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The ‘White Lotus’ Misery Index: Who Wants To Do A Bunch Of Cocaine In Palermo?

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: Cameron and Daphne (it’s all very twisted — prostitutes and trainers and jealousy rubbed in each other’s faces for sport — but they somehow might have the healthiest relationship on the show?); Mia (playing piano, letting closeted hotel managers have a night of passion, really just making dreams come true for herself and everyone around her, except for Giuseppe, who appears to be both hospitalized and out of a job now); Niccolo the Gigolo (every show should, just before the season finale, introduce a well-hung Italian man who travels around with a bag full of cocaine and handguns, just to mix it up); Quentin (we’ll get into all of this in a second); Salvatore (I do not doubt that he is bothering Isabella with inappropriate flirting but it’s also worth noting that everything he says sounds a little salacious with that voice of his, which would be a wild defense if he ends up getting punished for it); Rocco (I hope next season is about Rocco and Isabella using their employee discount to go on a honeymoon to a White Lotus in, like, Rio); Alessio the Pimp (not a sympathetic character in any real way but it is fun to imagine how much he must hate the entire Di Grasso family); the Masseuse Who Looks Like a Ripped Chalamet (good for him)

10. Tanya (Last week: 6)


GOOD NEWS: There are worse ways to spend an evening than doing massive amounts of party drugs in a villa in Palermo with a collection of raging techno gays (some of whom have fantastic little mustaches) and a well-hung Italian stud who may or may not be in the mafia and/or a gigolo who travels around with a handgun and a bag filled with cocaine.

BAD NEWS: Quentin is shady as hell and it seems like he could be using all of this as a way to either butter her up or blackmail her or maybe even try to bump her off as part of a multistep plot to separate her from her money and continue to fund his current cash-poor, palazzo-heavy lifestyle.

WORSE NEWS: I have been looking at this picture


… for hours now and I have convinced myself that the other person with Quentin in that photograph is Greg, Tanya’s crappy husband who conveniently left their vacation for “business” just as Quentin and Jack showed up to woo Tanya and separate her from the assistant she relies on for common sense and general survival.

Again, things could be worse. She really did do a lot of cocaine with Niccolo and appeared to be having a blast. As one does. This is all more of a tomorrow problem.

9. Valentina the Manager (Last week: 7)


Let’s run through Valentina’s various issues…

  • Invited Isabella out for a drink on her birthday and was all giggly and cute about it until she learned Isabella and Rocco have been secretly dating and got engaged, at which point her entire world fell apart
  • Got kind of drunk alone at the bar in the hotel she works at, again, on her birthday
  • Ended up in various stages of undress/passion in an empty suite with a teenage prostitute who had recently gotten a job playing piano in the lounge of her hotel after kind of poisoning the previous piano player

I feel bad for Valentina, in a way. She’s been suppressing a side of herself for so long and she’s just now letting it loose and things are all going to hell a little bit. In context, I’m happy for her that she’s getting to experience these things after stuffing them down inside for her whole life. On paper, though… let’s just say the legal team at the White Lotus chain of resorts might want to put their management through another round of workplace harassment training. None of this would look great all typed up into a legal complaint. And that’s before we get to whatever exactly Salvatore is up to. It could be better.

8. Isabella at the Front Desk (Last week: 10)






7. Harper (Last week: 2)


Harper has been having a real dicey go of it lately. She found that condom wrapper in the couch and left it on the counter for Ethan to discover. She’s seen him arguing with prostitutes in the lobby. She’s kind of torturing him a little by sunning herself in a bikini and grabbing drinks and giggling a little with Cameron, which she knows will drive Ethan crazy, and even now, after Cameron allegedly set the record straight and copped to his involvement with both prostitutes and Ethan’s innocence in it all, she’s still got a pouty husband who would rather go jogging and look at various adult websites by himself than be even a little intimate with her for a single minute.

Harper is having a bad time. It’s not going to get better anytime in the immediate future either, what with Ethan accusing both her and Cameron of sneaky hotel dalliances. She desperately needs to go home.

6. Getting Threatened With an Artichoke (Last week: Unranked)


Three things are important to note here:

  • Getting threatened with a knife is one thing because you can explain it to people without losing face, like, “Dude, we ran away because this crazy old woman was shouting at us and gesturing with a huge kitchen knife,” but when an old Sicilian who may or may not be your cousin is chasing you off of her property with an artichoke… I mean, that’s tough to recover from
  • This is not an unreasonable reaction to three strange men from another country showing up at your house unannounced and inviting themselves onto your property
  • I love this woman very much

Send her and Jennifer Coolidge to a ski lodge together next season. Let her bring the knife. And the artichoke. It’ll be fun.

5. Portia (Last week: 8)


Portia’s Sicilian adventure took a dark turn this week. It was fun at first. It’s been fun for a while, actually. She blew off Albie to hang out with Jack and his tattoos and sexy underpants and sensitive nipples. They had sex on a boat. They stole some stuff and ran away as various local business owners gave chase. They hopped in a car and took a day trip and everything was going great until Jack had a little — a lot — too much to drink and started speaking in cryptic circles about being in holes and doing “things” for his “uncle” and now she’s just very concerned and suspicious, in part because of… like, all of the things in this paragraph and in part because of the thing where Tanya gave her a different cryptic message at breakfast after watching Jack and Quentin thrust about the villa at night.

What do we think here? My working theory is the blackmail/divorce thing, where Quentin — possibly working with Greg — is using Italian gigolos to put Tanya in a tough spot and using Jack to woo and/or distract Portia to prevent anyone from looking around at any/all of it like “This seems incredibly sketchy all-around.” My second working theory is that Quentin and his party-loving cohorts are the ones who end up dead in the ocean. I am going to tell everyone these theories this week whether they watch the show or not. People are going to get really sick of it.

4. The Di Grasso Family (Last week: Albie – 10; Dom – 4; Bert – Unranked)


It’ll be easiest to run through these goofballs together, in one section, broken down individually. So let’s do that.

Albie: The sweet girl he likes who he knows is a sex worker came along to translate and basically got dragged out of the car by a pimp with many facial piercings and he did squat about it but sit there and fret, which is both not what you’re looking for from a chivalry perspective and somehow perfectly on-brand. There’s a non-zero chance that he snaps and kills Alessio the Pimp and ends up rotting away in a Sicilian prison. Not how you want to remember your vacation.

Dom: Watched his son in the rearview mirror of the car pecking sweet little kisses on a prostitute he had been engaged with in a jacuzzi threesome as recently as a few days ago. Also did squat when her pimp came to extract her from the car. Still really funny to picture Tony Sirico berating him for all of this in character as Paulie Walnuts.

Bert: His big huge trip to Sicily to discover his roots and connect with his ancestors ended with the oldest woman in Europe shouting at him in a language he never learned to speak and threatening him with a combination of blades and spiky vegetables. He has that head wound. His son and grandson have recently made out with the same prostitute. He seems pretty sad about it. It’s kind of fun to picture one of the old guys he plays dominos with back home — I don’t know why but I picture him playing dominos — asking how the trip went and him just sighing with enough force to rattle the whole table.

3. Jack the Rowdy English Boy (Last week: Unranked)


Sheesh. Most of Jack and his issues were covered in the section on Portia and we don’t especially need to rehash them all here, if only because they are kind of a bummer. Let’s just say this, quickly, in bullet form:

  • If we assume, not unreasonably, that Quentin plucked him from the gutter and let him live this fancy life in exchange for sex and/or assisting in various extortion plots, and that Quentin also hired Niccolo the Gigolo, then that guy sure does have a lot of transactional sexual relationships going on here
  • It’s rarely a good thing when you are just slurring your way through sentences like “I love beer”
  • It is kind of funny — might be the wrong word — that Portia and Albie might have both ended up with sex workers by accident after their very brief little pool date

Jack is going to wake up in the morning with an angry young woman next to him and she is going to have a lot of questions. This is not a great way to start a day.

2. Lucia (Last week: Unranked)


Her fun little day translating for the sweet American boy got sidetracked by her pimp and his goons trying to run them off the road and then none of the three men in the car with her did much of anything to prevent her being abducted and possibly facing bodily harm or death. It’s starting to dawn on her that Albie is going to head back to America soon and she’s going to be left alone in Sicily to deal with the fallout. Her friend and fellow escort seems to be following her dreams and smiling a lot and really just thriving in a way that appears to have escaped her for her entire life. It could be going better.

She is, kind of, the only character on the show I care about heading into the finale. It might not end too great for either of us.

1. Ethan (Last week: 1)


Ethan is:

  • Sighing a lot
  • Sitting around with his head in his hands
  • Having hallucinations of his wife and college friend carrying on an affair behind his back but also kind of in front of his face
  • Swimming out into the ocean alone with an expression on his face that seems to imply he would be mostly okay if the waves took him out to sea and then pulled him under

I remain at least partially convinced that two of the bodies in the water by the end of this — instead of or in addition to Quentin and his yacht boys — are Ethan and Cameron and they ended up there because Ethan snapped and triggered a multi-jet ski collision in the sea that resulted in multiple fatalities.

Next week is going to be fun and/or devastating. I am really quite excited.