Comedy Central // 2007 // 154 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 27th, 2007
I really like this show. At times, Reno 911! hits some righteous comic highs and gets me bellowing aloud for all to hear. It's a gag-a-minute COPS take-off, a platter of quick set-ups and skits, helmed by the hapless Reno SheriffÂ's department. Because of its rapid-fire format, some jokes, of course, tank, but the ratio of funny-to-not-funny works in Reno's favor.
The series is an improv-heavy, ensemble comedy, headlined by Deputies Jones (Cedric Yarbrough), Williams (Niecy Nash), Junior (Ben Garant), Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Weigel (Kerri Kenney), Kimball (Mary Birdson) and Lieutenant Dangle (Thomas Lennon). Each character has a personality quirk (e.g. Jones sleeps with anything that moves, Weigel is psychotic, Garcia's a racist rage-a-holic), but all are clueless when it comes to policing. The gimmick is actually a fertile joke landscape, and the talent charged with bringing the funny on, for the most part, succeeds.
That being said, the purpose of this disc is lost on me. (Okay, I'm not that naïve, Comedy Central is milking a hit series and trying to make some coin as well as hype up the upcoming theatrical release Reno 911! Miami.) Other than offering someone a sampling of the episodes cheaper than full-season sets, this Most Wanted set serves very little purpose. The seven shows tagged as "very best" to earn entry into the compilation are all good, though not much better than their brethren. To me, they're just seven random shows:
* "Scavenger Hunt"
To win tickets to an execution, the deputies participate in a cross-town arrest scavenger hunt.
* "Homeland Security (Parts 1 and 2)"
Oscar Nunez of The Office guest-stars as a training specialist from Homeland Security tasked with teaching the Reno deputies in anti-terrorism tactics.
* "Revered Gigg LeCarp"
The Sheriff's Department is thrilled to have the esteemed televangelist Gigg LeCarp broadcasting one of his spiritually uplifting programs from the precinct.
* "Officer Smiley"
When a British officer comes over to Reno for a professional visit, the gang's conceptions of cute, harmless Europeans are shattered.
* "Reading Ron"
Renowned kids show host Reading Ron broadcasts a very special show for his young viewers, tagging along with the Reno deputies. Unfortunately, he is unable to secure any usable footage.
* "Rick from Citizen's Patrol"
The sheriff's department is frustrated with the meddling of do-gooder Citizen's Patrol volunteer Rick (Paul Reubens).
As I said, good episodes. "Scavenger Hunt," "Reading Ron" and "Officer Smiley" are especially funny and feature some all-time gags (the cat incident in "Reading Ron" is spectacular). The show handles guest stars especially well, as exhibited in the majority of these episodes. The characters are memorable and represent the only semblance of a continuous narrative in the individual episodes.
So, is this set worth picking up? The only audience I can think of that would be interested would be non-committal passersby, hesitant on pulling the trigger for the full seasons sets. For Reno devotees, there isn't anything on this disc that you haven't seen.
The compilation preserves the full frame, 2.0 stereo treatment from the season releases and only two extra accompany: a 14-minute hodgepodge of scenes called "The Deputies Favorite Calls" and the underwhelming live musical performance of "Don't Steal Cable."
Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 154 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* The Deputies' Favorite Calls
* "Don't Steal the Cable" Live Performance