Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello and Billy Wayne Ruddick fall into the loser category, says Lili Loofbourow. "The unusual thing about Who Is America? is that it actually runs on two extremely different strands of cringe comedy, and extorted courtesy is only one of them," she says. "Yes, Baron Cohen plays a number of characters whose basic schtick is being so stupid and insufferable that you can’t help but feel a bit sorry for them," she adds, referring to Ruddick and Cain-N’Degeocello. Referring to Erran Morad and Gio Monaldo, she says: "But there’s another kind of Cohen character, and it’s a much more dangerous one. Cohen’s winners...are lethal in ways his losers never can be. What these characters do is smash the alibi that Cohen’s targets were victims of their own politesse. The sketches with them are genuinely revealing in ways the others aren’t; they’re agents of disinhibition who give his targets an opportunity to show what they really are. Because the Monaldo and Morad characters are aspirational—the targets see them as successful and strong and want to benefit from them—pity isn’t a tool they rely on."
TOPICS: Who Is America?, Showtime, The Real Housewives of Orange County, Gretchen Rossi, Sacha Baron Cohen