DAVID BIANCULLI

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WHO IS AMERICA?
July 29, 2018  | By David Bianculli

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

 

I’ve refrained from commenting on this new Sacha Baron Cohen series, to this point, because the first two episodes have left me conflicted about my own reactions. As always, I admire Cohen’s inventiveness at getting people to reveal usually hidden parts of themselves by interacting with his often outrageous alter egos. But so far, in Who Is America?, the results have not made me laugh. Indeed, the more successful he is at exposing the prejudices and stupidity of others, my dominant reaction is one of sadness. When he does a focus group that lays bare the anti-Muslim, and indeed anti-African-American, sentiments simmering in one small town, it almost hurts. But I can’t stop thinking about it, so, once again, Cohen may be on to something. I’m just happy that Ted Koppel, a TV journalist I’ve admired for many decades, emerged unscathed. Dick Cheney, gleefully autographing a plastic bottle Cohen’s terrorist-fighting character claimed was used in waterboarding, did not.

 
 
 
 
 
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