“If everything is so perfect, why are we so miserable?” It’s a line that can come from any number of characters above White Lotus, The second season delves into how true happiness eludes the rich. Instead, it’s a line spoken by the gopher’s pursuer (Fred Grandy) on a luxury ocean liner Pacific Princess, in the 1977 test of Love boat.
It’s remarkable, like The White Lotus creator White Mike recently revealed that his own prestigious hit series, whose second season finale will air Sunday on HBO, is heavily influenced by his steady diet of the crowd-pleasing hit shows he watched as a child. “I’m definitely in fantasy island [and] Love the boat generation,” White told NPR earlier this week. “I was probably around 10 to 13 years old when they were in their prime. And I love those shows.
His longtime love for those performances is evident in his blood White Lotus, but it looks like he watched them with acid. He is also said to admit to taking cues from the reality show’s cliffhangers survivor, on which he appeared as a contestant, and Laverne & Shirley, Their eccentric working girls influenced the storylines of local sex workers Mia (Beatrice Granno) and Lucia (Simona Tabasco).
love boat, ran from 1977 to 1986, about wealthy passengers traveling through Mexican resort beaches to forget their troubles, only to find, removed from the world’s distractions. Indeed, those problems are posed on an oppressive level. It attracted a host of famous actors of the time (or who would soon become famous), from Betty White and Olivia de Havilland to young people. Tim Robbins and Tom Hanks, and it ranks among the most watched shows of its time.
As part of the hugely popular Saturday night show on ABC, Love boat followed by fantasy island, a show in which guests visit a tropical island (some of which was shot on location in Hawaii) and pay a handsome sum to satisfy their deepest desires, only to know that they should be careful with what they want. Their fantasies are darker, more unexpected turns than Love boat, sometimes involving the supernatural or time travel. The show also draws top actors or soon-to-be stars of the day into guest star slots (Geena Davis, Don Knotts, LeVar Burton).
Both shows are produced by spell Aaron, have pitches with ABC executives for virtual island, funny enough, repeats the basic premise of White Lotus. “Leonard” [Goldberg] and I was sitting, and the head of ABC was here at the time [Brandon Stoddard] came and he wanted us to do some more TV series for him,” Spelling told Television Academy Foundation in 1999. “And we covered some very moving topics and he said, ‘No, that’s too low. No, it’s too family. No, we need something interesting.’ We must have come up with six ideas to try to mull over it, and I joked, ‘Oh, so what do you want, this wonderful island where anyone can go and every sexual fantasy. will theirs be realized?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I like that!’”
Not sure that’s the way though White Lotus touted with HBO, it’s interesting that White alludes to ways in which prestige isn’t really so different from classic TV series. “When you watch HBO and have all the feeling, ‘It’s prestige TV and blah, blah, blah,’ I’m basically rebooting Laverne & Shirley response fantasy island with some survivor fall into it,’” he told NPR. “I think the original entertainment that captures your imagination will definitely stick with you.”
What seems to keep White stuck with those shows is that their guests are also looking for a way out of the drudgery of real life. They also expect the best. And they feel frustrated or even angry when the service, room, food, or thrills don’t quite match their relentless expectations. And when pitted against each other for resources, things go dark.
But modesty aside, his variation on those formulas isn’t in the original show’s DNA. He’s bringing something entirely his own here. After all, this is the age of laughs, neat solutions, and simple moral lessons about being honest with your partner or finding compromises in a relationship. Certainly, some guests narrowly escaped death by satisfying their deepest desires on the fantasy island (fight in war; escape from a heavily guarded prison and get shot), and passenger issues on board Love boat stirring up the times (one woman desperately wanted to prevent her congressman fiance from finding out she was naked in kitten magazine). But by today’s standards, those are as controversial as anything above Brady’s group. On both shows, though, things can always count as going well by the time the credits roll out.