I love Borat. I’ve enjoyed all of Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters on Ali-G for years. However, I’m getting a bit sick of all the Borat stuff I’ve seen on Digg, YouTube, etc. There is a limited set of jokes in Borat’s repertoire and I’m beginning to grow tired of the same lines over and over again (just different contexts). It seems like a case of “too much of a good thing” and it reminds me of what happened with Mike Meyer’s Austin Powers back in 1999.
In ’97 I saw the first Austin Powers and thought it was a truly original, funny film. But as the character’s popularity grew, it became sickeningly over-commercialized. Everybody started reducing the character to a few “one liners”. The Heineken commercial was the straw for me.
If you look at the recently Dugg (yet another) Borat video, you’ll see it’s actually put out by TMZ/AOL and feels a lot like “hey, isn’t this cool? but first, watch a candy bar commercial” No, it was cool when the character was genuine. The brilliance of Borat was his disarming, awkward personality, offensive language, AND the responses he would get from his interviewees. He was a disarming character who brought out people’s bigotry, ignorance, and the like – that was funny. It was funny partly because it was sad – it was humor interspersed with social commentary.
Now that the Borat movie is out, it seems like he has become the commercial whore that Austin Powers became back in 1999 and even more so in 2002. I don’t want to come across like a snob – if more people see Borat and it makes them laugh – great. It’s just that to an old fan like myself – a certain innocence has been lost forever. I once dressed up as Borat on Halloween, but now that everyone will be doing it (I’m sure), it’s just not the same. I can’t blame things for getting over-commercialized but once people reduce a character to “hey, say that one tagline everyone knows, ” the character loses its edginess. And I like edginess.