The Reel Review

B-

British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Bruno, Da Ali G Show) turns his satirical eye towards American politics and blind nationalism in this new half hour comedy series on Showtime. In it, Cohen unveils four new alter egos: a right-wing conspiracy theorist/blogger, a left-wing activist who apologizes for being a white man, an ex-convict pedaling art made from his own feces, and an Israeli anti-terror “expert” wanting to arm kindergarteners. Cohen’s interviews with unsuspecting targets are the same schtick reminiscent of his Borat character, doing and saying outrageous things to entice them into behaving even more inappropriately. Some (former U.S. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders) don’t take the bait, while others (a slew of GOP lawmakers) do. The premiere episode isn’t so much funny as it is depressingly horrifying, seeing how easily Cohen tricks current and former GOP lawmakers Trent Lott (MS), Dana Rohrabacker (CA), Joe Walsh (IL) and Joe Wilson (SC) into participating in a commercial advocating arming small children with guns, as they read nonsensical phrases from a TelePrompTer script, making them look even more like absolute idiots. While not great television, it is compelling in the saddest possible way.

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