While some sketch shows like The Ben Stiller Show and Mr. Show have managed to touch on the Cops parody with their material, the only one that does it regularly now is a show that uses it for inspiration.
In Reno 911!, produced and aired on Comedy Central, the show focuses on a group of police in the sleepy Nevada town doing what they can to keep law and order. You’ve got Lieutenant Dangle (Thomas Lennon, The State), a bicycle cop who perpetually wears h…t pants, Deputy Jones (Cedric Yarbrough, Meet the Fockers), probably the guy who best looks the part of a menacing cop, Deputy Williams (Niecy Nash, Malibu’s Most Wanted), who has no bones about being the only black woman on the force, and Deputy Johnson (Wendi McLendon Covey, Bewitched), the blonde haired, big chested female member of the force. Lennon, who helped create the show, also brought a couple of members of his State alumni with him, Kerri Kenney-Silver (who plays Deputy Weigel) and Robert Ben Garant (who plays Deputy Travis).
Much like the show it’s inspired by, Reno 911! contains episodes that are standalone and don’t really focus on any continuing character development, but primarily on isolated events in characters’ lives along with the occasional arrest, of course. Some of the arrests are pretty funny, but they are definitely in the “dark humor” category. You don’t need to look any further than the first episode (when a dog is shot) to know whether you’re going to like it or not. However, the episodes appear to have a fair amount of improvisation working for them and perhaps as a result, many watch and enjoy the show, and to tie in with the third season’s worth of shows, Comedy Central has released the second season on DVD.
Even for a TV show, the audio on the series is pretty muted. Sometimes the music bumps will take you by surprise. And that unevenness is a little surprising.
Full frame viewing is the case here, and everything looks good, considering that it’s almost entirely shot with handheld cameras.
Comedy Central loads the extras on this set. There is episode commentary on four of the episodes with the cast, and they share the usual behind-the-scenes material while bringing up funny things while watching the show. There’s an HBO Comedy special included, along with deleted/extended scenes that run for about 90 minutes, most of which are pretty funny.
For a long time, I thought Reno 911! was the thing that had commercials repeatedly air while I was watching South Park. When I got over that, I noticed that it’s not a bad show by the ha-ha channel. It’s got some laugh out loud moments, and there are enough extras on the DVD to make it an easy choice to pick up for fans of the show.
Special Features List
- Selected Episode Commentary
- Deleted/Extended Scenes
- HBO Comedy Festival Highlights
- Comedy Central Previews