Who Is America?

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Who Is America? TV Poster Image
Sacha Baron Cohen's return mixes politics and poop jokes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show is almost entirely satire, so there aren't a lot of positive messages, unless you count some guests' superhuman patience with Cohen's characters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You have to squint to find the positive role models, because Cohen is constantly attempting to undermine his guests, but the way some people deal with his provocations is admirable. Some may consider Cohen a role model for exposing frauds using his particular set of tools, but the way he goes about it isn't everyone's cup of tea. 

Violence

Each episode is a mixed bag based on the guests, but examples include segments where politicians advocate for arming preschoolers with automatic weapons. 

Sex

In an anything-goes show like this, sex and sexual situations can come up at any time. In the first episode, it's limited to jokes like "it's not rape if you're married." 

Language

Cohen uses a wide variety of profanity and other provocative language: "s--t," "piss," "cum," and "f--k," for starters.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's no drinking, drugs, or smoking shown early on, but viewers should be ready for anything and everything from Cohen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Who Is America? is an interview show hosted by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Da Ali G Show) that divides its time between sharp political satire and scatological humor. Viewers should be prepared for absolutely anything: profanity, nudity, sex acts, drinking, drugs -- all have been a part of Cohen's comedic arsenal in the past. Language includes "s--t," "piss," and "f--k," and segments often involve tricking the interviewees in various ways. Teenagers will be drawn to the four broad characters Cohen plays as "hosts," but they may not be able (or willing) to pull out the satire from the silliness.

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What's the story?

WHO IS AMERICA is an interview show where comedian Sacha Baron Cohen plays four different journalists in each episode: a right-wing conspiracy theorist, a liberal activist, an ex-convict artist, and an Israeli military officer. Each character conducts interviews with guests ranging from politicians to art gallery owners, trying to get responses to Cohen's broad characterizations of these stereotypes without letting his subjects in on the joke.

Is it any good?

While he's clearly trying to repeat past successes like Da Ali G Show, which deftly straddled a comedic line between politics and entertainment, Cohen's shtick sadly peaked more than a decade ago. Because of this, Who Is America? understandably feels a little dated, like watching third-tier Daily Show sketches. Many times, he's just pushing his guests to see if they break, like the art gallery owner whose portrait he paints using feces and other bodily fluids. But occasionally, Cohen strikes gold, like he does with the already-infamous fake commercial where congressmen advocate a program where preschool children are given firearms. For fans of his style, this is more of the same, but for those on the fence, it's not as compelling as his earlier stuff.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how satire works. What does a show like Who Is America? hope to achieve, and how does Cohen go about achieving it? Are his sketches purely for laughs or is there a deeper meaning in each one?

  • Cohen plays four different characters on each episode of the show. What are the differences between these characters and how does each character interact with the guests? What is each character's belief system and how does it reveal itself during interviews?

  • Who is America? What does the show have to say about the titular question? Why would the show choose this name? Does it have an opinion? If so, what is it?

TV details

For kids who love satire

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