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|Index||49 reviews in total|
Network: Comedy Central; Genera: Comedy/Sketch; Content Rating: TV-14
(for strong language and sexual content; Classification: Contemporary
(Star range: 1 - 4)
Season Reviewed: 5 seasons
From the outset, a full-length parody of 'Cops' wouldn't sound like any groundbreaking comedy. With it's well known traditions and often copied style, 'Cops' has long been the subject of parody for years before arguably becoming a parody of itself. However, 'Reno 911!' does you one better. From Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kennedy and Ben Garant - the creators of 'The State' and the now forgiven and forgotten 'Viva Variety' - 'Reno' takes that 'Cops' mold (and 'Rescue 911!' title sequence) and populates it with a world of realized original characters.
In 'Reno' this comedy troupe has found a perfect cross between the improvisational sketch comedy series and the episodic televisions series. The show, as you might expect, is largely improved which can be good or bad (as seen in last year's disastrous 'Life with Bonnie'). The show's hit-and-miss laugh ratio is lower than it probably would be if it was scripted, but what we gain in the trade-off is this wonderful naturalistic dialog. The crew have an ear for recreating that often witty but just as often dull, monotonous and uncomfortable naturalistic conversation. If 'Reno' were any funnier it would be in the stratosphere. I love the opening title sequences.
The entire cast is note-perfect. We have straight-laced Jonsey (Cedric Yarbrough), Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), a racist, lonely, complex shell of a man, Clementine (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is the truck stop waitress turned cop "with a full dance card", Junior (Garant) is the incompetent, fully of stories, young cadet and Rainessha Williams (Niecy Nash) is the sassy, booty-licious femme-fetal cop. The show bounces all these characters off each other, matching them up in odd pairs and letting the nuances in them create the sparks. Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kennedy have given themselves the juiciest roles and approach brilliance in them. Kenney's Trudy Weigel is superbly dysfunctional beyond any simple description and Lennon's Jim Dangle is poised to be the breakout character of the show. Like Mr. Garrison in 'South Park' and Stewie Griffen on 'Family Guy', Dangle is a character than can get a laugh from me almost anytime he opens his mouth. It has a knack for creating scenarios where, in an odd way, the set-ups can be funnier than the punch line. Just the idea that Jim Dangle is going to show up to Trudy Weigel's house and "give her the thrill of her life" is funnier than ultimately seeing the Asian man she's hiding in her kitchen.
'Reno' knows its way around the 'Cops' traditions, making ample use of streakers with strategically placed edit blurs (also brilliantly hiding the faces of the cast doubling up), belligerent roadside pull-overs, hookers with bad wigs and crazy domestic disturbance calls that reveal fetishes best kept behind closed doors. But it also knows it needs to be more than that. The episode plots are as hilariously strange as it comes and veiled thinly enough to support any number of tangential gags. In one episode the group is put on suicide watch for Trudy Weigel and she flips out because they look disappointed she didn't go through with it. In another, they venture to the Burning Man festival and get lost along the way in full rave gear. In a particularly inspired episode they compete for 2 tickets to an execution with a suspect scavenger hunt.The bumbling officers get visits from the FBI, Homeland Security, British officers and in 2 classic episodes a religious tele-evangelist and Reading Ron (Brian Unger) featuring a show-stoppping bit with a cat on a roof. Watch continuously and you'll see running gags and continuity coming out in what otherwise seems like randomized chaos. These cops view enforcing the law as a happy side effect to the real joy of holding their power over the citizens of the burned-out Nevada suburb, abusing it gleefully and not above pulling guns on themselves.
'Reno 911!' was originally produced as a pilot for Fox and sat on the shelf for 2 years before Comedy Central came calling (and it became an almost instant hit). Sounds like something Fox would do. It's all for the best as 'Reno' on Comedy Central is given free range to do things every week that would have gotten them throw off the air at Fox. Jokes around rape, accidental shootings, cops planting evidence and screwing with the citizens (in a time when the media loves to put a wedge between cops and the people), red-necks & every racial demographic known to man, discussions on when it's appropriate to use the N-word, terrorists in the post-9/11 world (with the greatest of ease I might add, a subject most shows trip over themselves to run from) and everything else you might imagine would give a network suit a conniption fit are peppered well into the show. It enthusiastically leapfrogs from one set piece to the next in an attempt to offend anyone and everyone it can and getting big laughs with it.
I largely consider Comedy Central a dumping ground, but admire their drive to take chances - which is more than you can say for the networks. 'Reno' is a show that isn't crude for the sake of it or the edgy in appearance only. It is a gutsy, frequently hysterical series in which the gags are expertly delivered (and edited together) by a well developed cast of comic talents. A real screwball farce that roams freely around without politically correct borders or boundaries, the likes of which you just don't see much of on TV today. And you want, silly slapstick? 'Reno' proves that even the age-old kick-in-the-groin gag, if done well, can still be funny. An acquired taste, but well worth it.
* * * / 4
I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it.
As much as 'Cops' just begs for a parody, I'm surprised it took this long for somebody to come up with one. Maybe it's because 'Cops' is kind of a parody of itself; it's so pitifully funny on its own merits that it's hard to spoof.
I read that the show doesn't really follow a tight script; they set up the situation and let the performers ad-lib it. Maybe THAT's why it's actually funny: No Comedy Central 'writers' ruining it.
I don't know how long this show will last - funny as it is, it doesn't seem like the kind of thing that's going to go very far - but I've enjoyed every episode, so far (the Scavenger Hunt and trying to break the microwave oven are my favorites).
Funny. Comedy Central. Original.
For once, that's not an oxymoronic concept.
As much as I gripe about how rotten entertainment is, and my dislike of actors, it must be hard to know when filming footage to know if what you have is actually funny. Given the huge range of tones to comedy, how did they find actors who all knew how to do deadpan so well. The no-name ensemble are all amazing. They're ALL on the same page. No one is ruining things with cornball or mass-market line deliveries. Reno 911 could easily have been as stupid as most of TVs output. Instead it's a damned funny put-on. I was so grateful to find this series the week of the over-the-top, week-long, non-stop beatification of Ronnie Reagan. well-done!
This show is a laugh riot, It follows the exploits of a group of Sheriff's deputies on they're beats and on calls. like a parody of "Cops" this show has it all. drunk hicks and stoned losers. If you like this show I highly recommend you go to the video store and rent "Broken lizard's Super Troopers" it's like Reno 911! on the big screen.
This has to be the craziest comedy there is. Moreover, it is good fun. I eagerly anticipated another show from the bunch that brought us "The State" and "Viva Variety." Finally, the talent is back! Each week we get to follow members of the Reno Sheriff department as they investigate every weird kind of crime there is. However, it is the officers themselves that are the most deranged individuals out there. From the obviously gay Dangle to the equally worthless Junior. One of the great things is that each character is given a detailed and unique persona. Some are stupid, some are jerks, all are funny. These are outstanding improvs being given the freedom and comedic vehicle to be at their best. I eagerly await each new episode and will buy the DVD the day it is released. BRILLIANT!
What more can be said? A spoof of cops and it hits all the right
I've actually laughed out loud watching this TV show, and it's been a long
time since I've done that. I think the funniest thing is Deputy Garcia and
him being and racist and a bigot. I laughed so hard when he was explaining
his black eye to the guys he received from Deputy Jones.
Saying Halle Berry was half-black and half-pollack and making a reference to
programming VCR's was just priceless! Also when the kid on the bike went
over the ledge and the deputies high-tailing out of there was just so great!
There are so many others but I remember those two scenes best. I just can't
wait until it goes to DVD. I'll be buying it as soon as I
10 out of 10! A great show and cast!
A feeling of pride wells in me when I think of this show. I recall when
this show premiered in the Summer of 2003. I've watched a lot of Comedy
Central over the years,and I've sen a lot of shows come and go on that
channel,some good,some not-so-good. Outside of Chappelle Show(which
imploded under CC's unreasonable production demands after just threes
successful seasons),Win Ben Stein's Money(which was quietly shelved)and
The Man Show(which disassembled itself after five seasons),the network
has retained few shows it has rolled out since 1996,the year the Daily
Show was launched. But this show has survived,and the quality of the
product bears it out.
A film crew follows the round-the-clock gongs on of seven Reno,Nevada Sheriff's deputies: Lt.Dangle(Thomas Lennon),Deputies Jones(Cedric Yarborough),GArcia(Carlos Alozraqui,spelling?),Johnson(Wendi McLendon-Covey),Junior(Ben Garant),Weigel(Kerri Kinney-Silver) and YAtes(?)(Mary Birdsong),a la the FOX TV institutional hit "Cops". Of course,nearly all of these deps have little good sense about them,and all seem to have increasing difficulty conducting their jobs as enforcers of the law with each episode. Naturally,one hopes that the REAL Reno police is not nearly this incompetent.
The improv talents of each actor is SUPERB,and the camera-work and seamless "documentation" of the events unfolding make this comedy that one has to stay acutely attuned to. For me,that is the sign of a strong comedy that's willing to allow gags and plot lines to hang back and let the viewer come TO it,rather than vice-versa. And as per my previous favorable critiques of comedies,one of the more favorable qualities of it is this show's lack of a laugh track,which would be absolute poison to it(even more so than some more "conventional" sitcoms),anyway.
With this show most recently going to the big screen--and the jury's out on if I want to see Reno 911!:Miami--I feel pretty good about this show's status on CC(perhaps wrongly so). Still,with four seasons in the books,I'm glad CC invested in this hilarious,smart show.
This troupe is hilarious! I was a big fan of both "The State" and "Viva
Variety" (and let's not forget WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER), and so it's great
to see these guys bounce back from being unjustly cancelled twice
Not that "Reno 911" has the same complete cast as any of those cult hits. The new faces here are a scream - PC considerations be damned. The black woman with Hugh Jass and the blonde bimbo are a welcome addition to this group who knows funny, despite the mainstream's shunning of their previous efforts. I can't explain it, but the warped style of humor in their work speaks to me more than even, say, The Kids in the Hall. Unencumbered by political correctness, the ad-libbers here bring on comedic anarchy like no other. I mean, c'mon: the scavenger-hunt episode, with the winner producing a tattooed, 6' Jewish transvestite hooker? Genius, and all the more so without the safety net of a script. Comedy just doesn't get any better than this nowadays.
Yes, it's SUPER TROOPERS meets "Cops." Entertainment Weekly wasn't wrong when it stated this show is about a decade too late. But who cares? Comedy Central is where it's at, with this and the equally entertaining "Insomniac." These great series make up for "South Park" jumping the shark years ago.
This show is one of those that delivers what it says it going to. It
promises a comedy version of COPS and that is what you get. They make
of every COPS scenario and more.
One of the first lines is, "Okay, would it be appropriate to sa-say, "Whi-which nnigger took the last doughnut?" In response to the use of the word "nigger" in the station area and I almost p***ed my pants. The show just got better and better.
The promos for this show where perfect: Showed just enough of the funny stuff to make you want to watch it, but kept enough secret to surprise you. And the slogan, "From the network that has no business giving you a cop show." It was perfect.
With I'm with Busey and this as new shows on Comedy Central they really have a good thing going. Perhaps this is a redeeming year for them... who knows.
8/10... as close to perfect as Comedy Central ever got since South Park.
A great ensemble cast makes this "Cops" bust-ass show a treat to watch. I look forward to every new episode. Each character is well-defined and engagingly portrayed. The situations they find themselves in are always amusing, and not so far-fetched as to be unbelievable. It looks like the actors have a lot of fun with this show...the viewers sure do!
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