The White Lotus Misery Index is a weekly accounting of who and/or what is having the worst time in paradise in season two of the HBO series. The rankings are based on a number of factors, none of which can or will be quantified in any way. We are doing art here, not science.
UNRANKED: Lucia and Mia (woke up from a jacuzzi threesome, kind of got fired, hooked up with Cam and Ethan, really just a full day); Greg (still a scumbag but being married to Tanya seems exhausting); Giuseppe the Piano Man (still a creep); the hot tattoo guy in the pool (there’s always one); Bert (I kind of want him to discover a dead body and spend the rest of the trip solving a murder); jet ski montages (love them); elephants, generally (ready to watch an elephant documentary now); the old dudes playing The Godfather music in the little square (must be so sick of that song)
10. Cameron and Daphne (Last week: Unranked)
Up until this episode, these two had been depicted as a pair of hot bozos with no worries, which, as far as living goes, is not the worst way to barrel through life, all things considered. But there was always something weird there. They couldn’t have been that happy. No one is.
And guess what: they’re not! They don’t do it in the more straightforward way other couples on this show do it (see: Harper and Ethan bickering in their room, Greg and Tanya melting down in public once a day), but it’s just as ugly in its own subtle way, with Cam cheating every time his groin leads him to a prostitute like a divining rod and Daphne running off on little adventures that she’s designed to torture him. It’s somehow the most and least healthy relationship on the show. I hate them both very much.
9. Valentina the Manager (Last week: 7)
We saw Valentina off of the hotel grounds twice this week and in those two glimpses into her personal life she was:
- Cussing out dudes in a coffee shop
- Feeding stray cats on the street while eating lunch out of a Tupperware container
I worry about her. She works too hard and I think it’s wearing her down. She pretty clearly hates every guest in the hotel, which is not unreasonable given… every guest in the hotel. I hope she wins the lottery and moves to Miami.
8. Salvo the Coffee Shop Man (Last week: Unranked)
Once again, we find ourselves in a situation where two things can be true…
ON ONE HAND: This was an episode that took a magnifying glass to the male gaze, with dozens of Sicilian dudes skeeving on Harper and Cameron pontificating on the flaws of monogamy like the worst college sophomore you’ve ever met and Dom fighting his instinct to eye up every woman in a shiny top in all of Europe, and this guy in the coffee shop set the ball in motion early on by trying and failing to chat up Valentina while she was ordering coffee.
ON THE OTHER HAND: I would kind of like to know what he thought happened there. I think he thought he was being nice but ran into a buzzsaw of centuries of boorish macho behavior and a woman who was not having any of it in that particular moment. I suspect he was very confused.
7. Dominic (Last week: 8)
His dad overheard the jacuzzi threesome and kind of won’t stop talking about it. He told his son he wasn’t going to put him in the middle of his failing marriage and then basically did exactly that about 20 seconds later. He paid Lucia and Mia to go away and then spent the rest of the night ogling every woman within a 500 feet radius like the Terminator. Insists he’s a feminist despite… you know… everything else happening in this paragraph. It’s not going great.
Also: I know I’ve said this before, at least once, but it is impossible for me to watch Michael Imperioli be a hopelessly dense goofball without hearing Tony Sirico as Paulie Walnuts in my head just tearing him apart. It’s really fun if you picture Paulie as like a super progressive dude with strong opinions about creating positive and healthy relationships with the woman in your life and him lecturing Dom about it over drinks. If I ever whiff on an important plot point in one of these posts, or if I just get something completely wrong, please know that I was probably thinking about something like this instead.
6. Albie (Last week: 1)
He’s a sweet boy who has no idea how to behave thanks in large part to his father’s raging libido and his fancy private school education and his whole plan to woo Portia — he absolutely gamed out that “bring her a beer and kiss her” move for hours and probably settled on a beer over another drink because it seemed cool/chill — went sideways because some tatted up himbo with sensitive nipples hopped into the pool 30 seconds earlier. Kid cannot get out of his own way or catch a single break.
It would be really funny if he ends up with Tanya, in part because they would be such a fascinating pair to watch do anything together and in part to let Jennifer Coolidge play her greatest hits once again. I might start openly rooting for this, just for the chaos of it all.
5. The Sicilian Fortune Teller (Last week: Unranked)
- Dragged into a rich lady’s suite to read tarot cards
- Yelled at when the cards provided a less-than-ideal reading
- Chased out of the room while being accused of being too negative
Not great as far as afternoons go. On the other hand, her whole thing reminded me of this tweet…
[mysterious old lady flips tarot card revealing a dude who looks exactly like me flying a hot air balloon into power lines]
Me: is that good
— Professor Selfsuck (@boring_as_heck) May 30, 2015
… so it’s not all bad. For me. Still not great for her. Or Tanya. Or Portia. Or anyone but me, really. Lots to consider here.
4. Portia (Last week: 4)
Portia is having a tough one. She pretty clearly hates her job and where she’s at in life. She seems very depressed, based only on her speech about everything being boring. All she wants is one damn adventure in her life but instead she’s stuck in this beautiful hotel with a needy boss who makes her sit on the couch and read Vanity Fair while she sleeps and a sweet boy who is terrified to kiss her. The best advice anyone has given her through three episodes was Tanya telling her not to chase emotionally unavailable men, which is fair and sound and pretty freaking rich given the source.
When you type it all out like that it reads like the description of a person who is having a midlife crisis, which is not great when you consider she’s like 22 years old. Maybe she should try skydiving.
3. Tanya (Last week: 5)
Bullet points once again:
- Husband left to go be with another woman even as she offered to rip up their prenup, which was so sad and pathetic I had to look away from the screen for a second
- Maybe the most emotionally needy person ever depicted on the small screen
- Spending a lot of her vacation crying and drinking alone
Jennifer Coolidge is the greatest. Just putting on a masterclass. If they don’t at least consider this…
Season 3 of "The White Lotus" should be Jennifer Coolidge and the Muppets. Don't talk to me about studios and rights and other practical nonsense. Just make this happen. Thank you.
— Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint) October 25, 2022
… for the next go-round, I will be livid. I could see her and Miss Piggy getting along really well and then fighting over Kermit.
2. Harper (Last week: 2)
Harper started the day by waking up early against her nature and spritzing her cleavage and flipping her hair and really just pulling out everything in her feminine arsenal to get Ethan to look at her after his run and still getting absolutely nowhere, even after she promised to try to be cheery and upbeat all day, also against her nature. And what did it get her? A day of creeps leering at her and a bad run with an edible and a phone call to her husband that went straight to voicemail as he and Cameron entertained a pair of Sicilian prostitutes in the room they left unoccupied.
Yes, sure, Ethan didn’t do anything with Mia, and yes, sure, the edible has her brain humming loud enough to be audible from 6-8 feet away, but still. Harper is not having fun right now. This is what you get for waking up early. Let us all learn this lesson.
1. Ethan (Last week: 10)
It’s not as easy to notice because Ethan is quiet and just wants people to be happy but this dude is a mess. It’s probably the massive influx of money. It’s screwing with him and his idea of who he is. He has no interest in his wife sexually, and no interest in the cute prostitute who was kissing his face either. His quote-unquote friend is pretty openly angling for his money for an investment scheme in his broseph financial company and even more openly asking for illegal insider tips going forward. Everyone wants something from him and he has no idea what to give them or how to even do it.
The only time he seems happy is when he’s out running alone at the crack of dawn, which is depressing on about three or four different levels. I worry about Ethan a lot.