The first season of The White Lotus featured gorgeous ocean views, sweeping shots of Hawaiian landscape, and six episodes’ worth of wealthy tourists demanding room upgrades, berating hotel workers, and generally wreaking havoc with their toxic privilege. Now that HBO has renewed the show with a new cast and hotel, it’s time to ask: Where should Lotus go for Season 2? And what should that season look like?
Our staff has some suggestions.
The Yellowstone Club
Katie Baker: The second season of The White Lotus will come as part of an anthology format, with an entirely different cast. And yet! I want it to maintain even the most tangential relationships to Season 1, which is why setting it in a thinly veiled version of the Yellowstone Club—that Montana ski destination with its baller bubble ski lifts and its catchphrase “Private Powder,” that place which in real life is shredded by the Zuckerbergs and doomed celebrity duos of the world—would make so much sense.
Perhaps Nicole would be there for some sort of thought leadership conference in her capacity as Poof CFO. (And maybe she’d bring her daughter along, leading to some extremely quippy lodge confrontations between Olivia and libertarian founder-stars?) Maybe Shane would be there with the fellas, staying with someone else’s mom for a change. Perhaps in a scramble not to be sued, the OG White Lotus resort would install dear Dillon up north in some sweet snowboarding sinecure.
With or without these characters, this is a setting that—with its extreme weather elements, its locals-visitors tensions, and its ties to tech money and old-school Montana homesteaders—could yield all of the same claustrophobic examinations of humanity (and man-babies) present in Season 1 of the show. It doesn’t matter how much money you have: In flippers or in ski boots, everyone walks a little funny.
Langara Island, British Columbia
Ben Lindbergh: I’ve already lived the next White Lotus season. A few years ago, I went on a family trip to a lodge on Langara Island in the wilds of British Columbia, a setting so remote that we had to take a prop plane and a helicopter to get there. This was the White Lotus, without the palm trees or the doomed, Basil Fawlty–esque manager. There were whales and scenic views; staff members who waved with fixed smiles as we arrived; entitled tourists entertained by Haida art and culture; cringey conversations at dinner; and a city kid coping with being cut off from technology. (OK, that last one was me.)
Granted, nobody died. But how’s this for a twist: We got there the same day as a large group of political conservatives on a Friends of Abe–style excursion. Thanks to a seating screwup (a real Armond move), we had dinner one night in the same room as such own-the-libs luminaries as Rick Santorum, Foster Friess, Jim DeMint, Mark Meckler, and Kevin Sorbo (“Sorbs” to his fishing friends). Amid whispered apologies from the servers—all young women who wanted to be anywhere else—we were treated to a Tea Party State of the Union address, followed by an offensive (and apparently popular) speech from Sorbs about how Hollywood had blacklisted him and his upcoming Christian movie, Let There Be Light, a family affair funded by Sean Hannity. My wife took notes on what we heard so that someday, as my sister-in-law said, we could “find a way to use this information for good.” Mike White, we’re waiting for your call.
Alison Herman: In Season 2 of The White Lotus, a Mossbacher-type family takes a ski vacation in the Alps, only for the father to abandon his wife and children to run for safety when an avalanche slides a little too close to where they’re having lunch. What was supposed to be a restful getaway turns into a damning referendum on masculinity, parenthood, and the monstrously selfish need to survive. Basically what I’m saying is that Season 2 of The White Lotus should just remake Ruben Ostlund’s black comedy Force Majeure, but better than the milquetoast remake that already exists. Privilege, primal urges, pretty backdrops—it’s all there!
Since Succession’s Jesse Armstrong has a writing credit on Downhill and Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars, the concept is basically in the HBO family already. JLD gets to keep her role; everyone else gets recast.
The Jersey Shore
John Gonzalez: There’s a scene in Lotus when Rachel is having dinner with Shane at a small two-top and she can’t hide her contempt when she sees the Mossbachers. “That family,” she says, leaning in and whispering to her new husband, “is obnoxious.”
She’s right. They are obnoxious. Everyone in the show falls somewhere on the obnoxious spectrum, including and especially her bratty new husband, who is the answer to the question: “What if a frat paddle but human?” But the obnoxious part, that’s the key to the series. And what better or more natural setting for the show’s obnoxious foundation than the Jersey Shore?
Sure, there’s the MTV reality show, but it has always somehow managed to be less biting—and less real—than the actual and easily mined subject matter Lotus could plug into its already-established model. Instead of overpriced dinners at an opulent resort, there would be hoagies from Wawa and overpriced drinks at overrated/overcrowded bro bars in Sea Isle or Avalon. Instead of the characters flying in from all over the world, they would drive in from all over New York, North and South Jersey, and Philly and the surrounding suburbs. Instead of assholes complaining about suite upgrades every five seconds, assholes would get drunk on Kinzinger and yell “Go Birds” at roughly the same intervals. Instead of a Cornell hat, a Villanova hat. And so on. It writes itself.
The Borscht Belt
Alan Siegel: There are various tropical, desert, and alpine locations from which Mike White could choose for Season 2. But let’s put those on hold for a year and send The White Lotus back in time. Specifically, to a place with a slightly less Waspy atmosphere than the White Lotus hotel: a fancier version of the kind of mid-century Catskills resort my grandparents used to visit during the summer. The Borscht Belt would be a perfect place to stage six anxiety-filled episodes. It’ll be like Dirty Dancing or the second season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but with far more tension. And murder.
Jomi Adeniran: Part of what made the first season of The White Lotus so good was its ability to weave ever-present social motifs into a setting that was perfectly suited to highlight them. What better place to continue that in Season 2 than South Africa?
Imagine it: Eight strangers hop off a Jeep into a White Lotus safari resort in the Kalahari. South Africa is a beautiful country and setting that would lend itself well to the show’s themes about class, colonization, and racial inequity. And it’d allow viewers to see the magic of a place that many probably haven’t thought about since the 2010 World Cup.
South Africa is the ideal place to showcase the beauty of the world and how superficial and fragile those who populate that world can be.