Mike White's HBO comedy is so interested in mocking its privileged characters that "the help" take a backseat, says Lorraine Ali. "Fun as it may be watching the wealthy eat themselves alive, the critique of privilege embedded in The White Lotus suffers from the same blind spots toward the staff that its affluent characters have," says Ali. "The series would benefit from spending more quality time with the hotel workers, rather than making their storylines secondary. As it stands, the narrative is mostly stuffed inside the rooms of and around the dining tables with the moneyed mainlanders, mining the irony of claustrophobia with an ocean view. These visitors are the invaders. The staff members are their unfortunate subjects. And colonization is a theme flicked at — though never fully developed — throughout the six-part series created, written and directed by Mike White, including Native Hawaiians’ economic and social inequality and the tourism industry’s appropriation and destruction of native culture. For instance, we learn that Kai’s family is fighting for hereditary rights to the land the hotel was built on and that he’s working for the enemy because there are no other jobs around. But his plight is used primarily as a device to reflect the depravity of the Mossbachers. Other nods to the subject include brief glimpses of Olivia and Paula’s very 'liberal arts' reading, including Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism. But most of the series’ time is spent mining the power differentials among the (largely white) elite, from warring spouses to squabbling siblings to rivalrous besties. The White Lotus is so focused on the selfish usurpers and every absurd detail of their horribleness that it too ignores 'the help' until they’re needed to juice up the plot." Ali adds: "Other bouts of muted consciousness happen among the guests: navel-gazing conversations about their own self-worth by the pool, the meaning of social justice while sipping tropical drinks on the patio, the evils of colonization from the cushy white sheets of the hotel room. The mocking humor has its moments and certainly highlights the obliviousness of the well-off. But it’s defanged by the realization that The White Lotus is still a story that centers on the colonizers."