Sacha Baron Cohen's Who Is America? Is Also Coming For Bachelor Culture — But It Might Not Work

Photo: Allen Berezovsk/Getty Images.
On Sunday night's episode of Who Is America?, Corinne Olympios appeared, just long enough for you to remember who she was. If you forgot, Who Is America? will happily remind you that Olympios is the star and former villain of The Bachelor. She appeared on Nick Viall's season of the show in 2017 and successfully parlayed her time on the show into a semi-sustainable career as a reality star/celebrity entity. She recently released a line of lipsticks and she has her own podcast titled So Random. On Who Is America? Sacha Baron Cohen tricked Olympios into saying that she'd spent time in Sierra Leone helping "with Ebola." Baron Cohen, in disguise as eccentric Italian photographer Gio Madando, asked Olympios about her time as a philanthropist working to stop the Ebola crisis.
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"I was [in Sierra Leone] for about a month," Olympios told Baron Cohen, blatantly lying. (Earlier, she'd leaned over to the comedian and pointed out that she, erm, actually hadn't been to Sierra Leone.) Baron Cohen then spins a crazy story of Olympios meeting a "warlord" in Sierra Leone who recognised her. Olympios, obviously uncomfortable, plays along. She might even be in on the joke; she tells Baron Cohen that because the warlord recognised her — he was on his way to massacre a village — she saved 6,000 lives.
The kicker of Olympios' appearance is a fake charity trailer in which Olympios asks viewers to help a child in need — by helping them become child soldiers.
"When you launch a grenade, you launch a dream," Olympios says.
It's certainly entertaining, but it's maybe not that embarrassing for Olympios. She seems vaguely in on the joke during the segment, although she apparently was not. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the experience, Olympios claimed that producers sent her manager away and then ceased communicating with her. (She said all the of the producers, save for one who used to work on The Bachelor, either didn't speak English or pretended not to speak English.) After the ordeal, Olympios fell into despair.
"I started crying. I was like, 'No this is real!' I was crying, like, 'This is going to ruin me!' We tried calling back, we tried emailing – everything was blocked. The phone numbers, the emails [they gave us] — zero, kaput, done," she told EW.
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Now, though, she thinks it's all kind of funny. She added, "[Sacha Baron Cohen is] funny, he’s a very well known name, and you’ve just gotta ride with it. Yolo!"
Maybe the filming was embarrassing, but Olympios doesn't seem embarrassed now, which almost defeats the purpose of her appearance. Who Is America? uses humiliation, in an ideal situation, to create change. In the same episode, Baron Cohen got Georgia representative Jason Spencer — best known for threatening his Black female colleague on Facebook and introducing a potential "burqa ban" — to yell a racial slur and bare his buttocks. Following the episode's airing, Georgia republicans are calling for Spencer's resignation. Spencer has decided to seek legal council in light of it all, and he may very well resign.
Now, compare that to Olympios, who, in the same breath, happily told EW about her new line of lipsticks now available for purchase. Who Is America? can do a lot of things for America but Bachelor Nation is a more formidable foe. During Olympios' segment on the show, a Bachelor producer was present, encouraging her. Her appearance wasn't all that different from an episode of The Bachelor. (Olympios was known for her soundbites on the show, one of which contained a line about her "platinum vagine.") Olympios is accustomed to blending humiliation and humour for television. So, here, she's redundant. Why send in the clowns when you could just send in the Republican lawmakers?
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