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"The White Lotus" may inspire vacation fantasies, unless you see Belinda's point of view

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If social media streams of consciousness tell us anything, "The White Lotus" may inspire a trend of all-inclusive resort bookings, pandemic lockdowns be damned. Each new episode brings a flurry of tweets expressing a yearning for beach vacations and blended cocktails, something I can only attribute to the assumption that people are watching the show with their televisions muted.

If they're coming to this conclusion after listening to resort customers drone on about their own self-importance, that's troubling. No sunset is beautiful enough to make me put up other guests' demented debates about privilege or loudly lamenting how hard white men have it. No beach has sand silky enough to risk navigating gaggles of solipsists committed to behaving like boors because the sea washes away all consequences.

But then, this perspective is colored by my absolute empathy for Belinda, the spa manager, and the sole character in whom I am invested. In a tragicomedy that pits guests against our patience and the hotel's irresponsible manager Armond (Murray Bartlett), whose sanity is crumbling before our eyes, Belinda is a woman caught in a nightmare that looks a lot like a dream.

This is the lot of every White Lotus employee, but Belinda has it worse than most. Where others serve food or clean up messes or guide guests from one attraction to the next, Belinda's job is to soothe and comfort the........

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