An irreverent look at what goes on behind-the-scenes in the city of Reno’s police department.


“Reno 911″ remains one of my favorite shows of the last decade. I know that taking favor with a show that doesn’t appeal to the critical elite often draws a suspicious eye, but it is what it is. A loving tribute to our desire to force reality television cameras where they might not belong. This time, it’s a podunk town in Nevada where the incompetent cops are treating their duty more as a summer job where they get live ammo. Then, there is the roller skating magic that is Terry. Nick Swardson will spend a lifetime living down that role.

Unlike its Comedy Central companions, the transcendent Reno 911 doesn’t fall on references to the week’s banner headlines to incite laughter, preferring the removed, deadpan style of Christopher Guest mockumentaries to lay bare the many absurdities of reality TV and local criminal enforcement. The marketing pitch is so simple: a Cops-style parody about eight incompetent police officers patrolling one of the country’s most seemingly pathetic corners. But it’s flabbergasting what the show gets away with by sheer force of ridiculousness.

Among the colorful characters played by brilliant no-names is the flamboyantly gay Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon), who fought state policy to add short shorts to his uniform; the suicidal Deputy Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney); and Deputy Travis Junior (an unpredictable, hilarious Ben Garant), a mustached hick who mail-orders an Asian wife and covets a contested pair of tickets to an execution (it’s “like getting two tickets to NASCAR, except you know Jeff Gordon’s gonna die”). The show’s sketches and impressive improvisation are riotous and outrageous but nevertheless cleverly informed by the retardation of American culture.

The DVD Complete Series Compilation sports a similar setup to past season releases. There’s a ton of outtakes that haven’t been featured on television or any other release. There’s some featurettes about the new cast members and the series creation. Then, there’s audio commentaries that never are quite as entertaining as the show. Basically, if you own all of the past season releases, there’s not much new here. For those that don’t own them already, I’d recommend a purchase.

RELEASE DATE: 11/04/2014

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