and the two finally have sex. The Di Grasso men left the island as they came — all terrible with women in their own unique ways.Who is the villain in The White Lotus? ›
Of all the classic villains, like Dominic, who lies to his son Albie about sleeping with escorts and routinely cheats on his wife, or Tanya, initially presented to us as the boss from hell, it's Portia that fans bristle at the most.Is Big Little Lies OK for kids? ›
Parents need to know that Big Little Lies is a drama with mature themes, including domestic abuse and a sexual assault that sets the series' events into motion. One character flashes back repeatedly to a rape (not seen on-screen); another is physically abused by her husband, who pushes and strikes her.Can kids watch Dash and Lily? ›
Geared toward young adults, Dash & Lily is generally appropriate for teens and tweens. And of course, because it's set in NYC during the holiday season, you're likely to get a heavy dose of nostalgia and endearing merriment.Is Snow White OK for kids? ›
Common Sense Media recommends Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for children ages 5 and up, due to frightening scenes involving the wicked queen/old hag, the order given to the huntsman to kill Snow White and bring back her heart, and Snow White's subsequent flight through the dark, enchanted forest.What is the tone of White Lotus? ›
A mercilessly sharp satire of toxic wealth, entitlement and class exploitation with a truly radical, subversive tone that separates it from the crowd.Is White Lotus a mystery? ›
Read all of our recaps of The White Lotus season two. See all 13 stories. It's The White Lotus finale day!How popular is White Lotus? ›
The first season of “The White Lotus” closed with 1.9 million multiplatform viewers for its August 2021 finale. Per Warner. Bros. Discovery, “Season 2 episodes are now averaging 10.1 million viewers across platforms, nearly 50% ahead of Season 1 at the same point in time and led by episode 1 with 11.5 million viewers.”
What is the importance of The White Lotus society? ›
In the late 18th century, in response to famine, crowded conditions, and harassment from petty government officials, White Lotus leaders in central China began a rebellion; they promised their followers that there would be the return of the Buddha and the end of suffering.Who wrote The White Lotus theme? ›
Cristobal Tapia de Veer is the composer and musician behind Mike Whiteâ€™s HBO show, White Lotus. The sounds in the score range from percussive African and Latin American instruments to guttural human chants.What is The White Lotus based on? ›
The official name of the real-life White Lotus Season 2 hotel is the San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel. The five-star Italian resort will actually be closed from Nov. 28, 2022, to March 13, 2023.Who is the hot girl in White Lotus? ›
'White Lotus' Star Aubrey Plaza Just Wore the Most Daring High Slit Dress With Sexy Cutout.Will there be a White Lotus 2? ›
HBO officially renewed The White Lotus for season two.
The second season will be titled White Lotus: Sicily, and follows the critically acclaimed first season, which earned 20 Emmy nominations—including eight nods in the acting categories.
Guests at the fictional White Lotus, the show's eponymous hotel, lounge on balmy balconies overlooking the Ionian Sea as they gorge themselves on cappuccinos and croissants day after day. The rooms are twice as big as most New York City apartments.Is White Lotus R rated? ›
The White Lotus season 2 age rating
The official MPAA age rating for the season is TV-MA which is equivalent to an R rating. It's intended for audiences 18 and over. It is recommended that children under the age of 17 should not tune in to watch. The series features a lot of sexual imagery.
When Did The White Lotus Season 2 Premiere? The White Lotus Season 2 premiered on HBO and HBO Max on October 30, 2022.How many seasons of White Lotus will there be? ›
The show was renewed for a third season by HBO back in November 2022, continuing its winning streak. "The White Lotus" first premiered on HBO Max in July 2021 and won multiple Emmys, including one for Outstanding Limited Series.How does The White Lotus end? ›
Portia was brave enough to confront Jack about it, and he ends up confirming her story. But at the last minute, Jack drops her off at an airport and warns her not to go to the hotel and just leave Sicily right away because Quentin's group is very dangerous. So, she did.
Is The White Lotus a mystery show? ›
The White Lotus is a lot of things: a social satire, a bedroom farce, a tragi-comedy. But it is not, nor has it ever been, a whodunnit. The deaths, introduced at the top of each season, are never the main thrust of the story, as they are in Knives Out, See How They Run, and Death on the Nile.Who dies end of White Lotus? ›
During Sunday's intense season 2 finale of The White Lotus (now streaming on HBO Max), it was revealed in the last few minutes that the dead body discovered floating in the ocean in the premiere is none other than returning season 1 cast member Tanya.Are there 7 episodes of The White Lotus? ›
Season 2 of The White Lotus is seven episodes in total, one more than Season 1's six. And all seven Season 2 episodes of Mike White's Emmy-winning series have now been released, and are available to stream on HBO Max.Is the last episode of White Lotus out? ›
The season finale, which hit HBO this Sunday night, finally brought us home. We saw how Lucia wins; we said goodbye to our beloved Tanya; and we watched Ethan and Harper go down as some of the few guests of a White Lotus property to leave in better shape than they arrived.