Reno 911!: Season 1

I should have watched this show years ago. Broken record, blah blah blah. Are you sick of me saying that yet?

In fact, let me get all of the repetitive stuff out of the way first. This show also was created by, contains members from, and features occasional cameos from members of The State. Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney are the brain trust behind this, deviating slightly from the Stella branch, and you know what? I like this iteration of State-ers the best. Of course, The State is great, but I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for long-form parody and satire. And Reno 911! is exactly that.

I can’t say that I’ve ever sat through an episode of COPS, but I will never need to. This show shows the types of things that you’d be seeing on those shows, except improvised by hilarious people. It’s just way better that way. Each member of the cast is insanely brilliant, and this point is underscored only when you watch for awhile, laugh, and then remember that what you just laughed at wasn’t even scripted. Yet Lennon, Garant, and Kenney had the forethought to create this whole lame, mundane world for these characters to live in and constantly embarrass themselves in. It’s brilliant.

Lennon comes out on top as far as creating the most memorable character. It’s hard to top Lt. Jim Dangle with those incredible shorts. And watching him flail around every time someone steals his two-wheeled bike is pure hysteria. The added bleeps over his “Oh shit! Oh fuck!” only make the whole thing more comical. I also enjoy Wendi McLendon-Covey, who is now enjoying a bit more recognition thanks to Bridesmaids, but you really see her shine on this show. She is the anti-Samantha, and yet I have no doubt that the two of them would become friends somehow in some TV character universe. Kerri Kenney is incredible, too, and my favorite moment from the season happens when the officers think her character is having a seizure, so they prep a mouth gard and take her pulse, only for her to mumble that it’s just gas. This role, dumbass Trudy Weigel, gives her even more room to shine than The State ever did. And then there’s Cedric Yarbrough and Carlos Alazraqui, two of the best straight men on TV. I don’t mean sexually, but sure, that works too. And Niecy Nash and Garant? God. Hilarity really does ensue with these people, and I don’t often use that phrase because I think it’s cliche.

Of course, the guest stars add an element of fun. Michael Ian Black and Ken Marino, among others, make amusing cameos, as does Oscar Nunez pre-gay-Office-Oscar. But my favorite guest spots are from Jim Rash, who plays a dude always getting caught for hiring prostitutes, and Nick Swardson, who is always getting caught for being a prostitute. I can’t help but laugh at his flamboyantly gay outfit — and the roller skates he’s sporting the whole look on.

I can’t wait to watch more of this… and dress up as Weigel next year for Halloween, hairstyle permitting.

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