Murray Bartlett has forged a pretty solid prestige TV career on HBO, with his costarring roles in both Looking and The White Lotus making the Australian actor a lock for the “guy who was in that other thing we liked” pantheon. As Armond, the increasingly fed up manager of the titular Hawaii resort in The White Lotus, Bartlett has reaped acclaim for playing the sort of sweatily frustrated hotel proprietor Basil Fawlty might have been with a steady supply of illicit intoxicants and a taste for cathartically disgusting vengeance.
Speaking of the last-episode act Armond perpetrates upon one thoroughly deserving pain-in-the-ass hotel guest, Bartlett graciously allowed Jimmy Kimmel to spoil the big scene for the sake of an anecdote. So we here at the A.V. Club will follow suit, but not before urging those of you who haven’t seen The White Lotus (and shame on you, by the way) to stop reading now. And to not read the title of the YouTube clip from last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. You’ve been warned.
So, when Armond poops in [character redacted]’s suitcase, Bartlett told Kimmel that, while he did, indeed, crouch pantsless over that open valise, and while the series’ prop department slaved to create a prop poop of just the right consistency, the onscreen leavings were, in fact, CGI. Now, one might moan over how computer effects are ruining today’s entertainment. After all, Pier Paolo Pasolini lovingly supervised the Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom fake feces (even reportedly taste-testing the chocolate and orange peel concoction on toast), while The White Lotus creator Mike White went the CGI route in the end. Even though, as Bartlett told series fan Kimmel that the original prop was similarly made from chocolate, honey, and some other stuff that, in this context, makes the gorge rise in our throats.
Bartlett, who auditioned for the series remotely thanks to the pandemic, initially had no idea just where his tortured character’s arc would take him. Explaining White’s look of apprehension when the signed-on Bartlett revealed that he’d only read the pilot script, the actor told Kimmel that he was already in the series’ semi-abandoned Hawaii set before he found out about Armond’s last-episode, um, outburst.
With Bartlett receiving universal acclaim and some serious awards consideration for his role, his decision to stick things out seems to have worked out just fine, even prompting Bartlett to become a better person—at least when it comes to how he treats all members of the service industry. Apart from gaining insight into just what a tough job hospitality is, Bartlett’s experience is a lesson to us all that what goes around can come very messily around.