Who Is America? has been a fascinating, if occasionally frustrating, program. Its early episodes showed promise, and in some cases even brought real-life consequences for Sacha Baron Cohens marks. But as the series has continued, its pranks have been less fruitful—and, occasionally, more troubling. Sundays finale encapsulated both the shows strengths and its weaknesses, showcasing a climax both quiet and alarming: Cohens anti-terrorism-expert character, Erran Morad, convinced a Trump supporter to press a button that he thought would kill a liberal “terrorist” at a Womens March. Cohens Italian-mogul character also sat down with O.J. Simpson—and joked with him about killing women.
For all the noise surrounding Cohens prank on Sarah Palin, the trick never made it to air. Instead, Sundays finale focused on three other bits, starting with a fruitless conversation between Cohens right-wing conspiracy-theorist character, Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., and former Democratic congressman Barney Frank. Like all of “Ruddick”s conversations with liberal politicians, the conversation went pretty much nowhere, as Cohen prodded Frank with Pizzagate theories and insisted that the Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape had been doctored.
Cohens second group of targets was not famous at all: three Trump supporters named Glenn, Darren, and Cody. Playing his Israeli anti-terrorism-expert character, Morad, Cohen asked the group to name the biggest terror threat within the United States right now. (They all agreed its Antifa.) He then “trained” the group to convincingly play liberals—a process that included learning how to cite their favorite Girls episodes and beating a dummy of the president with dildos. At one point, two of the men simulated rape on the dummy—one orally and one anally—continuing the shows dabbling in questionable, occasionally troubling humor. The “winner,” Glenn, attended a Womens March with Cohen; both were dressed as “lesbians.” Cohen then instructed Glenn to press a button on a tablet that he said would detonate a small explosive, killing an Antifa member and stopping a terrorist plot. Glenn did it, saying, “Ive never participated in someones death before . . . I feel a little queasy.”
And then there was the big finish: dressed as Italian playboy Gio Monaldo, Cohen sat down with Simpson himself, under the guise of a business deal, and promptly began to joke about killing women. A young woman playing “Gio”s girlfriend failed to recognize Simpson at first; it wasnt until Cohen pretended to stab her that she did. After she left, Cohen joked multiple times about wanting to kill her sometimes—suggesting ways he could murder her, while Simpson laughed and said “Stop!” The two joked about potentially orchestrating a bungee jump in which the cord was too long. At another point, Cohen said his business partner desperately wanted to know what happened with “the wife.”
“What wife?” Simpson asked.
“The one you shot!” Cohen replied.
“Well, first of all,” Simpson replied, “She wasnt my wife. We had been divorced.”
Despite repeated prodding from “Gio,” who joked that both of them are “lady-killers,” Simpson repeatedly denied having murdered Nicole Brown Simpson. Just as the prank that preceded it, the segment was more unsettling than anything else—which, ultimately, appears to have been what Who Is America? was about all along.
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