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June 13, 2004

"Reno 911!" Back on the beat

by Alex Mazerov, Page Editor
The bungling men and women of the Washoe County Sheriff's Department are back on the beat in the "Biggest Little City in the World." "Reno 911!," Comedy Central's perverse, largely ad-libbed "Cops" knock-off returns for its sophomore season with a side-splitting episode that proves this show is too funny for words.
The cast of "Reno 911!"
<i>Courtesy of</i>
The cast of "Reno 911!" Courtesy of

Viewers sometimes "ride shotgun with the Reno Sheriff's Department" with a static camera angle from the squad car's dash. The show frequently takes the audience on rides to dingy trailer parks and shady back alleys, some of the prime stomping grounds of "Cops."

The new season kicks off as Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) announces that he's been promoted and reassigned to Carson City. The booty short-wearing leader makes attendance at his goodbye dinner mandatory, infuriating the deputies who hold tickets to a big women's college basketball game. Dangle's fruitless attempt at the party to lead his subordinates in a verse of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" is amusing in its awkwardness, as the deputies are all distracted by the coverage of the game on a big screen in the restaurant's bar. Later in the evening, the officers spot Deputy S. "Jonesy" Jones (Cedric Yarbrough), an absent "invited" guest, in shots of the crowd, shirtless and sporting a blue Afro wig.

In a one-on-one scene with the camera (à la "Survivor"), Deputy Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney-Silver) says of Lt. Dangle's promotion, "There are women who prance around in these flitty, flirty little skirts and show their legs, and they get promoted day two. Poor Jim has been here a long time in those plum smugglers and he's about due."

A great moment comes when the doltish Dangle visits Deputy Weigel with a bouquet of flowers, "a little charity sugar," as he calls it, only to find she already has a guest, an Asian 60-something man stripped down to his underwear. The lieutenant promptly leaves, slamming the screen door behind him. A few steps down the walk and he finds his police-issue bicycle, which he had locked to a nearby fence, gone. The thievery of Dangle's bike was one of last season's best clichés. After realizing he had been victimized, Dangle could be always be found running around aimlessly in circles, spewing profanities to the tone of "Oh, [bleep]. [Bleep] me." But this time he shrugs it off, declaring only, "I don't [bleep]ing care."

Another of the first season's common occurrences: Deputy Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash) staring straight into the camera, quipping, "White people are crazy. Y'all hear me?"

The premier serves up plenty more hoots, many of which are just too explicit, vulgar, racially-charged or politically incorrect to be written in a high school review. But the show is so outrageous and over-the-top that all these cheap laughs are definitely worth the cost of stooping, for many, to a new TV-viewing low for just a half hour.

"Reno," filmed in the same vérité style as its true crime other half, showcases the shaky camerawork, ominous bleep sound, and pixelated faces, midsections (front and back) and middle fingers that "Cops" watchers are accustomed to.

But the real uproariousness of this comedy doesn't stem from the "Cops" stereotypes the show spoofs; it comes from the seven outrageous and outlandish deputies the show follows around the city on domestic dispute calls, traffic stops, drug busts and prostitution stings. From the ostensibly homosexual Lt. Dangle to the hapless, pathologically oblivious Deputy Weigel, to the sista-with-an-attitude Deputy Williams, Reno's finest offer up almost constant laughs, no matter how lowbrow or bawdy they might be.

Original episodes of "Reno 911!" air Wednesday nights at 10:30 on Comedy Central.

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  • soph on June 13, 2004
    reno911 is so wildly vulgar sometimes that i wonder if it should be reviewed in a school newspaper.
  • Jackie H on June 15, 2004
    To 'soph'
    So is war, geez.

    Anyway, Reno 911 is so funny. Raineesha is so funny.
  • Emma Zachurski on June 16, 2004
    Reno 911 is brilliance.
  • confused and worried on June 21, 2004
    I can't believe there are actually people out there who can see even an iota of humor in Reno 911. I guess I will no longer be able to read another of your articles, Mr. Mazerov, without vomiting in disgust.
  • soph on July 24, 2004
    i repent. reno911 _is_ hilarious.
  • chapelles fan on September 9, 2004
    Thank you confused and worried reno 911 is not funny at all i dont see a point in watching it id rather watch chappelles show which is much funnier!
  • khira (View Email) on September 13, 2004
    Reno 911 is extremly funny...and how can i resist missing an episode of J.Dangle in those booty tight shorts of his!!!!!!!! those are sexy!!!!!!!
  • X6GtcChkX (View Email) on August 25, 2005 at 11:35 PM
    Somehow I managed to stumble here, mainly by random clicking. I have to say I love your artical and Reno 911.
  • randy anderson (View Email) on September 9, 2005 at 4:14 AM
    will reno 911 have a 4th season
  • Buttermaker (View Email) on June 14, 2006 at 10:08 AM
    There needs to be a 4th Season...Comedy Central should not dump something sooo good...I mean its not our fault poeple like Dave Chapelle run away to africa. lol.
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