|Reno 911: The Complete Second Season (2004)
Starring: Thomas Lennon, Cedric Yardbrough, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kerri Kenney, Robert Ben Garant, Carlos Alazraqui, Niecy Nash
Director: Michael Patrick Jann and Brad Abrams
Everyone’s favorite incompetent cops are back for a second season and, if it’s possible, they’re even funnier this time around. At the very least, the sophomore season of “Reno 911” stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the series’ brilliant debut, using a flawless combination of exceptional writing, superb casting and knockout performances to set itself apart from almost any other comedy on television. Bottom line: If you’re not watching “Reno 911,” you’re missing out on something special.
The entire force is back keeping the streets of Reno…well, relatively safe, anyway. Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon) continues to represent his name well, faithfully wearing his nut-huggers to work every day, Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui) is still a racist, even if he doesn’t realize it, Clem (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is still a pot-smoking tramp, Jonesy (Cedric Yardbrough) is still the force’s ladies man, Junior (Robert Ben Garant) still sports his bulletproof vest and trademark sunglasses, Raineesha (Niecy Nash) still loves to gossip and Wiegel (Kerri Kenney) is still off her rocker. All seven characters contribute something of value to just about every episode because all seven parts are played to perfection. That said, Lennon and Kenney positively sparkle as the effeminate Dangle and the psychotic Wiegel (pictured right), not surprising considering Lennon and Kenney, along with Garant, also are the show’s creators, writers and executive producers.
Which means as good a job as this hard-working trio does in front of the camera, their work behind the scenes is even more impressive because these season-two episodes, 16 in all, are priceless. In episode two, Wiegel manages to snag a boyfriend who’s even more demented than she is, a guy everyone else on the force thinks may be the Truckee River Killer. We learn that Dangle is married in episode four, but his estranged wife, who’s lost about 200 pounds since they separated, wants a divorce so she can marry her obviously gay boyfriend. In episode seven, Dangle, Garcia and Junior fight a new rule that requires them to shave off their beloved mustaches, and Clem and Garcia finally hook up in episode 11, much to everyone else’s amazement and disgust. They’ve even got a cliffhanger in here, a two-part season finale that ends with everyone getting fired by an ambitious DA and sent to prison for, among other charges, dereliction of duty and sexual indiscretion.
As for the three-disc set’s special features, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, there’s a lot to choose from, including more than 90 minutes of alternate and deleted scenes, a taped performance of a sketch the cast members put on at HBO’s 2004 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, and director/cast commentary on four episodes, including the season finale. The bad news, though, is there’s very little substance here. Granted, some of the alternate and deleted scenes are funny but the vast majority of them were cut for a reason, and more often than not the audio commentary is rather pointless. There are, however, a few gems in the HBO skit, a fictitious Drug Arrest Prevention Seminar during which the officers offer rather useful advice on how to cheat a piss test and how to get out of a DUI. There also are a few Easter Eggs scattered throughout the various DVD menus, but these hidden bonus features aren’t really worth the time it takes to find them.
Still, as much as the extras do nothing to enhance this three-disc set, they certainly don’t drag it down. These season-two episodes are instant classics, which is notable considering how many hot new shows wind up falling short of expectations. Ingeniously funny and refreshingly unique, “Reno 911” is primed for a long run, which is great news for fans of the show and even better news for Reno criminals.