Fool’s Paradise – The New York Times

I try to live a pop culture life with no regrets, but a few Sundays ago, in an almost postprandial fugue after watching “The White Lotus,” I did something I wish I could take back.

I read every comment, every fan hypothesis, every immaculately researched theory of how the season will end in the aftershow discussion thread on Reddit.

I had no intention of ruining the show. I just wanted to meet up with (or hang out among) fellow enthusiasts to enjoy the glorious and increasingly rare experience of processing an episode of a show in real-time just after it aired, before the rest of the internet got to grips with it .

Instead, I emerged from a hallucinatory hour (or was it three?) of reading confident that I knew exactly how the season would play out, who would betray whom, who would survive, and who would meet a watery death. (The fact that a watery death is indeed on the horizon was established in the first episode of the season.)

While I wish I hadn’t entered Reddit’s lair of lotus investigators, I have no regrets about the other mildly obsessive — but mostly plot-preserving — fan research I’ve done.

I’m glad to have heard about this week’s “Fresh Air” interview with Mike White, the show’s creator, in which he spoke about how his love of “Fantasy Island,” “The Love Boat,” and “Laverne & Shirley” shaped this season. I’m also glad I looked up White’s favorite books (like Torrey Peters, who spoke to The Morning earlier this year, he loves Halldor Laxness’s “Independent People”) and reserved many of these from the library. I read with enthusiasm this interview with Simona Tabascowho plays Lucia and listens this episode of “Las Culturistas” with Meghann Fahy playing Daphne. I observe Aubrey Plaza reacts to fans on social media and I checked it out again Jennifer Coolidge’s charming Emmy acceptance speech.

I’m excited to learn more about the people who make the series I find so compelling. I just wish I hadn’t let my fandom lead me into the neon-lit land of property looting.

And so my anticipation of tomorrow’s finale of The White Lotus mixes with some sadness and some relief. I am sad to say ciao to the enchanting views of Sicily; to the characters I marveled at as if I knew them personally; to what has become appointment television for me. But I’m looking forward to finally solving this season’s mysteries and, maybe even more, to watching the next season spoiler-free.

  • “The White Lotus” is “haunted by movies and the fantasies they evoke,” writes Carina Chocano in The Times.

  • F. Murray Abraham and Michael Imperioli contracted Covid at the same time while filming in Sicily.

  • The show’s costume designer discusses dressing up the Gen Z characters.

  • “If, on a fine day, the unsuspecting visitor strolls to the parapet to take in the view, cardiac arrest can be the reward.” From 1979 “The Scenic Overkill of Taormina,” the city set this season of “The White Lotus” was filmed.

🍿 “Avatar: The Way of Water” (Friday): A few weeks later than seemingly everyone else in my life, I finally saw Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Many of the antagonists in this film are blue humanoids that live underwater, so I feel pretty primed for the Avatar sequel, which is partly about blue humanoids that live underwater. (If you haven’t already, please read this incredibly entertaining GQ profile by James Cameron, director of the “Avatar” films.)

📺 Kindred (Tuesday): In this FX series, based on the classic novel by Octavia Butler, a black woman slides between the present and a pre-war southern plantation. The series was adapted for television by playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, whose “An Octoroon” is one of the great American plays of the last few decades. (Looking for more about Butler, a true sci-fi maestro? Check out our list of her must-read books.)

Ever wanted to bake some festive holiday treats for your friends and neighbors? Genevieve Kos Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies would be an excellent choice. Her contribution to our epic Cookie Week, these elegant confections consist of buttery, bittersweet rounds filled with chocolate hazelnut spread and a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts. If you can, spend these on the day of making, when the contrast between the silky filling and the crunchy biscuit base is most pronounced. But if that’s impractical, fear not: they’re still absolutely gorgeous, albeit a little softer in texture, up to two days later. Note that this recipe makes a small batch. So, if your cookie-giving circle is big, consider doubling the yield. All the extras are not wasted.

A selection of New York Times recipes is available to all readers. Please note a cooking subscription for full access.

Stress Relief Tips: Here’s how to really enjoy the holidays.

In search: A plethora of symptoms and their sudden onset are signs of flu in children.

Standing Out: Watch the best comedy of the year.

Wardrobe staples: Find the ideal black trousers.

Gift swapping like secret Santas and exchanging white elephants can be fun and festive, but also stressful. Nothing spoils the holiday spirit quite like cheap shopping for a relative stranger. But tradition doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Wirecutter has ideas both when you know the recipient and when it’s free. The key is picking a gift that everyone could enjoy – something useful and a bit whimsical, like a 3-pound bucket of fancy sea salt or a box of cucumber bandages. If you’re exchanging gifts with a more serious crew, try one-size-fits-all tech knick-knacks like touchscreen gloves or a wireless charger. – Hannah Morrill

Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors, NBA: When those teams met in the Finals last year, the Celtics were a defensive force (though not strong enough to stop Stephen Curry). The Celtics are even better this year, but instead of having the best defense in the league, they pulled it off the best offense in history. Their young star Jayson Tatum is a front-runner for MVP, and the team is on track to set a record for three-pointers. The NBA is only a quarter into its season so the Celtics may not be able to keep up that pace, but right now they are the team to beat. 8:30 Eastern tonight on ABC. Fool’s Paradise – The New York Times

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