Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 2, 2007)
With a Reno 911! movie now on the screens, I figured I should finally check out the Comedy Central series that inspired it. Though my friend Kevin has raved about the show for years, I never felt compelled to give it a shot. Between the feature flick and the arrival of a “greatest hits” DVD called Reno’s Most Wanted Uncensored, the time seemed ripe.
Most Wanted packages seven episodes of the series. I’ll view these in the order presented on the DVD. The synopses come straight from the DVD packaging.
Scavenger Hunt: “When the Sheriff’s Department is given only two tickets to the upcoming execution, the officers compete in a scavenger hunt to win a spot at the event.”
My introduction to Reno 911! starts well via the very funny “Hunt”. I feared the connection to the execution might render the episode too crass, but that element is really just an excuse for the officers’ antics. We find some amusingly bizarre perps that the folks need to find and these gags add up to a solid show.
Homeland Security Parts 1 and 2: “The Office of Homeland Security comes to Reno to teach the Sheriff’s Department protocol in case of a terrorist attack.”
Wow – a two-parter! As you might figure, “Security” looks at the police in the post-September 11 world. Really, this serves mostly to allow two new characters to enter the Reno force: OHS officers Captain Hernandez and Lieutenant Kim. Otherwise, the shows concentrate on the usual shenanigans. I especially like the touchy-feely KKK members and the trailer park woman who wants to bite the nuts off of her neighbor. Two parts is probably too much for the theme, but there’s still plenty of entertainment on display.
Continuity issue: the order in which the episodes appear becomes a distraction here. Big Mike already appeared as an established character in “Scavenger Hunt”, while Part 1 introduces him. Why not put these shows first?
Reverend Gigg LeCarp: “A former petty criminal turned televangelist broadcasts his ‘Half Hour of Power’ from the Reno jail.”
Haven’t smarmy televangelists been done to death? The show doesn’t twist things enough to make Reverend Gigg interesting or entertaining. The episode provides a few good moments – especially when the KKK makes lemonade to fight racism – but the laughs are fewer than expected. (I do love the line “No skeevy goiter stabbers” though.)
Officer Smiley: “A British inspector on an exchange program visits Reno to learn their methods and share a few of his own with Garcia.”
“Smiley” tosses us an up and down episode. I like the parts with the old allegedly blind beggar and the hospital patient who wants to eat a poodle, but do we need gags about dog humping? Smiley himself is an iffy character. We find more laughs than “Gigg” but it’s not a great program.
Reading Ron: “While Wiegel, Johnson and Garcia are quarantined because they may have SARS, the others hang out with Reading Ron, the host of a popular Reno children’s show.”
While the Ron elements mean the show starts in a predictable vein, the SARS side offers a fun twist. Granted, it seems dated now – what the heck ever happened to SARS, anyway? – but at least it means we don’t encounter an episode based solely on gags related to Ron. It ends up as a decent program.
Rick from Citizen’s Patrol: “As a crime wave sweeps through Reno, the deputies get unwarranted help from their favorite Citizen’s Patrolman, Rick.”
This one ends the set on a lackluster note. We get too many flat notes and bits of physical humor without a lot of cleverness. It’s great to see Paul Reubens here and we get a smattering of laughs, but this ends up as an ordinary episode.
Note that Most Wanted claims to be “uncensored”. What does this mean? Lots of profanity, that’s what. Nudity remains electronically masked, and oddly, we still get masking when performers give someone the finger. There’s plenty of profanity, though.