Lately, it feels like every show and every movie, nearly every word spread on social media, is aimed at the current political state of America. We are assaulted with those shows, movies, posts, etc., whether they be positive or negative, on a daily basis, possibly even hourly. It's not a stretch to say that as a nation it seems we have become desensitized to awful news and thoughts and opinions; so, it is no surprise when we view those harshly political shows, movies, social media posts we are unfazed. Yet, one new TV show with the same underlying theme of political mocking sticks out among the rest: Sacha Baron Cohen's new Showtime series "Who is America?"
Much like Cohen's previous work of "Borat" and "Bruno", this series revolves around Cohen dressing up as a different character, or in this case characters, and interacting with real, everyday people who are not in on the "bit." If the blaring, fast-paced flashing image beginning sequence doesn't immediately draw you in then Cohen's cohort of five incredibly different, yet all insanely funny characters will most definitely do the trick. Each of Cohen's six characters seems to embody a distinct stereotypical, dramatized (we hope) archetype of people and fads in America today.
One of his characters is Dr. Nira Cain-N'Degeocello, an extremely liberal gender-studies professor at Reed College, who wishes to "heal the divide" between conservatives and liberals in America by cycling across the nation and talking to different people including Trump supporters, senators, local politicians, gangster rappers, and many others. If you think this situation sounds like everything could go wrong, you are extremely right. In a way that seems like only Cohen can do, he perfectly mocks the extreme liberalism of some people in modern-day society while also calling out the immense wrongs that the intensely conservative stand for and promote.
One exchange shows Dr. Nina Cain-N'Degeocello trying to help an ailing community in rural Arizona, a community full of very conservative citizens. He proposes they build the biggest mosque outside of the Middle East. To say the least, the people in the town do not like the idea and the exchange that ensues is extremely humorous.
Another of the characters Colonel Erran Morad, a member of the Israeli military and an anti-terrorist expert who shows very off-beat technology and tactics to fight against such enemies as immigrants, terrorists, and pedophiles. In one skit Cohen's character Erran Morad interviews former Alabama G.O.P. candidate Roy Moore, where he shows him a new Israeli technology that is quite like a metal detector but instead of detecting metal it detects pedophiles. As Colonel Erran Morad goes to show Roy Moore how the device works the device starts beeping as it passes the Alabaman. Colonel Erran Morad shakes his head saying something must be wrong with the device and keeps passing it over Roy Moore, only for it to beep every time it is passed over. More beeping, more talking, more "confusion" on both parties parts follow.
It is daring risks like this that make Cohen stand out in his political satire because he's not mocking these people behind their back he's mocking them to their face while pretending he isn't in on the joke, which just makes every situation all the more humorous. Instead of hiding behind a screen or desk and typing or talking away, Cohen dresses up and embodies various characters and personalities found in American society today, while also going out to ridicule the people who are the complete opposite of the people he himself pretends to be.
More than anything it is without thought that this show is extremely funny, but after the belly-deep laughs fade real questions about the state of our country will stick in your mind. The show's title may be "Who is America?" but after binging the series you will wonder who you are in America.