Charles Davis

The Vista




            Just when youÕre about to give up on television for good, on the phone with a Fox receptionist demanding the last half hour of your life back after being exposed to the latest plot ŅtwistÓ in The O.C. or clone North Shore, there comes along a show of such genius that for at least 30 minutes every week you can count on watching something other than 24 hour news/spin channels and Carson Daly.  I was in the act of writing my local congressmen, demanding Rupert MurdochÕs immediate detention in Guantanomo Bay for undermining the nationÕs intelligence, when the first episode of Comedy CentralÕs Reno 911 came on.  Now Comedy Central is very much hit or miss Š the same network responsible for Dave Chappelle and Strangers With Candy has also brought us the truly horrible Colin Quinn and Jeff Foxworthy.  But this particular law enforcement satire is a sure winner.  Set in the bizarre world that is Reno, Nevada, this diverse group of quirky, corrupt, and thoroughly dysfunctional law enforcement officials have won over critics and viewers alike, and recently finished their second season.

            Thankfully you can now get the entire first season of this boundary-pushing hit show on DVD, complete with audio commentary from the cast and uncensored extras for a mere 20 dollars.  Fans of more eccentric humor will fall in love with this show, if they havenÕt already, as it delivers a hilarious, distinctly American brand of outrageous and bizarre, confiscated-marijuana laced humor reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch melded with an episode of Cops on acid.

And unlike the stale humor of primetime network shows, the writers of arenÕt afraid to address touchy, normally off-limit subjects, like in this characteristic comment from the neurotic Officer Weigel, who describes fellow officer Raneesha Wiliams as a Ņloud-mouth, back-stabbing Jew Š I wanna say Jew Š but I think sheÕs in fact very openly Catholic, which I have a problem with too.Ó  The episodes tackle the typical dilemmas cops would face in Reno, ranging from crack-addicted prostitutes, toothless and unruly trailer park residents, rollerblading gigolos, and other shady criminals.

Despite their insensitive tendencies, the cast of Reno 911 is an eminently likeable group.  Yeah, theyÕre corrupt as hell, but not in an LAPD violent way.  Through the first season we see the officers as they form and break off love triangles, have incredibly creepy conversations with their dead mother in a graveyard, cheat on their Homeland Security exams, and continually verbally and physically abuse a poor, unfortunate milkshake man.

Now Reno 911 isnÕt for everybody.  If youÕre James Dobson or Jerry Falwell, than you probably wouldnÕt like the out-of-the-closet, cross-dressing, drunk-driving Lt. Dangle and his rather unique short-shorts, or Officer Johnson and her 1960s, anything goes outlook on sex and drugs.  But if you like comedy that isnÕt afraid to make fun of anything and everyone, thatÕs fresh and cleverly written, than be sure catch the irreverent brand of humor only to be found on the first season of Reno 911.