Who Is America?: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America? (2018) debuted July 15, 2018, but I didn’t start watching it until last Saturday, August 25. I planned on watching it from the get go, but I forgot. And that makes sense: Who Is America? is the epitome of a forgettable show. It received mixed reviews from critics with Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff calling it “the most disappointing show of the year.” Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of Who Is America?
Spoiler alert for Who Is America? obviously.
5. Self-defence at work
Episode 4: Erran Morad teaches Republican Shaun McCutcheon and Zan how to defend the office from a terrorist attack. They throw pork at the ‘terrorist’ and show him a picture of two men having sex. According to Morad, if a Muslim sees that they will become gay. This skit is very wholesome, compared to the rest.
4. Fuck Trump
Episode 7: This skit makes up the majority of the seventh and final episode and it is hilarious from start to finish. SBC acts as Erran Morad and the skit features middle aged men memorising an episode of HBO’s Girls (2012–2017), a middle-aged man and SBC dressing up as lesbians, going to a rally and ‘murdering’ lesbians there and fucking Trump—literally.
3. Ass attack
Episode 2: Erran Morad, an Israeli Colonel (who gets promoted to a Brigadier) teaches Jason Spencer, a Georgia Republican state representative, anti-terrorism tactics such as taking pictures with a selfie stick up a woman’s burqa. The funniest moment of this skit comes at the end when Spencer charges at Morad, backwards with his pants down.
Watch the entire skit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4k4pMTsa1Kw
2. How to survive a beheading
Episode 5: Morad teaches how to survive a beheading to Youth Shooters of America founder Dan Roberts. Morad’s technique is to bite the beheader’s dick off. SBC straps a dildo onto himself so Dan can practice. It is reminiscent of Brüno ‘learning’ self defence while charging his attacker with 3 dildos.
1. The Quinceañera
Episode 3: Where do I even start. Erran Morad and 2 right-wing middle-aged white men try to catch Mexicans via luring them into a trap at a Quinceañera. SBC gets one of them to dress up as a 15-year-old Mexican girl—complete with tiara and bright pink ballgown.
5. Jill Stein
Episode 6: SBC as ‘Dr.’ Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr. interviews Jill Stein. It does not go well for SBC—he does not get the kicks he wanted from her. She is (real) doctor after all.
4. Roy Moore
Episode 3: Erran Morad interviews Roy Moore and debuts a device invented by the Israeli Army to detect paedophiles. It goes off on Roy Moore and then he leaves. That one garnered lots of laughs (not).
3. Barney Frank
Episode 7: While SBC’s acting as Dr Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr. is admirable, this interview is not. Barney Frank catches on pretty quickly.
2. Bernie Sanders
Episode 1: Dr Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., interviews Bernie Sanders. Similarly to the Barney Frank skit, Bernie catches on pretty quickly. This skit was the first in the first episode and signalled the downward turning point of the show. The opening credits are hilarious and relevant: JFK’s “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”; and then Reagan’s “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall”, to Trump’s…well this.
Watch the opening credits here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP9gBWoa0mI
1. OJ Simpson
Episode 7: SBC as Gio, a rich Italian photographer tries his hardest to get OJ to confess but OJ holds like a brick wall. There are secret cameras but OJ does not crack. This final skit is a wonderful little surprise which no one saw coming, but, like the rest of the show, it’s a failure. OJ doesn’t confess to some random, weird, Italian guy he met half-an-hour ago, but just imagine how cool it would have been if he did.
5. Assad’s Yacht
Episode 4: Gio gets a visit from his assistant and girlfriend played by the smoking Emanuela Postacchini. Kudos to her for giving Gio a fake blowjob while he is the middle of a business meeting with a yacht broker from Luxury Yacht Sales Company. Gio is representing Assad and asks if Luxury Yacht Sales Company will pimp out Assad’s yacht with guns to shoot swimming refugees, antiaircraft missiles, a helicopter and quarters designed for minimizing space when trafficking girls. Its cringey to see this businessman just go along with Gio’s antics and say yes to every request just to make a deal. He is just doing his job though, I suppose.
Episode 6: The only left-wing character who makes fun of left-wingers in the show is the strange, Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello in an attempt to better empathise with his pregnant wife sticks a toy baby up his asshole and goes to an alternative birthing clinic to ‘give birth’. It’s really weird. He lays there with his doula, who we later find out is just his cleaner, and the man who runs the clinic guides him while SBC ‘gives birth’ to this baby. The baby gets stuck though and they can’t get it out.
3. Faecal artist
Episode 1: Rick Sherman, a British ex-con, uses faeces, his own and his cellmate’s, to make artwork. He takes it to a gallery, tells his story and Christy, the art consultant there, is inspired. It’s funny until it’s not. He confesses to using his, and his cellmate’s semen to make artwork too, and then he goes and makes some artwork. Then Ricky confesses to be a collector of pubic hair and using it for his paintbrush. Christy offers her own and then we see watch as she cuts some of her pubic hair off and gives it to Ricky. Funny, but too far. This skit, especially reveals the narcissism and pretentiousness innate in the world of elite artistry.
2. Prison food
Episode 6: Ricky wows us again by demonstrating his culinary skills to Bill Jilla, a prominent food critic. The food is inspired by prison and made only by foods found there. Like the ‘faecal artist’ skit, things go way too far after Ricky gives him ‘human meat’ and Bill eats it. The terrifying thing about this is the suspension of morality: faced with only one option, eat the meat, try something new, don’t disrespect Ricky, Bill goes for it. Afterwards, they thank the parents of the deceased for making someone so delicious.
1. Little kids and guns
Episode 1: Prominent gun rights activists (Philip Van Cleave, Larry Pratt, Matt Gaetz, Trent Lott, Dana Rohrabacher, Joe Wilson, and Joe Walsh) feature in a music video about arming children aged 3 to 16 in order to make schools safe again. It is alarming and frightening to see how far they will stretch their principle that everyone has a right to a gun.
My recommendation: don’t watch the show, read this instead and watch the highlights on YouTube.