‘White Lotus’ and ‘Physical’ show quiet rage is all the rage


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My two favorite shows of the moment — HBO’s “White Lotus” and Apple TV+’s “Physical” — don’t share a lot in common on the surface. One is a present-day tale about the employees and guests at a Hawaiian resort and the other is about a woman who finds an escape from her mundane existence in ’80s workout culture and a spiraling eating disorder.

But if you’re in that (likely small) cross section of people who’ve seen both, you know that they are both about anger that can result from being unfulfilled and/or unseen.

So much of the delicious drama in “White Lotus” comes from what characters don’t say to each other — Armond’s (Murray Bartlett) smile-covered frustration caused by the incessant complaints of guest Shane (Jake Lacy) or Shane’s wife’s (Alexandra Daddario) inability to tell her husband when he’s being a tool. The show could be called “White Hot Rage: Hawaiian Style.” Everyone walks around wanting so deeply to genuinely feel the breeziness that the setting demands, but in reality, they’re an angry, frustrated mess underneath. (Except Jennifer Coolidge‘s Tanya, who wears her mess tied around her like a sarong.)
Rose Byrne in the Apple TV+ series 'Physical.'
Then there’s “Physical,” a show that was panned by some critics for having an unlikable main character in housewife Sheila (Rose Byrne). (Yes, expecting only likable women on television is something still happening in 2021. Eye roll.) In the show, those around Sheila aren’t privy to her often unkind thoughts. Most of her genuine feelings are expressed in voiceover as Sheila politely nods her way through life. But the truth is all in Byrne’s eyes throughout the series, which concludes its freshman season next week: Sheila can be awful to other people but it’s only a fraction of how much she hates herself.
I have great empathy for this character. If you’ve ever lived with an eating disorder, you know that when you have nowhere to put all the overflowing dislike you have for yourself, sometimes it ends up unfairly aimed toward others. Also, let’s be real, no one among us would be sad if Sheila’s horrible husband Danny (Rory Scovel) got hit by a bus Regina George-style.
Gone are the days (for now) where I crave the big Acting with a capital “A” moment. Give me eyes that say more than a monologue can (a Masterclass Elisabeth Moss can surely give after four seasons of “The Handmaid’s Tale“). Give me a telling smile that simultaneously says “Thank you” and “To heck with you.” And please don’t remind me that these shows are nearly over. (The fourth of six “White Lotus” episodes airs on Sunday.) I won’t know what to do with myself — besides silently stew.

We need to talk about ‘Kevin Can F**k Himself’

Annie Murphy as Allison in 'Kevin Can F*** Himself.'

In more dark comedy commentary, CNN’s Brian Lowry has an endorsement that’s worth giving an F about.

He writes: “In a week that brings the dating show ‘FBoy Island’ to HBO Max, another not-suitable-for-family-newspapers title, ‘Kevin Can F**k Himself,’ comes to an end on AMC.

The eight-episode show began with a fair amount of promise,…

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