|Reno 911: The Complete Third Season (2005)
Starring: Thomas Lennon, Cedric Yardbrough, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kerri Kenney, Robert Ben Garant, Carlos Alazraqui, Niecy Nash
Director: Michael Patrick Jann and Brad Abrams
Far and wide one of the more successful original series in Comedy Central history, “Reno 911” has never exposed a single weakness other than its low-budget production values, but in the third season of the show, desperation began to set in. After season two wrapped up with Reno’s finest being relieved of duty and sent to prison, many were probably asking “how are they going to continue a show about cops, who are no longer cops?” Luckily, series writers Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garret and Kerri Kenney are familiar with the pressure of outdoing oneself, and though the third season fell victim to an incredibly mediocre premiere, it quickly rebounded to deliver an excellent junior effort complete with hilarious cast performances and more than a few classic episodes.
Freedom awaits the hopeless officers of the Reno Sheriff Department after they’ve cleared their names of suspicion, but their time in jail has made a lasting impression. No longer employees of the State of Nevada, they all go their separate ways - Dangle (Lennon) auditions for “American Idol,” Clem (Wendi McLendon-Covey) becomes a groupie for Steely Dan, Raineesha (Niecy Nash) tries her hand at real estate, Trudy (Kenney) opens a Bed & Breakfast, and Jones and Garcia (Cedric Yardbrough and Carlos Alazraqui, respectively) start a career in the exciting world of mall security – but soon enough, they’re back on the beat and joined by a new addition to the force: Deputy Kimball (Mary Birdsong).Of course, this all takes place within only the first three episodes of the season, and before you can dial 911, Reno’s finest are out causing trouble again, including contracting a possible breakout of SARS, planning Clem’s marriage to the (dead) Hot Tub King of Reno, and interfering with a “CSI” location shoot.
Whether they’re hanging out with Reading Ron – the host of a popular children’s show (and quite possibly one of the greatest episodes ever, if only for the fact that it contains the accidental cat killing scene) – or trying to catch legendary speedster Fast Eddie McLintock (voiced by Blue Collar comic Jeff Foxworthy), nothing ever seems to go quite right for the Reno deputies. And that’s the brilliance of this show, but because “Reno 911” is almost completely improvised, it’s difficult to give credit to only the show’s official writers. This third season is a group effort if there ever was one, and for once, the main characters actually prove more interesting than the criminals. This doesn’t, however, imply that each character is equally as entertaining. Lennon and Garret remain the show’s standout talents, while Kinney continues her wild card schtick and newcomer Birdsong is quick to prove why she’s the show's most interesting female officer.
All of this is evident in the two-disc, season three DVD release, which features nearly an hour of extended footage and five audio commentary tracks with the cast/crew. Then again, the commentary tracks aren’t very impressive and the “deleted scenes” tend to get a bit monotonous after a while. I mean, do we really need to see twenty minutes of Dangle and Trudy trying to act out a crime scene involving drugs, a dead guy and a bag of piping hot Arby’s? Of course not, but diehard fans of the series will absolutely love the determination that both of these actors have for their craft, and that’s more than enough reason to go out and pick up this set.