White Lotus fans keep making fun of Portia, but they’re missing the point

Portia is just a young woman trying to figure out what she wants, and yet has many admirers white lotus He can’t seem to catch a break.

Portia, played by Haley Lou Richardson, is one of the new faces to grace the HBO comedy-drama white lotus for its second season. Around this time, the story takes place at a luxury all-inclusive resort on the picturesque coast of Sicily. Portia, who arrives at the resort fresh out of community college, finds her way to the top spot as she is the assistant to millionaire Tanya McQuaid, played by a smoky-voiced and unpredictable Jennifer Coolidge. . As an ordinary, non-rich person, Portia’s character is at odds with the glamorous guests around her, and yet many fans have criticized the character online for her fashion taste, personality, and even romantic decisions. . It’s all part of a long and tired tradition of fans tearing down female characters, especially when they don’t understand it all. And it’s a symptom of a fan’s tendency to judge whether a character is “good” or “annoying” — rather than considering how she fits into the story.

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The criticism began with Portia’s dress. Fans marveled at her fashion taste; Her outfits range from tomboyish looks with a bucket hat paired with looser-fitting cargo pants, to more classic Y2K fashion. One of the most cited offenses was a zebra-print bikini and rainbow knit bolero top. Fans online wore exaggerated versions of her outfits, calling them “Portia-core” and mocking her for her lack of taste. A humorous account even joked that the costume designer, Alex Bouvierd – an established costume designer who has worked on award-winning films such as no And The benefits of being a wallflower – Must be finished for Portia’s dress.

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Hallie Lou Richardson as Portia in White Lotus.  She's talking to a young man outside at a patio bar overlooking the ocean.  She is wearing a rainbow knit bolero top with a zebra-print bikini top.

Photo: HBO

And the criticism did not stop at her sense of fashion. A popular TikTok uses an audio clip that says, “And now I want to sit back and relax and enjoy my evening, when all of a sudden I hear this frantic, haunting voice.” came As the voice says “Controversial,” the video clip focuses on Portia. Additionally, fans scrutinized Portia’s romantic choices, such as her decision to date a guy with a neck tattoo instead of choosing the standard good guy who went to Stanford, Albie DeGrasso.

Fans eventually criticize Portia’s lack of wealth and ability to socialize with the elite. His clothes? Not enough luxury. Her taste in men? trash His attitude? Do not cool and mix.

But that misses the point. Portia is a community college graduate who is young and being thrown into a level of luxury that most ordinary people will never experience in their lifetime. It makes sense that she doesn’t look as good as other characters – like a super-rich stay-at-home wife, or the rich and sharp-witted lawyer played by Aubrey Plaza. In an interview with Variety, Bouvier said that Portia’s costume was meant to convey a character who was still finding herself, and who didn’t have as much money as the other characters. “She’s young, she doesn’t know who she is, and she’s trying different ideas. Sometimes she dresses more elegantly, and sometimes she dresses like a girl,” Bouvierd said.

But online fan discussion isn’t focused on basic questions about a character’s motivations, or how that character fits into the story. Instead, fans seem more interested in engaging with story or character craft than theorizing, teasing characters, or sending Portia off with Albie.

This mistake takes a character’s personal distaste for the idea that his or her character is poorly written, and raises questions about Do I personally like Portia’s sense of style? And Would I personally be friends with Portia? Rather than asking why Portia is the way she is, and why her character can dress the way she does or act the way she does. Or how his ordinary presence as the only non-rich person in this elite place could make this particular story interesting.

Of course, maybe Portia just doesn’t resonate with young viewers in a way that feels true to their experiences. Hallie Lou Richardson imbues Portia with a kind of flightiness that brings an unexpected feel to her scenes. This is especially true when she talks about what she wants out of the relationship while on a date with Albie. While holding an old glass of white wine, she says she wants to “joke”. She continues, “I’m bored with Tik Tok and — and Bumble, and just…screens and apps and sitting there on Netflix.” And I just… I just want to, live.

Portia, played by Haley Lou Richardson, sits on a couch next to her boss, Tanya, played by Jennifer Coolidge.  She is standing next to Tanya, who looks at her seriously, in an upright position.

Photo: Fabio Lovino/HBO

In such scenes, she becomes confused and uncomfortable. Portia, like the rest of the guests at the White Lotus Resort, feels a little out of place, and to be honest, downright miserable. The conversations shared between the guests serve as social satire, projecting their horror beyond the deaths at the hotel. And Portia is no exception. She is as stupid as the other hotel guests. When she talks to Tanya about why she likes Albie, she says, “He’s nice and smart.” He went to Stanford and he’s not non-binary. what the is the It is unique to him that the people of the bar keep his character.

white lotus It’s a show about scary, scary people. Everyone is “transgressing” and “grinding” in their own way. Are we really going to ignore these two giga-chads acting on screen as college frat boys, godfathers, or god forbid, cheating dads trying to win their wives back? Season 2 gives us a veritable smorgasbord of awesome men, and yet TikTok seems to have stuck with Portia’s fashion sense and taste in men while on the run in Italy.

For those who fixate on Portia’s flaws, I’m afraid this show is less a way to explore the absolute autocratic nature of the super-rich, and more like something aspirational. Despite how effectively the show satirizes the ultra-elite, there are many of us who would rather live happily ever after and go to Sicily. It’s a mystery with a possible accidental death or murder, where we marvel at the beautiful lives of rich people, and Portia intervenes.


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