From the creators of the flamboyantly fabulous Viva Variety (and when will that be released on DVD?) comes Reno 911, Comedy Central’s most arresting comedy series. Ride along with the cluelessly cracked squad of the Wahoe County Sheriff’s Department, who cross the proverbial thin blue line with impunity. “That’s how we do it in Reno,” exults Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon), after absent-mindedly rear-ending a car whose trunk pops open to reveal a cache of marijuana. Reno 911! Miami The Movie has Cops’s gritty documentary feel, and Police Squad’s straight face in subverting cop show conventions. The hapless officers get no respect, not from the citizens they encounter, from their colleagues in the FBI, or even from themselves. Kerri Kenney-Silver’s unfortunate Det. Wiegel is the squad’s odd girl out. “She’s like a bad casserole” is one of the more polite things said about her. In one episode, a misunderstanding leads to her being put under a suicide watch, and she so loves the attention, she doesn’t bother to inform her brethren that she, in fact, did not try to kill herself. The forays into black comedy are about as subtle as a S.W.A.T. assault. In the first episode’s opening moments, an officer answers a domestic disturbance call with guns blazing, only to discover it is a surprise birthday party for him.
Comedy Central’s “Reno 911!”–a spoof of the police ride-along show “Cops”–takes a shot at stretching the concept into a feature-length film. Unusual for this misfit crew, the shot pretty much hits its intended target.
But Reno 911! Miami The Movie would have gotten old fast if it was just Police Academy-style mishaps and slapstick. What elevates this from being a one-joke series are the intimately observed characters’ quirks and personal dramas. Dangle has a penchant for short shorts, and, in the first episode at least, comely male traffic offenders. Dangle is not exactly Capt. Furillo (from Hill Street Blues) in the compassion department. When the squad learns that unwed Deputy C. Johnson (Wendy McLendon-Covey) is pregnant, he jokingly searches for a phone book when considering who the father might be. “There’s usually a phone book around here,” he shrugs. “It would have been funnier.” Comedy Central may be guilty of running these episodes into the ground, but for Reno 911’s devoted following, and for rookies to the force, this boxed set of commercial-free episodes, some commentary-enhanced, is just the ticket.
As you may have guessed, this is not high art. It might not qualify as low art. But it is 90 minutes or so during which people can put their brains on the shelf and enjoy a few laughs.
This was the funniest episode I’ve seen. Shaving Acapulco?! ROTFL!!! You just have to watch it to believe it. If you want to see, click here. (Must have Windows Media Player to watch the clip). If you like this type of comedy, I would urge you to get the DVD. THE DVD IS DUE FOR RELEASE ON 06/19/2007 – I HAVE ALREADY PRE-ORDERED IT. 😉