The 1980s film Dirty Dancing showed children the role an upper-class family vacation could take. At the end there is the happy ending – visible to everyone dancing on stage. Immerse yourself in the holiday paradise of the one per cent outside the Catskill Mountains, this year HBO is allowing “The White Lotus.” And there ends the vacation at the luxury resort in Hawaii at the airport with the loading of a coffin. Until the suspense is assured, viewers see this act as the sun sets at the beginning of the series. The question that haunts you throughout the series like always visible waves is: What happened?
With twenty nominations in total, HBO’s social satire Mike White’s tells a fairy tale just like the dance movie starring hip swing teacher Patrick Swayze as Jonny Castle and Jennifer Gray as the daughter of Doctor Francis “Baby” Houseman. There are two people from different worlds who meet financially. However, the class struggle is hardly any softer than a vacation in the midst of an animated show. At The White Lotus, too, the staff and vacationers come close: some in an intimate way, some in the sense of life support and some that heighten their mutual hatred to the point – modeled on Amber Heard and Johnny Depp – feces as a weapon to use on revenge. The soundtrack enhances the attraction with recurring hypnotic tropical animal sounds and wraps around the story like an arc.
But in reality everything is developing slowly and ingeniously. Not only the ties that develop between the servant and his circle of recipients, but also one or another conflict between travelers. Worse than everyday life at home is daily life only on a beach vacation: the wrong wing because it’s not the best, awkward parents – or teens feeling too awake – the burden of the past, which in the mixture too much time and too little activity is knocking on the door more and more. Despite the perfect backdrop of the beach in a hotel complex which actually supports the comfort of the holiday, as some bowling brothers certainly can’t imagine, it is clear that the wealthy also have problems. And they travel with you. In the case of the “White Lotus” resort of the same name, it is often emptied by staff and then left there like an empty Coca-Cola can on the beach.
It is notable not only that the anthology series takes center stage among all five nominees, but also that it began with eight, the most nominations for Best Actor. But one more thing is surprising, because the “White Lotus” is the only story in the field of candidates that is not tamed by historical facts. All other productions in the Outstanding Limited Or Anthology Series category are based on real events and, while fictional, have a certain degree of fact-orientation. Whether life writes literally the best stories will be clarified in this regard on the night of September 13. In any case, incomprehensible and captivating stories, even without a theatrical show, turn out to be lying on the street and thrown away. And so we return to the domain of the participant.
With five nominations in the people categories on paper, the closest contender besides “The White Lotus” is the Hulu series “Dopesick”. Based on the non-fiction book “Dopesick: How Doctors and the Pharmaceutical Industry Make Us Addicted” by journalist Beth Macy, this oppressive drama tells the story of the beginning of the opioid crisis in the United States 40 years ago. The starting point is the conservative religious areas around the Appalachian Mountains, which are dominated by the rigors of mining. There the pain reliever “Oxycontin” from the drug company “Purdue Pharma”, which is operated by the Sackler family and inexplicably accepted by the FDA, is finding fertile ground: Caravan atmosphere, Jim Beam from the bottle, soot from the mines and above all the pain inside the body. Salvation appears to come with the newly released opiate “Oxycontin,” which has been fully prescribed legal by the medical profession. Contrary to the company’s marketing claim that less than one percent of pills become addictive due to late effects, the spread of the painkiller is leading to widespread addiction, degeneration of communities and countless deaths, so that a key DEA official says in the chain: “At the end of the day we are just another zombie nation eating pills.”
Dopesick impressively illustrates how treacherously the drug company crossed red lines and how difficult it is to hold them accountable. With time jumps in both directions, it becomes clear how a crisis of national importance emerged, which continues to affect today, driven by profit maximization and the greed of the pharmaceutical family. Classification of abuse, corruption and fraud – these are just a few in a series of allegations. Not only does opium lead patients to addiction, but the dollars in drug workers’ accounts are so attractive that the spiral of individual puzzle pieces continues to form toward the abyss.
Besides the healthcare fraud scandal, The Dropout (Hulu) is another fact-based series about a “mission-oriented” fraudster in the booming Silicon Valley days, “The Dropout” (Hulu), who also wanted to revolutionize the industry. With just one drop of blood to more than a hundred results. Sounds good, but it wasn’t technically feasible. Millions of famous investors were burned into Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos – a combination of “treatment” and “diagnostics” – always claiming that the device developed for an uncomplicated blood test would work. However, the slogan “Fake It Until You Make It” doesn’t work, and ultimately there is the case of the biotech entrepreneur who has been dubbed the “Saint” by a New Yorker.
Based on the ABC News podcast of the same name, the drama from “New Girl” author Elizabeth Meriwether also earned Amanda Seyfried a nod for Best Actor. In her role as a Stanford University dropout and a zealous Steve Jobs emulator, Seyfried encounters another actress who also embodies an imposter. Julia Garner portrays Anna Sorokin, albeit calling herself Anna Delphi, in the Netflix series “Inventing Anna” by famed producer Shonda Rhimes. True crime is based on scripts by Jessica Pressler, but above all “How Anna Delphi Deceived New York Party Members” since 2018. She performed the role of a rich heiress with great success in New York high society and had not only seemingly, but really wealthy people who stole money and lifestyle. Born in Russia and living with her family near Cologne in her youth, she felt deeply, like Holmes, who has since been convicted of fraud and ended up in prison for two years after lying for a quarter of a million dollars in 2017.
The fifth, eight-episode series under the Hulu umbrella is also dedicated to a true accident. In some series, origin is the impetus to rise and fall (“Anna’s innovation”, “Leaker”), in others exploitation due to class differences (“White Lotus”, “Dubsik”) becomes increasingly visible. In the case of the fifth series, one can talk about a mixture in this regard. David’s fight against Goliath, or the literal against the famous. “Pam & Tommy” is a series dedicated to the illegally distributed videotape with private sexual recordings of “Baywatch” queen Pamela Anderson and the drummer of the metal band Mötley Crüe Tommy Lee. The series tells about a carpenter, played by Seth Rogen, of the famous couple, who has a cheerful room that he built for carnal ceremonies. However, the amusement room maker is rudely fired and keeps sitting on his screens without being paid for his work. Out of revenge, the safe with the tape was stolen and later distributed commercially. The path leads quickly from the tangible video to the Internet, so that one can also, in connection with the sex tape, talk about the first worldwide viral infection.
In addition to being nominated in the Major category, “Pam & Tommy” was also nominated for Best Actor. Lily James (as Pamela Anderson) appears alongside the two above in the nomination slip, as does Sebastian Stan (as Tommy Lee). Incidentally, this happens against Michael Keaton, among others, who played Dr. Samuel Phoenix has already won a Golden Globe for Dopesick. By the way, the sections are also supplemented by actors from the field of television films. “The White Lotus” has already received five awards at the “Creative Arts Emmys” – and “Dopesick” has only one. In addition to two awards in the Music category, there were awards for Best Picture Editing and Sound Mixing, but above all, the series, which was recently extended for a second season, often received an Emmy for Best Choice.
The categories for the best supporting roles are also exciting: with Murray Bartlett, Jake Lacy and Steve Zahn, three of the seven places go to “The White Lotus.” Three “Dopesick” tributes were honored with Will Poulter, Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stolberg. The lineup was supplemented by Seth Rogen from “Pam & Tommy”. Greater dominance can be seen among women, where it comes to a pure duel of the series: “White Lotus” received five nominations, namely Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, Natasha Rothwell and Sidney Sweeney. This was answered with two nominations for “Dopesick” with Kaitlyn Dever and Mare Winningham. Not only in the category of best production is fiction versus history, but also in the case of acting, the question arises: does satire dominate with the warm sunshine over Hawaii, or is the harsh reality with its scandals holding the reins?