Judge David Johnson works as a volunteer deputy on the weekend. Alas, he's hopelessly corrupt.
"I'm going to beat the living crap out of you!"
Comedy Central's raucous version of COPS returns for its sixth tour of duty and big changes are afoot.
Facts of the Case
When Season 5 wrapped, our heroic Reno sheriff's deputies were piled on a float which crashed into a taco stand and exploded. Season 6 picks up with very little explanation of what happened. The makeup of the cast, however, has changed drastically. Gone from the picture are Deputies Kimball (Mary Birdsong), Johnson (Wendy McLendon-Covey), and Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), replaced by Deputy Rizzo (Joe LoTruglio, Role Models) and Sergeant Declan (Ian Roberts, Upright Citizens Brigade).
The new-look sheriff's department faces all manner of life-or-death law enforcement challenges, like Secret Santa deliberations, a murder mystery dinner gone wrong, an elderly swingers party, and a drugged-out traveling production company of Jesus Christ Superstar.
This series floats my boat. Essentially an arrangement of improv sketches set in the world of law enforcement, the show (seemingly limited by its gimmick) has found a way to consistently pump out funny stuff since 2003. Like any sketch show, there are bits that flounder, but even in its sixth iteration Reno 911! continues to deliver.
I laughed plenty through all 15 episodes. There was an uncertainty to the massive shakeup the ensemble went through—bidding farewell to three regulars, two of whom had been there since the beginning—but the change was relatively seamless and I dug the new additions. It doesn't hurt that the new officers are instantly recognizable to fans of television improv.
Ian Roberts is one of the heavy-hitters from the Upright Citizens Brigade, a veteran improv guy and the hyper-literal doctor from Arrested Development. As Declan, he's packed on some serious weight, making him almost unrecognizable. The look fits with the personality of the character though, a boorish macho jackass prone to spontaneous heart attacks. His counterpart is the excellent Joe LoTruglio, hilarious on The State and legendary in Role Models as the ultimate live-action roleplayer. Deputy Rizzo isn't a fully fleshed-out character yet, but certainly fits in well with the overall idiocy of the precinct. I look forward to more stuff with these guys in the future.
Joining them are the usual suspects, Dangle (Thomas Lennon), Junior (Robert Ben Garant), Wiegel (Kerri Kenney-Silver), Jones (Cedric Yarbrough), and Williams (Neicy Nash). It's a solid core, though the screen time for Wiegel, Jones, and Williams has diminished. There's a lot more stuff featuring Lennon and Garant—which isn't a bad thing, since they're two of the funniest dudes in the ensemble—but the lowered exposure of the others is a mite jarring. Oh well. I guess being an executive producer has its privileges.
Another solid set from Comedy Central. The 15 episodes, spread over two discs, look fine in their 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, supplemented with an up-to-snuff 2.0 stereo mix. Extras are lean, highlighted by the usually entertaining, select episode commentary from the cast. The rest: two "Profiles in Valor" segments on Rizzo and Declan, plus a load of deleted and extended scenes.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Noticeably absent from this season are the goofy cliffhanger endings, a trademark of the series. Also, this being the uncensored version of the show, expect a lot of f-bombs.
Maybe it's slowed a step or two, but Reno 911! is still funny and that's what counts.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
• Episode Commentaries
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