"I could have sworn for sure we were canceled," a surprised Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon) greets the cameras in the season opener. Prophetic words. Comedy Central has since unceremoniously retired this veteran series, but happily not before revealing the origins of Dangle's short-shorts style and that the unfortunate Dep. Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney-Silver) was once smoking hot. Reno 911!
may not go out with guns blazing, but there are enough moments of truly inspired lunacy to warrant one last ride along with Wahoe County's funniest. There are two new faces on the force following the departures of ensemble members Wendi McLendon-Covey, Carlos Alazraqui, and Mary Birdsong (their characters are said to have perished in the taco stand explosion that ended season 5). Both have excellent priors. Joe Lo Truglio, as loose cannon Frank Rizzo, was a member of The State
. Ian Roberts, as former Chicago cop Jack Declan, earned his stripes as a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade
. Both characters are considerably more hardcore than their predecessors. Rizzo makes Denzel Washington from Training Day
look like Sgt. Joe Friday. In one episode he relentlessly harasses the soccer coach who won't play his son. In another, he compels his new partner Dep. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough) to perform illicit and unprintable acts while undercover.
To its credit, Reno 911! did not mellow over its six-season run. It continued to brazenly cross the PC line with impunity, as witness the department's senior abuse PSAs and an encounter with an unrepentant teacher who has been having sex with one of her teenage students. The series enlisted some notable accomplices this season, including Rainn Wilson as a cunning serial killer with escalating demands (like watching Cold Mountain) before he will reveal where a body is buried, Jane Lynch as a couples therapist, George Lopez as Reno's mayor, who may have committed bigamy with a maniacal hooker, Jonah Hill as a terminated employee who will not go quietly, Patton Oswalt as a criminal extradited to Thailand, and Craig Robinson as a linoleum-floor pitchman. Dangle and company may be dumb, but they're not clueless, and after watching them suffer no end of humiliation, it's nice to also see them get the upper hand every once in awhile. In one episode, Junior (Robert Ben Garant) reveals how to crash an Italian wedding. In another, Dangle eggs on a hippie protester who has become a Reno tourist attraction. "Y'all can't be cops," a citizen protests at one point. "This must be a joke." Yes, it was a joke, and a great one while it lasted. --Donald Liebenson
Stills from Reno 911 (Click for larger image)
Locked, cocked and ready to rock, your favorite deputies are back for another season of Reno 911! Armed with the arrival of two new officers (the gun-loving Deputy Frank Rizzo and the cantankerous Sergeant Jack Declan), a bevy of guest stars (Craig Robinson, Patton Oswalt, George Lopez, Nick Swardson) and some usual suspects (Terry the roller-skating prostitute and Big Mike), the sixth season delivers everything you're come to know and love from the deputies of the Reno Sheriff's Department... namely, questionable workplace attire, botched assignments, and egregious displays of incompetence.