We’ve all been there: a hotel or restaurant has messed up your booking. “Our deepest apologies,” mouths the manager with a thin smile. They’re sorry, or are they? It’s not their fault, or is it? Do you seethe, or slink away? It’s a social etiquette minefield. It’s not a big deal… but maybe it is a medium-sized deal?
Taking this concept: a person's capacity to lose their mind when confronted with mild humiliation, and running with it to dark and delicious effect, HBO’s new flagship mini series, The White Lotus, sees a group of pampered tourists descend on a dream resort in Hawaii for what is supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime. At the centre of the mayhem that lingers just below the starched bedsheets, seafood buffets and sandy beaches is Shane Patton, played to loathsome perfection by Jake Lacy, an obnoxious newlywed who wages war with the hotel’s supercilious manager over a room booking gone wrong. A perceived slight that quickly spirals out of control.
In previous roles, as Lena Dunham’s exasperated boyfriend Fran in Girls; bored cubicle drone Pete in The Office; and Clyde, the patient and responsible foil to Zoë Kravitz’s chaotic Rob in the High Fidelity TV reboot, Lacy has often operated as the beleaguered Nice Guy, his frustrations only occasionally breaking the surface of a near perma-smiling face. New York magazine even did a power ranking of all of the nice guys played by Lacy over the years. So what did it feel like to embody - so says Vanity Fair anyway - an “asshole” for once?