I remember as a kid I loved jar jar. Thought he was cool. Really fun. I was 8 tho and they marketed him heavily to the kids. I remember seeing him everywhere like he was the main character. got so many jar jar toys. Was even jar jar for Halloween. Yea idk what I was thinking. I look back and he was such a dumb character who would have been cool if Lucas just stuck to his “rumored” plan of making him the phantom menace Sith Lord. Would have been absolutely earth shattering but I guess he was just some idiot frog man
The Phantom Menace, including Jar Jar Binks, takes on an entirely different kind of impact once you've seen Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress.
If you haven't seen Hidden Fortress that IMHO, that's a good place to start to unpack what Lucas was trying to do. I don't think he hit the mark he intended, but Hidden Fortress illuminates the roadmap involved in the attempt.
Something interesting outside of Star Wars is Chuck Lorre, when writing for The Big Bang Theory, inserted in a short scene with the Penny character doing a commercial. She was supposed to be a struggling actress on the show. Lorre was interviewed somewhere and said it was just completely unreasonable for Penny to never get any kind of acting work and stay in that area. It's just not plausible. In effect, he had to "ground" the character in some kind of functional reality.
You'll see it in other shows. Flanders in The Simpsons, or Boyle in Brooklyn 99 or Drax in GOTG, characters that ride so far into ridiculousness, that it cracks open basic suspension of disbelief.
Jar Jar Binks was not as much of a horrible character decision ( but it had huge problems) as much as it was also poorly executed. He needed another Gungan as a foil. A contrast to show that Gungans weren't just dumb animals/aliens. Also the decision to make his dialogue almost incomprehensible was another insane choice. Then Lucas didn't establish how Jar Jar could be useful to that world. You can be dumb, but if you want some semblance of realism in the character, he can't be constantly stupid all the time.
If you replaced Jar Jar Binks with two Hammerhead aliens, who had clearly established kind of jobs/careers in that universe, and at least one looked somewhat competent, then that would have worked better to drive the story forward.
Kurosawa was big on characters not being what the audience perceived of them from the start. But he never took it too far over the edge. His characters were playing the role of foolish, but not totally incompetent. Jar Jar Binks was totally incompetent.
In effect, Lucas gave everyone the floppy eared version of Boyle from Brooklyn 99 and made him a major character. Of course a large share of the audience was going to hate Jar Jar Binks.
Phantom Menace has many of the raw components of an actual good movie in there. It's just saddled down by a situation where no one could tell Lucas that his ideas needed more work.