Every character on The White Lotus, ranked by how insufferable they are

The White Lotus (Photos: Fabio Lovino/HBO)
The White Lotus (Photos: Fabio Lovino/HBO)

To watch any given episode of The White Lotus: Sicily is to step into a resort where, if you were a guest, you’d spend the entire time people-watching. And, in turn, judging those very people you find yourself sharing common areas with. As with its first season, writer-director-creator Mike White has populated his fictional hotel with a string of folks who are, for better and for worse, insufferable in all the right ways. Therein lies the biting satire at the heart of this sun-dappled, Emmy-winning series.

The dark comedy shines through precisely because so many of the guests at the White Lotus are blissfully unaware of how they come off—to one another but also sometimes to themselves. Whether they’re prone to make politically incorrect (or ignorant, really) comments about Puerto Rico or eager to go on meandering stories about their life that show they’re not listening at all to what you’re saying, this season’s cast of characters has no shortage of people you’d run away from if you were to ever encounter them at a hotel bar where the resident pianist has just recently collapsed.

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For a list that was dreamt up with a tongue firmly planted in its cheek, we tried to be as playful with the ranking, which goes from least to most insufferable, as we could be. Perhaps it may even double as a Rorschach test of sorts for who we’d rather surround ourselves with and who we’d flake on the first chance we got. Either way, enjoy!

Least insufferable: Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore)

Sabrina Impacciatore
Sabrina Impacciatore

She may not be getting the kind of screen time our beloved Armand (Emmy award winner Murray Bartlett) got last season, but the White Lotus: Sicily manager is easily the most congenial character of the bunch. Or, rather, let’s rephrase, for Valentina is quite the prickly character. But anyone who calls out Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) for looking like Peppa Pig and fumbles a flirtatious encounter with a subordinate with candor is never gonna get any flak from us. Yes, Valentina may be a tough (and toughened) boss but she’s genuine in a way you can’t say about many of the rest of the folks currently staying at the Sicilian hotel.

Albie (Adam DiMarco)

Adam DiMarco
Adam DiMarco

We’re torn about Albie. Aren’t you? His “nice guy” persona is bound to crack at some point. (He’s halfway there if he keeps hanging out with Lucia!) But there’s no denying his brazen earnestness puts him far and away from being as insufferable as many of the other men touring Italy—including his relatives. And sure, he’s a bit of a Golden Retriever of a boy, arguably a response and a reaction to the way his father and grandfather move through the world. Still, those puppy-dog eyes and that adorable mop of hair keep us from ever describing him as insufferable.

Ethan (Will Sharpe)

Will Sharpe and Aubrey Plaza
Will Sharpe and Aubrey Plaza

Speaking of “nice guys”: Ethan may well be the real deal. Or he’s been so far. Honest to a fault (Harper’s words, not ours), he’s also sweet and kind in ways both big and small—even when his college friend is clearly wanting to milk him for money and his wife is being aggressively passive aggressive toward said friend. This is not to say he’s a bit of a welcome mat but he’s the quiet, introspective type. The kind who enjoys himself some after-run porn and yet would just as handily dismiss his wife’s sexual advances even when he sees she’s making an effort.

Harper (Aubrey Plaza)

Aubrey Plaza
Aubrey Plaza

Which brings us to Harper who, we’ll admit (and this says plenty about us) is the one person out of this entire ensemble we’d kill to spend a dinner with. Is she a bit abrasive bordering on caustic? Uh, yeah. But wouldn’t you be when faced with the prospect of spending time with people who love themselves a binge and would rather discuss Venice hotels than, well, anything else? Okay, maybe don’t answer that question because that clearly depends on your mileage for such things. Personally, though, her acidic retorts and grade-A side-eyes are delectable even if we know so many of them would be directed our way if we were ever to hang out.

Lucia and Mia (Simona Tabasco and Beatrice Grannò)

Beatrice Grannò and Simona Tabasco
Beatrice Grannò and Simona Tabasco

Chaotic Evil and Chaotic Neutral, right? Or maybe just “mess.” Either way, these two young Sicilian women are making the most out of the time at the White Lotus and who are we to judge them? That’s for Valentina to do, clearly. Sure, Lucia has a hard time pivoting away from seeing any and all relationships as transactional, and Mia is struggling at not, well, outright killing folks she’s exploiting for her own dreams of stardom. But, come on, who among us would not run with the kinds of chances they’re being afforded by being young, sexy, and reckless? Plus, as every man whom they’ve ever hung out with during these past few days can attest, they are fun. Which goes a long way.

Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge)

Jon Gries and Jennifer Coolidge
Jon Gries and Jennifer Coolidge

Tanya may be “too fabulous to be sad” (we agree), but that doesn’t mean she can’t get on one’s nerves. Which isn’t to say we’d pull a Greg and leave her during a romantic trip we planned. But we commiserate with Portia, who finds her employer’s whims impossible to cater to day in and day out. Her melancholy, which was mostly grief in season one and is replaced with heartbreak this time around, can end up making her come off as a tad unhinged. Arguably in the best of ways (that Vespa ride) but also, you have to admit, in trying ones as well. She’s the kind of (very wealthy) person who can’t see beyond herself (see: the way she treats Portia or any fortune teller who won’t merely offer her what she hopes to hear) and ends up, thus, being difficult to relate to. Thankfully, in Jennifer Coolidge’s hands, she remains a fascinating creature to observe, even when she decides that to tell a story “from the beginning” means starting with her birth.

Portia (Haley Lu Richardson)

Haley Lu Richardson
Haley Lu Richardson

The queen of discourse herself. If Portia sometimes sounds like she’s a Gen Z Twitter trending topics generator that may well be because she is. This young assistant with a distinct sense of fashion (is it amazing or is it horrid? Is it a ’90s homage or a 2020s vibe? Who cares?) can sometimes get too much in her head. And in her phone. Her crippling self-awareness dovetails quite nicely with her own self-deprecation—perhaps not a great combo when you’re faced with a picture-perfect Italian backdrop, don’t you think? You can see why Albie would be so into her while also understanding why he’s having trouble breaking through; she’s not a self-absorbed narcissist. But she’s also not not that, you know? But maybe we should borrow one of her generation’s favorite words: She can be a bit cringe.

Daphne (Meghann Fahy)

Meghann Fahy
Meghann Fahy

Aw. It pains me to have to put this hilariously oblivious live laugh love wife/mom so high up, but it truly is a race to the bottom with this crowd. White loves skewering the privileged class and so we were going to be making difficult choices when discerning who’s more insufferable than the next. Trust us, though, that there is no moralizing here. We’re strictly thinking of who we’d most roll eyes at while slurping on some spaghetti alle vongole. To be fair, Daphne at least knows how to lace her own innocuousness with some A-plus one-liners (and some fab fashion) but damn if some of her thoughts on marriage and men (not to mention TV and politics) are amusingly tone deaf.

Bert (F. Murray Abraham)

F. Murray Abraham
F. Murray Abraham

You have to hand it to Bert; he knows exactly who he is, and he’s not about to start apologizing for it. He knows there’s no respect for “the old” anymore—or the brand of masculinity he and his son feel is so natural. (Albie tells them as much.) But that barely bothers him. In fact, it’s kind of admirable how indifferent he seems to be to the way he comes off. It’s what so upsets his grandson, who feels the constant need to apologize on Bert’s behalf (to the staff, to women on the street, to Portia...). If he’s insufferable it is only because he’s stuck in a world that’s no more. There’s a reason why the season is taking place amid so many ruins, after all.

Dominic (Michael Imperioli)

Michael Imperioli
Michael Imperioli

Gotta say, Mike White’s extended treatise on contemporary masculinity (we all agree that’s one of the main themes this season, yes?) has an extended menagerie of characters that really take the cake. We’ll admit, we may be judging the men (or is it boys who’ll be boys) a bit harshly. But we’re just following White’s lead. And while Bert is at least lovable in that grandfatherly sort of way, it’s harder to make that sort of case with Dominic, whose own guilt, which he carries like a heavy if ornamental cross, never quite gets him to own up to who he is, what he wants, and the life he’d rather have. Also, aren’t midlife crises like his already passé?

Most insufferable: Cameron (Theo James)

Theo James
Theo James

There was no way our resident douche bro wouldn’t top this list, right? He may be pretty to a fault but he is (in the words of his wife, no less) an incorrigible “naughty boy.” The kind who’d just as easily strip in front of you as a power move, ignore the collapse of a guy at a restaurant since his reservation is ready or, even, outright suggest you dabble in some insider trading next time you’re set to make millions off your successful startup. A Gaston by way of prestige HBO fare, Cameron is not only blithely insufferable (his honeyed condescension toward Daphne alone is unbearable) but it’s a testament to White and James that he’s also impossibly watchable. For what would such a scathing, biting satire be without characters you love to hate?

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