First things first: My apologies for not getting a review of episode 6 up sooner. I’ve put up a brief review and discussion space here; to be honest, I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot to say about it. It was probably the least strictly interesting of the episodes, but I wanted an article for the record anyway.
Now, onto the season finale:
First things first, the Sarah Palin interview we’d all been waiting for was sadly cut on the show. I wouldn’t be surprised if it made the DVD extras or something like that at some point, but I guess Sacha Baron Cohen deemed it not worth including. It’s a little disappointing, given the level of anticipation– all the other conservatives who had publicly complained about the show’s trickery of them had appeared already, creating an expectation that Palin’s segment must have been sublime, to be held for the finale. Alas, it didn’t make the cut. The final episode that did, however, is something else.
The anticipation was heightened by the fact that the opening credits mentioned “two voices” as opposed to the usual four or five; the implication of some extended segments promised something truly special. While we didn’t get one with Palin, what we did get was special enough to serve as an appropriate finale.
The opening segment with Billy Wayne Rudduck is the most conventional of the episode. Rudduck talks to Barney Frank, whose patience for his claims that the Access Hollywood tape (you know, the “grab ’em by the pussy” tape) was doctored and that Pizzagate is real runs out reasonably quickly (not as quickly as Ted Koppel’s, but quickly enough). On the bright side, Frank is willing to openly say to Rudduck’s face that he’s insulting him.
The centerpiece of the episode, and possibly the longest segment Who Is America? has done, involves Lieutenant Erran Morad recruiting operatives for an undercover operation to take down antifa, which he calls the most dangerous terrorist organization in America today. (Calling them an “organization” is funny enough; I’m glad that they’re making enough of an impact deplatforming fascists that mention of the name can send MAGA types reeling.)
Morad recruits three potential partners for an infiltration scheme, having selected them by recruiting volunteers who have “proven their courage by anonymously attacking women, hippies, and homos on the internet.” Morad quizzes his new recruits– Cody, Darren, and Glenn– on who the most dangerous terrorist group is (a couple of them “correctly” answer antifa) and why they are so dangerous. (“They are anti fascist. They want to take down everything our president has been doing right.” Hey, you said it, not me.)
To train these brave warriors, Morad will have to teach them how to pose as a liberal. (As we all know, nobody has been more vocal supporters of antifa than liberals; liberals definitely didn’t coin the term “alt-left” that we see Donald Trump use in a clip here, and they definitely haven’t spent the weekend lionizing John McCain because they care about Civility and Discourse more than human lives.) That conflation is funny enough, but then Morad’s training involves things like “making them memorize details of Girls episodes,” a punishment worse than anything I could think up.
As far as other training efforts: Morad asks them what other traits they know about liberal men; they immediately answer “they’re pussies,” and Morad explains that they will have to learn to give men compliments to go undercover. This segment lasts long enough to be intensely funny, especially as the level of compliments get to a personal nature that even I, as a man rather effusive with compliments and unashamed to be emotionally open or vulnerable, would not have been comfortable saying. Morad also explains that they’ll have to go undercover as lesbians, grilling them on their knowledge thereof and ability to play someone who hates penises convincingly. They’ll also have to find the inner strength to insult Donald Trump and attack an effigy of him, despite his greatness as a president.
Glenn is the winner of the audition, and Morad flies him out with him to San Francisco for the Women’s March, where he reveals more details of their plan. Morad has discovered a fiendish plot by two liberal scientists to outfit babies with diapers that contain hormones that will make them trans; Morad tells Glenn that “They missed their flight somehow,” all sinister implications and too-long laughter afterward. Their goal is to go undercover as “Dr. Deborah Levine” and her partner of twelve years, infiltrating the rally.
This involves a lot of goofy stuff– highlighted by them rambling on about Girls even after the person they talked to admits they never watched it– and some real hilariousness in the reactions: After Glenn drops the code word “I’m not wearing any panties,” the immediate response from a parade-goer is “Oh, this is San Francisco, man. Half the people here aren’t wearing them.”
Morad reveals his mission for Glenn: Surreptitiously stick transmitters on several attendees of the protest (who are, of course, definitely antifa, which was definitely out in force at the Women’s March). It’s only after they’re far away and scattered that Morad reveals a detail he hadn’t before: Each transmitter is equipped with a small explosive device– “enough to give them heart attack.” And in what may end up being a defining moment for Who Is America?, Morad convinces Glenn to go ahead and press the button which will set off the transmitter and kill one of the people they’ve met.
“I feel a little queasy.” “You are so good at it, you are a natural.”
The end of this segment is remarkable for different reasons, as Glenn and Morad seem to be taking their pose as a couple to the next level, even when they’re alone back in the hotel room, watching Girls and being affectionate. Morad suggests Glenn should seriously think about coming to Israel and living with him, even volunteering that he’d leave his wife if he had to. Glenn seems genuinely conflicted by all of this; I’d almost feel bad for him obviously going through some confusion about this relationship with Morad (especially given his willingness to compliment other men and the depth thereof), but then, to his knowledge, he just killed someone in cold blood.
It’s a wild way for Who Is America? to end its season finale, perhaps even more stunning than some of the highly discussed segments like Jason Spencer.
OH, AND THEN WE CUT TO GIO IN LAS VEGAS AND HE’S GOT AN INTERVIEW WITH O.J. SIMPSON.
- “Thirty-seven percent of lesbian dress like Charlie Chaplin. Why, we don’t know.”
- “The terrifying thing about these liberals is, they are easy to manipulate into killers.”
- The O.J. Simpson segment is a stone-cold amazing capper to the episode. Not only does Gio’s girlfriend / personal assistant Christina only recognize O.J. from his murder trial, but Gio keeps insinuating or outright stating that O.J. killed his wife and that they have that in common. O.J. is willing to joke with him, but, having had decades of practice won’t outright state that he did in fact kill Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. (After all, the book is called If I Did It.)
- Even without the Sarah Palin segment, this episode was a winner, as the “antifa infiltration” took the Morad character to new heights, and getting O.J. Simpson was an astonishing capstone to the season.
- Episode 2 was the best of the season, and episode 6 the weakest, but beyond that, they’re tough for me to rank. I’d probably put 3, 4, and 7 pretty close as standout episodes, with 1 a touch ahead of 5 the rest of the way.
- Outside of episode 2 (because any episode where Dick Cheney autographing a waterboarding kit is only the third-best segment speaks for itself in quality): Kinder-Guardians, Quinceañera, Luxury Yacht Sales Company, OMGWhizzBoyOMG! and David Clarke, Infiltrating Antifa, O.J. Simpson.
- I still think the art gallery segment from episode 1 is underrated for its sheer comedy value. Not everything has to be making points or taking people down; sometimes sheer absurdity is hilarious.
- Erran Morad is the clear highlight of the season, but all the characters had their moments to shine and brought something special to the table. (The biggest disappointment might have been Billy Wayne Rudduck, simply because I love the concept but it was difficult to find people to indulge his inanity. Corey Lewandowski was a good get for that, though.)
- Thanks for reading along and participating in this season. It’s very rare we get a show like this, that’s both hilarious and feels vital, and I’m glad we were all able to discuss it together. Please, discuss your favorite segments, your favorite moments, your belief in the relevance of this show to our modern reality, etc.
- I’m taking a brief break from TV reviewing for now, but you might see me come back next week when It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns for season 13. (Unless I can pressure someone else into doing it.)