Reno 911: Season 5
No one would dispute that the men and women who choose to become polices are a breed above the common throng. They put their lives on the line to serve and protect the people in their city. This being said there is one fictional police force that does far more harm than good, the officers in ‘Reno 911’. This series is now among the most popular in the Comedy Central’s line up of original programming. It started out its life as a satire of the Fox mega hit, ‘Cops’. The premise is simple, have a film crew follow regular police officers on their daily routine. Since there was some innate humor contained in ‘Cops’ it was only a matter of time until the writers over at Comedy Central would twist this into one of the most imaginative and off beat shows on television today. It is raunchy with a lot of the dialogue bleeped out but here in the fifth season DVD the episodes are presented uncensored. Now all of this may sound strange and it you have never seen the show it may be difficult to see how watching a group of misfit cops could be funny. Looking at bumbling cops has been around since the Keystone Cops back in the silent film days. It might seem that this has been overdone but this is one of the freshest series on cable. It is not family entertainment that is for sure. But if more adult humor then this might just be the right show for you. The fifth season is now on DVD and it is hysterical. At this point the cast and crew have the comedy down to an art form,
What makes this series work as well as it does is the creative team on both sides of the camera. These are all people who care about the craft of making people laugh and have proven they will go the extra mile to achieve that goal. The team of people who created this series is a cut above the usual studio oriented writers. Robert Ben Garant became noticed by many with his work on the MTV sketch comedy series ‘The State’. Many of the cast members of that troupe followed over to ‘Reno 911’. His film scripts have met with uneven reviews and include ‘Night at the Museum’, ‘Taxi’ ‘Balls of Fury’ and ‘Herbie Fully Loaded’. At least he has a track record with off the wall humor. He appears on screen here as the character Deputy Travis Junior. Thomas Lennon is another ‘State’ alumnus who has worked with Garant on most of his projects. He has an extensive resume in front of the camera mostly as a character actor. His on screen persona is Lieutenant Jim Dangle. The last but certainly not least in the creator team is Kerry Kenney-Silver. She was also in the ‘State’ and had a fewer writing credits than her partners but makes up for it with screen time in many films and television. Here she plays the role of Deputy Trudy Wiegel. There is an ease in their working together that translates to the audience believing that their characters go back a long way together. This just makes the foundation real which is the basis for great comedy. As writers of the series all they do is set up the basic premise for the episode at hand. Most of the dialogue and action is from the incredibly fertile comic minds of the cast. They improvise most of what is said always staying perfectly in character.
The police officers depicted in ‘Reno 911’ are the most rag tag, motley crew imaginable. If there is a choice between depending on their help or facing an armed gunman on your own you would be better off taking your chances alone against the gunman. Leading this group of bumbling morons is Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon). He is a strange sort of man who is always in his trademark hot pants. He claims it is to allow him more freedom of movement but they are embarrassingly short. He does seem to have attractions towards men but was married to a woman. He appears oddly at ease when wearing leather outfits. Deputy Jones (Cedric Yarbrough) is usually called Jonesy. Jonesy is a tall, well built African American man who likes to think he has a way with the ladies. Deputy Trudy Wiegel (Kerry Kenney-Silver) is the oddest of this strange bunch. She is neurotic, a hypochondriac and starts out season five after given birth to a child of dubious fatherhood. She sells the child in this season. Deputy James Garcia Carlos Alazraqui) is a Mexican American with a wide racist streak which rivals his misogyny as a major character fault. By this season there is some evidence that he is either gay or bisexual. Deputy Clementine Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is a voluptuous blonde who looks like she would be more at home tending a cheap bar than on the force. She always wears her uniform shirt unbuttoned at the top showing a lot of cleavage. She is open about all the men she has taken to her bed over the years. Deputy Travis Junior (Robert Ben Garant) is the beer guzzling red neck of the group. He is always seen with his sunglasses and bullet proof vest on. Deputy Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash) is a loud, over opinionated black woman. She is typically friendly with her co-workers and in this season even helped Dangle hide his homosexuality when his father came to town. The newest member of the troupe joining in season three is Deputy Cheresa Kimball (Mary Birdsong). She tries to be tough but usually things backfire.
This season picks up were the last one left off. Dangle and his groom are arrested during their same sex marriage. He is out of the county jail in time for the first morning briefing of the season. During the season they come across the usual myriad of bizarre characters including a fast talking street person with every conceivable badge trying to pass himself off as a FBI agent. There are some regular law breakers like Terry (Nick Swardson) who seems very gay with shorts and roller skates but here seems to have a girlfriend, although they don’t have sex. There are running story lines here such as the resolution of Trudy’s baby and the paternity but mostly there is just one call after another where the officers mess things up and run away.
The episodes are presented without bleeping out the ‘naughty’ words. There is also uncensored nudity here which is especially noticeable when the officers have to enforce a new rule in the strip clubs. Comedy Central does have the habit of playing episodes of many of their shows with the language restored but with nudity covered by a black box with 'DVD Only' on it. Here, true to their word nothing is held back. There are several commentaries provided for selected episodes. The cast really knows how to entertain during them. It is mostly just talking to each other revealing some of the behind the scenes mayhem that is common on the set. This is an extremely funny show and it will make you laugh out loud so get it and enjoy.