Judge David Johnson had no idea how fast he was going, officer. He was coked out of his skull.
Our reviews of Reno 911! The Complete First Season (published July 19th, 2004), Reno 911! The Complete Second Season (published July 6th, 2005), Reno 911! The Complete Fourth Season (published June 20th, 2007), and Reno 911! The Complete Fifth Season (published July 16th, 2008) are also available.
"Yeah, monkey jizz!"
The most dysfunctional band of law enforcement agents have returned for their third season of misadventures, public nudity and collateral damage. You have the right to remain laughing. See what I did, there, made a wordplay on something cops says and added "laughing" to it, to signify this is a comedy set I'm reviewing? Pretty clever, if I do say so myself.
Facts of the Case
When we last left the members of Reno sheriff's department in season two, they had been fired from their jobs and incarcerated for a series of infractions, including a connection to the vehicular homicide of a milkshake man. This season opens with them rotting away in prison. As luck would have it, the prosecuting D.A. turned out to be a serial killer, and all the charges against them were dropped. So back into the field these @#$%-ups go.
• Lieutenant Dangle (Thomas Lennon): The leader of this crew, Dangle is known for his tendency to lose department-issued bicycles and his sexually ambiguous behavior.
• Deputy Jones (Cedric Yarbrough): He's the self-stylized stud, always willing to work the ladies, and confident that he is the man, no matter how many times he screams like a girl in a car accident.
• Deputy Williams (Niecy Nash): Sassy and opinionated, Williams never shies away from telling it like it is. Has a humongous butt.
• Deputy Johnson (Wendy McLendon-Covey): The department skank.
• Deputy Junior (Robert Ben Garant): Always clad in shades, Junior is straight-up white trash, and is frequently the officer found on the ground naked and unconscious.
• Deputy Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui): Garcia is the temperamental, slightly-racist, piss-your-coworkers-off character who talks a mean game but rarely knows what he's doing.
• Deputy Wiegel (Kerry Kenney-Silver): Trudy is a manic depressive, emotionally damaged sociopath, currently involved in a long-running relationship with a convicted serial killer. And the gosh-darn funniest character on the show!
• Deputy Kimball (Mary Birdsong): The new recruit. But what secrets lie within her heart?
This is a great show, and one of my favorite comedies currently on the air (though since my wife and I hiked up our belts, we trimmed our cable package down to now we don't get Comedy Central anyway; oh well, that's why I work here). I love the vignette, improv-based comedy the show is grounded on, and the cast members use their wits deftly. While not all the jokes hit, big deal. That's the way it is with all other comedies. Simply put, Reno 911! has a great funny-to-not-funny joke ratio, and this third season has proven to be exceptionally strong.
Season Two was fine, but, in my opinion, not as money as the first. But the cast and writers must have eaten their Wheaties this go-round because this season is the funniest yet. Which is slightly perplexing because you'd think there might be a finite amount of gags you can do while spoofing COPS but over and over again, this show did something new and made me laugh, often quite hard. Thankfully, they've reduced their reliance on the typical, go-to gag of incessant chasing and screaming with deranged criminals, and focused more on punch-line-focused jokes and physical humor (the latter is dominated by Garant in some truly hilarious set-ups).
For those unfamiliar with the formula, amidst the random bits and mockery is a cohesive story that threads through each episode. In this season, Dangle meets a kid that could be his son, Clemmy tries to marry a dead millionaire, Jones lets his fame as a radio voice-over talent get the best of him, the squad is tasked with security detail for the cast of C.S.I., Fast Eddie McClintock menaces the precinct with his amazing driving skills, Liberace's piano needs guarding and a new deputy is added to the roster.
This last storyline brings us newest cast member Mary Birdsong as Deputy Cheresa Kimball. I'm not really sold on the necessity of adding a new cast member. Nothing against Birdsong, who's cute and charismatic, but her character has yet to be well-defined. Kimball's of course a moron like everyone else, but what kind of moron? I don't know. As of now, she just seems to be filler, though there was some jibber-jabber about her sexual orientation toward the end of the season, which, if assigned to her as her "gimmick" would suck. Dangle's laid claim to that territory already. But, we'll see what Season Four has in store for the rookie. Maybe I'm too hard on the new recruit. Or maybe I'm just pissed that The State-alum Ken Marino didn't land the gig.
Overall, there is lots of funny to be had here. The jokes are better, the cast is jiving as good as ever, Wiegel is crazier, Jones is smoother, Dangle is even more off-putting, and there are more explosions, car wrecks, and envelope-pushing sight gags (Junior drops a cat into an air conditioner) than can be found in any other cable series. Fans of ADHD comedy, improv and inappropriate cruelty-to-animals jokes need to give this series a stakeout.
Full frame and 2.0 stereo is the norm, and Comedy Central succeeded in producing an attractive visual presentation. Extras include select episode commentaries with the cast and crew, which are very funny (Nash really gives it to Kenney-Silver and her "13-year old" breasts) and some amusing bonus outtake footage. Decent package all around.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
These discs feature the show in its uncensored format. Be warned: there is a lot of profanity. The blurring is intact though. Thank God.
This show is great, and repeated viewings of episodes are mandated to catch all of the jokes. The third season manages to avoid slipping into a tired rut, and injecting what could have been a one-joke, one-season concept, with a jolt of wit and perversion.
Not guilty. Now let me tell you what you can do with your nightstick.
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Scales of Justice
• Cast and Crew Commentary on Select Episodes
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