Hello! Every week, our internet culture staff will discuss the world of streaming entertainment in this newsletter. In this week’s edition:
- Jennifer Coolidge on her White Lotus character
- LFG and the USWNT’s fight for equal pay
- Netflix’s new dating show gets memed
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Jennifer Coolidge puked through the best scene in The White Lotus
Jennifer Coolidge owns every part she plays; no one else can do Jennifer Coolidge. Her role as the wealthy, grieving, and oblivious Tanya McQuoid in new HBO Max limited series The White Lotus seems preternaturally hers.
Coolidge tells me she heard that creator/writer/director Mike White wrote the part for her, then adds: “My God, I hope it isn’t all typecasting.”
The White Lotus, which debuts July 11, is White’s follow-up to beloved series Enlightened. It focuses on another workplace—a luxury resort in Hawaii—and we get to see both the privileged new arrivals and overworked hotel staff slowly unravel over a week. While it has a solid ensemble cast, Tanya is the series’ lone traveler, seeking some enlightenment on the island. She thinks she finds it in spa employee Belinda (Natasha Rothwell), which opens up a tricky power dynamic. (More on that in our upcoming review.)
“I really, truly believe Tanya’s quest for love is just how she can feel some relief,” Coolidge says. “And of course it never lasts very long. I know a lot of people that do this. Love is a great escape, far better than any other drug. And she just desperately wants someone that would sign off on her forever.”
While there’s unfortunately no storyline involving Coolidge faking an identical twin in order to date two men at once, there is an incredible scene in episode 3, in which Tanya tries to scatter her mother’s ashes in the ocean. It’s prefaced by what’s supposed to be a eulogy, but it quickly becomes gloriously unmoored.
Coolidge says she told White she didn’t want to get on an actual boat for that scene, because she gets sea-sick. But he said they had to be out in the water.
“I felt so ill on that boat,” Coolidge says, “and I was throwing up in a bucket in front of the rest of the cast and no one else was having sea-sick problems except me. I just felt very exposed.”
That feeling—coupled with the grief of losing her own mother when Coolidge was in her 30s—informs the stunning scene. But she says the reality was “puking and then trying to get a few lines out.”
The shoot and the heat were also “intense,” and COVID testing started at 3:30 each morning. But Coolidge says they often ended the days swimming in the ocean: “I remember thinking, god, even if I get eaten by a shark right now it’s worth it.”
—Audra Schroeder, Senior Writer
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LFG is an infuriating and flawed view into the U.S. Women’s Soccer team’s fight for equal pay
In March 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), just months prior to what would become a dominating run at the Women’s World Cup, filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Fans around the world, fellow athletes, and politicians met news of the lawsuit with indignation, outrage, and support from the players, and the cry grew much louder after the team won its fourth World Cup title in a competition that was about the battle off the field just as much as it was on it; when the USWNT won the title, the world could hear the crowd chanting “Equal Pay!” amid the celebratory “U.S.A.!”
As LFG (which is the USWNT’s rallying cry, “let’s fucking go,” in acronym form) shows, the reality of what the USWNT faced in its lawsuit over the next two years is much more depressing, infuriating, and for so many people around the world fighting against gender-based pay disparities, utterly familiar. While LFG is certainly a flawed and largely one-sided view into the USWNT’s fight, it’s also a stark reminder for fans and viewers alike of what these players have had to deal with off the field ahead of the Summer Olympics.
LFG is streaming now on HBO Max.
—Michelle Jaworski, Staff Writer
BREAK THE INTERNET
Netflix released the trailer for new masked dating series Sexy Beasts, out July 21. And people tried to make sense of it.
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