'The White Lotus' Is Part of a Long Line of Terrible TV Holidays. Here Are the Worst

·5-min read
Photo credit: The White Lotus
Photo credit: The White Lotus

The White Lotus spoilers below

As holidays from hell go, The White Lotus resort in Maui is up there with the absolute worst. Murder, theft, human poo - and that’s before we’ve even got into the post-colonialist racist set-up that underpins the entire palm tree-fringed complex. But ooh look - there’s bottomless Champagne with the breakfast buffet!

Similar to the forthcoming Nicole Kidman-fronted wellness resort drama, Nine Perfect Strangers, holidays in TV land rarely go to plan. In fact, when the characters get a chance to break free from their normal lives to have a little vay-cay, things generally go from bad to worse, making them wish they’d never even bothered packing their suitcases in the first place.

As we ruminate on our own worst holidays, let’s enjoy some schadenfreude and remember some of the terrible, awkward trips our favourite small-screen characters have been forced to endure over the years. Bon voyage...

Mad Men (season 4, episode 13)

Photo credit: AMC
Photo credit: AMC

Hey kids! How’d you like to go on holiday to Marineland and watch Daddy unsubtly shag his secretary, Megan (also your babysitter for the week) before taking you on a visit to the house of the late widow of the dead man whose identity he stole? Don Draper is on classic Don Draper form in this Californian-based episode of the series, and he’s certainly not going to win any dad of the year awards for this adventure. Forget leaving with a dolphin baseball cap - the only thing Sally and Bobby Draper will take with them from this trip is years of therapy. Oh, and by the way, Megan’s now going to be your new step-mum. Fun!

Succession (season 2, episode 10)

Photo credit: Succession
Photo credit: Succession

Shoes off please... Marcia’s had the “very nice big ship” refitted for an idyllic Mediterranean mini-break, and even if your toenails aren’t very aesthetically pleasing, you’re going to have to acquiesce to maritime etiquette now. We all know that yachts - and cruises, specifically of the Waystar Royco kind - are essentially lawless, and this super-yacht is no different. What should have been a relaxing post-congress trial getaway instead turns into The Hunger Games. Who will be the blood sacrifice for the Roys? In the meantime, Roman’s dealing with PTSD from being held hostage, Willa’s devastated by the reviews for her terrible play (crewmembers: can someone Amazon Prime another iPad to the yacht, please?) and Tom’s finally had the realisation that he’s in an awful marriage. To top it all off, Logan has the food stolen from his plate. Far from being shipshape, this trip is a shit-show.

Normal People (episode 8)

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

The setting: a glorious Italian villa. The invite list: Marianne, Connell, lovely Niall, Peggy - and Marianne’s awful boyfriend, Jamie. What could go wrong? Love-lorn Connell is forced to watch the object of his desire be treated like absolute crap as temperatures rise under the Tuscan sun. After a romantic bike ride and a gelato trip to the local village, the breaking point comes at a horrifying al-fresco lunch. Jamie decries that coupe glasses aren’t for Champagne (“philistine!”), then proceeds to gaslight Marianne, exposing his coercive controlling nature to the entire group of friends. Throw in a racist slur and Jamie smashing a glass of wine on the floor... Peggy’s not wrong when she surmises: “It’s fucking horrible out there for everyone”. More vino collapso, anyone?

Curb Your Enthusiasm (season 10, episode 4)

Photo credit: Curb Your Enthusiasm
Photo credit: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Destination weddings usually strike fear into everybody apart from the bride and groom, but Larry’s concerned for another reason. His new date, Donna, has yoyo-ed with her weight, so he becomes obsessed with the fact her weight is going to put his private jet out of whack. He’s kind of right, and ends up being forced to ditch his suitcase, meaning he has to use his ex-wife Cheryl's toothbrush for the jaunt in Mexico. The locals at a carnival get screamed at, and most importantly, the truth about Cheryl and Larry’s affair comes out. All of which pale in comparison to Larry’s major gripe of the episode: chocolates on hotel pillows. This trip is far from pretty, pretty good. Still, at least he’s got some killer coffee beans as a souvenir - if he ever makes it home after being kicked off the plane for his bad behaviour.

Girls (season 3, episode 7)

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

Marnie just wants a nice, chilled weekend in the Hamptons where “we get to prove to everyone via Instagram that we can still have fun as a group”, followed by a “healing dinner”. She does not get her wish. A chance encounter with Hannah’s gay BFF Elijah, his condescending boyfriend and a troupe of dancer mates leads to them crashing the girls weekend, and there’s a reminder that jugs of boozy cocktails should never be drunk when there’s only a julienne vegetable salad and a sliver of duck for dinner. There’s just time for a dance routine to Harry Nilsson’s You’re Breakin’ My Heart before all hell breaks loose and the girls tear into each other with some home truths. Travelling tip: make sure you don’t fall out with your companions the night before a five-hour coach ride together back to NYC.

Peep Show (season 4, episode 5)

It’s Mark’s stag party, but a holiday nonetheless, and a mini-break on the waters of middle England on a canal boat – it’s the stag aquatic! However, el dude brothers have very different ideas for what this should entail. Mark wants a few days of banter and chess while wearing a captain’s hat, Jez wants them to drink each others’ piss for a laugh. Remarkably, they pull two sisters in a local pub, then it’s back to the boat for a possible orgy, they think. Instead, Jez accidentally kills the girls’ dog, Mummy; there’s an almighty mix up and Jez ends up barbecuing and eating the deceased mutt. “I’m eating dog leg,” thinks Jez. “I’ve definitely reached a new low”. A new low for holidays, and the human race in general.

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