'White Lotus' and 9 Other Wicked Satires From the Past 5 Years
Nothing is funnier than sarcasm!
What is the difference between satire and parody? A parody attempts to take an element from a beloved work and make a comical expansion of it. Satire dissects the bigger picture, revealing deeper messages about society and human nature, often with a more cynical, wicked, biting and overall dark sense of humor.
As satire has evolved over the years, many of the best examples in film and television have come in the past five years. TV shows like The White Lotus and Inheritance or films like Parasite and Sorry to Bother you have shown creators creative outlets for dissecting media and social issues.
'The White Lotus' (2021-)
Each season of the show takes place at a different location in the White Lotus chain of resorts. Whether in Hawaii or Sicily, the main story revolves around the different guests' week-long vacations. As they try to relax, it quickly becomes apparent that something is wrong and tension begins to build to a breaking point.
Besides the guests, the hotel and its staff also have their secrets. So if someone wants to spend a night at the White Lotus, when you leave there is always a guarantee that you will never be the same.
The first non-English film to win the Oscar for Best Picture is a haunting satire. Tired of living in a basement apartment, a low-income family in South Korea makes a living out of folding pizza boxes. So, to get ahead in life, they took jobs for wealthy families living in the higher parts of the city.
Fake qualifications and exploit family ignorance, they succeed. But when they discover that their colleagues are hiding their own secrets, the question of who is the real parasite becomes even more murky.
'The Menu' (2022)
A dark thriller with an appropriate bite. Snobby foodie Taylor Ledford (Nicholas Hoult) is invited to an upscale fine dining restaurant on a private island and brings with him a young woman named Margot (Anja Taylor-Joy). companion. They are joined by movie stars, food critics, wealthy individuals and others who share Taylor's attitudes and interests.
However, once they arrive, it is quickly revealed that the head chef (Ralph Fiennes) intends to kill them at the end of the evening with each new dish he brings. But Margot may be capable of getting out alive.
'Sorry to Bother You' (2018)
Cash Green (Lakeith Stanfield) desperately needs a new job to get out of his uncle's garage. Unfortunately, when he becomes a telemarketer for a major corporation, he doesn't seem to make it through until he is instructed to use his "white voice". After taking advantage of this new talent, he rose through the ranks of the company. All the while, he has been involved in attempts by the company's workers to organize a union.
This all comes to a head when Cash discovers that the company has a terrible secret in its treatment of its employees. But will this true dehumanization give them the strength to fight back?
'The Death of Stalin' (2017)
A self-proclaimed horror comedy that takes a comical look at one of the bloodiest periods in human history. For nearly three decades, Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) ruled the Soviet Union with an iron fist, ordering the execution of anyone who stood in his way. So people must be careful around him at all times, or they will face fatal consequences. Then he died.
The Central Committee is suddenly thrown into disarray as Russian politicians try to seize what remains of power. Directed by Veep creator Armando Iannucci, it's fused with his iconic Political satire and dark humor.
'Don't Look Up' (2021)
Two scientists (Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) discover that a comet is about to hit Earth. If touched, all life on Earth would be wiped out. It is their duty to warn the world. The problem is that the world either doesn't care, trying to keep the comet intact for its own self-interest, or flatly denies that comets exist.
Much of the film's social commentary is based on recent responses to issues such as global warming and pandemics. Taking inspiration from Dr. Strangelove and the likes of Network, Adam McKay has created a funny but shockingly thought-provoking account of what happens if we don't trust the experts.
'Kevin Can F*** Himself' (2021-22)
Many beloved sitcoms contain tropes and ideas that would in reality be seen as creepy, weird, and mean. But what would happen if the characters on such a show started to realize this? For example, Alison (Anne Murphy) is in troubled marriage with rude boy Kevin (Eric Peterson).
In front of everyone else, in a multi-camera sitcom setting, it's all hilarious slapstick -- with laughter from an unseen studio audience. But in Allison's private movie setting, she's already started Resents her marriage and desperately wants to change her life. She will do anything to make sure Kevin gets out of her life.
'The Boys' (2019-)
In a world of superheroes, there is only one team above them all - The Seven. They are shining examples of heroism, bravery and kindness. But behind closed doors, they engage in hedonistic, depraved and downright antisocial behavior.
So it's up to a bunch of rogue lynch criminals to stop them and the company they work for, Vought. Based on the comic book by Garth Ennis and Darek Robertson, it hilariously and violently dissects the traditional tropes of superhero stories. Instead, it places them in a world where the almighty dollar rules everything, power corrupts, and most people have impure hearts.
The Weystar RoyCo media empire is run by the Roy family, led by their patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox). But as the elderly's health begins to deteriorate, the family must come forward.
Of course, having grown up in such a favorable environment, every member of this dynasty was spoiled and would do anything to gain what they want. Soon, they're engaged in a frantic scramble filled with backstabbing and deceit to gain a foothold in the company.
What We Do in The Shadows – The Series (2019-)
While being a straight parody, the series does satirize the image of vampires. Based on Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement's beloved 2014 film, the series follows a group of vampires who live as roommates in modern-day Staten Island. Plus, it parodies countless depictions of vampires in popular culture, from Nosferatu to Twilight.
But in doing so, it reveals a sobering truth - vampires are creatures trapped in time, unable to grow emotionally and learn from their mistakes like humans, and unable to adapt properly to modern times. In other words, being a vampire really sucks.