Reno 911! The Complete Fifth Season - Uncensored
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (20th July 2008).
The Show

"Reno 911!" is a staged parody of reality shows, "Cops" (1989-Present) in particular. Each episode consists of a series of skits, gags, vignettes, and jokes, loosely connected by an vague ongoing strand of plot. As the fifth season begins, officer Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney) has had a baby. She is not sure who the father is, she has no interest in raising the tot, she probably would not be a very good parent anyway, and so she decides that her best option is to sell the child. In between scenes of the other cops dealing with various rather silly issues, Trudy interviews various couples and eventually strikes a bargain. So, given this set-up, you immediately know what you're in for with this series: absolutely tasteless, over-the-top, madness.

A lot of the skits seem to be at least partly improvised, and many of the actors are known within comedy circles as being improv specialists. As is always the case with improv, some of it works, and some of it doesn't. "Reno 911!" has some funny moments, but overall it is not destined to go down in television history as a classic on-par with any of the most legendary improv comedy shows.

In addition to Kerri Kenney, the rest of the ensemble cast of eight cops include archetypes such as the voluptuous blonde (Wendi McLendon-Covey as Deputy Clementine Johnson), the sassy black woman (Niecy Nash as Deputy Raineesha Williams), a gay guy (Thomas Lennon as Lieutenant Jim Dangle), and other un-cop like misfits (Cedric Yarbrough as Deputy S. Jones, Robert Ben Garant as Deputy Travis Junior, Carlos Alazraqui as Deputy James Garcia, and Mary Birdsong as Deputy Cherisha Kimball).

As the sixteen episodes progress, the cops need to deal with a series of problems, including hiring a sex slave worker (Wanru Tseng), the return of Wiegel's long-lost father, and tracking a rather inept bounty hunter (Diedrich Bader). In addition to a number of recurring characters (such as a gay prostitute, a guy who keeps trying to jump off of a bridge, and a crazy black guy who thinks he is a FBI agent, or a Department of the Treausry Agent, or a Police Officer), celebrity cameos include Christina Applegate, Seth Green, and George Lopez.

The series appears to have been filmed on-location in and around Reno (the biggest little town in the world), and ends on a cliffhanger that recalls the end of the final episode of the classic 1980's BBC comedy series "The Young Ones" (1982-1984).

This Complete Fifth Season DVD set includes all 16 episodes:

- "Did Garcia Steal Dangle's Husband?"
- "Bounty Hunter Tommy Hawk"
- "Super Knockers!"
- "Mayor Hernandez"
- "Coconut Nut Clusters!"
- "Dangle's Secret Family"
- "Undercover at Burger Cousin"
- "The Wall"
- "Death of a Pickle-Thrower"
- "Baghdad 911"
- "The Tanning Booth Incident"
- "Strong Sister"
- "Wiegel's Dad Returns"
- "Junior Runs for Office"
- "Undercover Acting Coach"
- "The Parade"

Video

The video is presented in the television aspect ratio of 4:3, with no chapter stops within the individual episodes. Given the mockumentary feel that was clearly being persued, plus the quickie nature of cable comedy production in general, the camerawork is shaky, the lighting is inconsistent, and the focus is often soft. Keeping in mind this lo-fi source material, there are no complaints about the transfer.

Audio

"Reno 911!: The Complete Fifth Season, Uncensored" is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, with no other language options and no subtitles. Audio production is nondescript, with location audio capturing most of the improved dialogue adequately, and almost no added music of sound effects. No surprise that this was not one to bother mixing in surround.

Extras

Paramount has included six episodic audio commentaries, a featurette, extended scenes, some Comedy Central quickies and bonus trailers, below is a closer look at these supplements broken down per disc.

DISC ONE:

Members of the cast provide conversatinal audio commentaries on three episodes on this disc. They are not listed by name or introduced, so it is hard to figure out which cast members we're dealing with. Mostly, though, they're sitting around watching the episode and laughing; there is not much insight here. (editor's note after some online research the participants of each track have been uncovered they are listed below):

Audio commentary on the episode "Super Knockers!" by cast members Wendi McLendon-Covey and Cedric Yarbrough

Audio commentary on the episode "Dangle's Secret Family" by cast members Cedric Yarbrough, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and Carlos Alazraqui

Audio commentary on the episode "Undercover at Burger Cousin" by cast members Wendi McLendon-Covey and Cedric Yarbrough

There are 4 Comedy Central quickies for:

- "The Daily Show: Marines in Berkely" which runs for 2 minutes 31 seconds.
- "The Colbert Report: Tip/Wag Afghanistan" which runs for 2 minutes 9 seconds.
- "South Park: Its Just Gone" which runs for 2 minutes 31 seconds.
- "Lil' Bush: Spring Break" which runs for 2 minutes 19 seconds.

There's also some bonus trailers for:

- "Comedy Central's TV Funhouse" which runs for 1 minute 33 seconds.
- "South Park: The Complete 11th Season" which runs for 1 minute 20 seconds.
- "Drawn Together Uncensored and Extended" which runs for 1 minute 35 seconds.

DISC TWO:

There's an audio commentary on the episode "Death of a Pickle-Thrower" by cast members Cedric Yarbrough, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and Carlos Alazraqui (see disc one commentary for details).

DISC THREE:

The final audio commentary is on the episode "The Parade" by cast members Cedric Yarbrough, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and Carlos Alazraqui (see disc one commentary for details).

"Cop Psychology: Inside the Minds of Reno's Deputies" featurette runs for 23 minutes 28 seconds, and is footage of a psychologist interviewing some of the cops, in order to perform a psychological evaluation.

Finally there are 4 extended scenes that include:

- "Dangle and Wiegel at the Mr. McHuggle's Warehouse" runs for 12 minutes 55; they inspect some stuffed bunnies filled with drugs, and sample the merchandise to make sure it is really drugs.
- "Clown Car Tragedy" runs for 16 minutes 51 seconds; two of the cops investigate a problem at the circus.
- "Garcia and Junior Join a Militia" runs for 8 minutes 27 seconds; some rednecks discuss their problems at the Mexican border.
- "Jackie's Last Will and Testament" runs for 3 minutes 23 seconds; some of the cops visit Jackie in the hospital.

Packaging

This set is packaged in slim amaray cases housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Show: B Video: A Audio: B Extras: B- Overall: B

 


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