Sacha Baron Cohen’s journey to answer the question of Who Is America? has come to an end. The half-hour Showtime series finished its seven-episode run on Sunday night, and, if Cohen’s Twitter is to be believed, the season finale was actually a series finale.
It’s probably for the best. Even if you’ve enjoyed Who Is America? every single week — and if you have: really? — you have to admit that it’d probably be tough for Cohen to bait even more people into saying and doing awful, hateful things, now that his latest characters have drawn so much media attention. Or, who knows, maybe he’d have absolutely no trouble at all in that department.
So how did Cohen decide to send off his newest endeavor? Whom did he target and what, if anything, have they said about it? Let’s examine Who Is America?
I think it’s safe to say that former Congressman Barney Frank is not a fan of Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Cohen’s Alex Jones-type character who’s affiliated with a fictional site called Truthbrary.org. During the first segment of Sunday’s finale, Ruddick tests Frank’s patience with a really obvious opener (asking if Frank agrees that Donald Trump is the greatest president in U.S. history) and by presenting an alternate version of the infamous Access Hollywood tape.
In the (very clearly doctored) version Ruddick plays for Frank, Trump wasn’t bragging about sexual assault or how he feels entitled to touch women because he’s a celebrity. The future-president was merely giving Billy Bush instructions on how to deal with a rodent problem. (“Buy the pussy,” goes the bogus audio.) Once Ruddick brings up the Pizzagate controversy, Frank decides he’s wasting his time, and gets up and walks out of the interview.
As of time of writing, it doesn’t look like Frank has issued a response to or commented on his appearance on Who Is America? He apparently doesn’t spend very much time on Twitter, which — good for him!
Glenn, Darren and Cody
The bulk of Sunday’s episode is devoted to a segment featuring Erran Morad, Cohen’s monobrowed Israeli terrorism expert. He’s looking to infiltrate the ranks of liberals and take on antifa, so he hosts tryouts with three conservative men — Glenn, Darren and Cody — to see if they can convincingly present themselves as liberals.
Some topics they need to seem authoritative on: cooking quinoa, the recommended tire pressure for a Nissan Leaf and the best episode of HBO’s Girls. (Morad suggests they say season two’s “Bad Friend,” but the correct answer is season three’s “Beach House.”) Naturally, the auditions end with the guys violating a dummy Donald Trump with dildos.
Morad settles on Glenn as the ideal companion, and the two of them head to San Francisco to pose as a lesbian couple at a women’s march. Morad tells Glenn that they’re there to prevent a made-up scheme wherein members of the left are planning to expose babies to hormones to “turn [them] into a transgender,” a ploy that Glenn refers to as “genocide.” (It’s really not fun summing up what happens on this show, FYI.)
Once they don “lesbian disguises” and pussy hats, Morad and Glenn show off how much they know about the third episode of Girls’ second season and the Nissan Leaf. Eventually, Morad instructs Glenn to plant tracking devices on the backs of a few people at the women’s march; he then tells Glenn to push a button that will detonate one of the devices, so it’ll generate a minor explosion and cause the person they’ve targeted to have a heart attack. Glenn seems to pause for a moment, but he pushes the button. As far as he knows, he’s just murdered someone — and all he can manage to say afterward is, “I’ve never participated in someone’s death ... I feel a little queasy.”
Glenn doesn’t appear to have made any public statements about what happened on Who Is America?, and neither have Cody or Darren. Also, none of them look to have made the news for any kind of fallout from appearing on the show.
For a mid-credits segment, Cohen slipped in a conversation between Gio Monaldo — his aggressively unfunny, super-rich-Italian-playboy character — and O.J. Simpson. Since it’s tucked away at the very end, their talk doesn’t go on for too long, but it still manages to feel like an eternity because it’s so profoundly uncomfortable.
The routine opens with Cohen’s Monaldo introducing Simpson to his girlfriend, who doesn’t recognize one of the most infamous men in America. Monaldo tries to explain that Simpson was once a great football player, and that he appeared in the Naked Gun film trilogy, but nothing registers. Then, Monaldo mimes a stabbing motion and it clicks instantly: Oh, that O.J. Simpson!
Simpson laughs it off, jokingly mortified that that’s how people of a certain generation now know him. The segment continues on and, after the young woman leaves Monaldo and Simpson to talk among themselves, Monaldo kids about how he sometimes just wants to kill his girlfriend. He then mentions that he’s got a friend who’d love to talk with Simpson about how to get away with murder. Simpson makes sure to say that he didn’t get away with anything, and all throughout the back-and-forth, he keeps telling Monaldo to stop, sometimes chuckling a good deal and sometimes less so. “Cringe-worthy” is an overused way to describe the bits on this show, so let’s just say that the whole Simpson portion will make your skin crawl.
It’s been noted that the entire exchange between the two of them feels like Cohen’s trying to get a confession out of Simpson on camera. Simpson doesn’t give him that, and so far he hasn’t given any public statements about appearing on Who Is America? either.