HBO’s Westworld, the haunting tale of what can happen when cowboy sex robots go awry, spent its first season unwrapping many of the mysteries that so captivated its audience—save, that is, the question that has tormented fans most of all. And that’s apparently exactly how HBO wants it.
Several days ago, I asked HBO a few questions about the physiology of Westworld’s hosts. The two questions that really interested me, though, were as follows:
- How are the hosts powered? Are they able to convert the food they eat into energy at all?
- Do the hosts expel waste from the food they eat? If so, in what form?
In other words, I wanted to know if the robots poop.
Answers.com, the internet’s foremost authority on answers, was less than helpful.
While I was unable to independently verify user Hmila’s credentials, I have reason to believe that, in fact, Hmila has never received any engineering degree at all.
Yahoo Answers was slightly more helpful—though not in the question itself, of course ...
... but in the answer:
The answer wasn’t particularly informative (stick to hockey, Scott), but does introduce a problem that must be resolved. Specifically, what does the word “poop” actually mean for the problem at hand?
One might define robot poop as any superfluous material released from a robot’s butt or butt-adjacent hatch, in which case, we can be almost certain that Westworld hosts do, in fact, “poop.”
As screenwriter and android personality designer Stephan Vladimir Bugaj told us over email, “What goes in must come out—somehow. If the hosts process/digest the food to extract energy from the organic matter, then the output would be poop-like. But their digestion chemistry and mechanics would be different than ours, so their excrement wouldn’t be the same as human excrement just like dog, cow or rabbit droppings aren’t. If they just eat for show, to make the guests feel more comfortable around them, then their excrement would just be masticated but undigested food waste.
“Given the extremely humanlike design of the hosts, the easiest way to incorporate waste ports into the design would be to locate them in the same places as on the humans they are replicas of. So, they most likely use the restroom in a similar manner.”
But of course, whole bits of mashed-up, unprocessed food popping out of a mechanical anus in the shape of a cube isn’t going to cut it as far as realism goes. We’re dealing with Westworld, the future’s premier destination for torture cosplay and robot fucking. People aren’t paying $40,000 a day to be surrounded by robots that don’t shit.
More practically(-ish) speaking, though, Westworld is ostensibly about giving its guests a place to make their wildest and most obscene fantasies become a reality. For a portion of the population, those fantasies involve handling another human’s feces. If a coprophilia-inclined guest can’t have a prostitute-bot take a dump on his chest, then what is he even paying for in the first place?
Almost 24 hours later and after forwarding my email to three (three!) additional HBO employees, a spokesperson finally gave me the following response:
Well. Well, well, well. I fully expected to receive no response. Or maybe even a “the show’s creators aren’t really focused on that please stop wasting my time.” But this was something else entirely.
“We don’t have any info to share” could mean anything. Surely someone on the show must have considered the hosts more base bodily functions at some point. Do they have the information I seek and just aren’t able to share it with me? Did I just stumble upon a major season two plot point involving robot feces? It was beginning to seem that, yes, I had.
I decided to push HBO for clarification.
HBO wanted to know if I wanted to go on background—which is to say, off the official record—on whether or not its fictional robots poop. It certainly wasn’t ideal, but I needed answers. Instead, HBO stopped returning my emails.
What is HBO hiding? And why won’t they confirm what we know must be true? Why won’t HBO tell us that its cowboy sex robots poop?
If you have any information at all regarding the hosts’ bowels or lack thereof, please do let us know. We just want answers.