Monday, July 11, 2011

Idiocy: Top 5 Best Moments of Reno 911!

Continuing State Month on the blog, here's a little something about Reno 911! 

If you revisit The State--and I can't be the only one doing so, right?--you'll see alliances form within the group as the show progresses. For example, David Wain, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black and Ken Marino are often together in sketches. Ditto Tom Lennon, Ben Garant and Kerri Kenney. ("The Inbred Brothers" sketch is not only pants-pissing funny, but also an example of how two minutes of tight comedy is way better than seven minutes of beating a dead horse. Saturday Night Live, are you listening?) Lennon, Garant and Kenney went on to create and star in the best largely-improvised cop show parody ever, and one of my favorite shows, period. If you haven't seen Reno 911!, get thee to Netflix. You can skip the final season, where two of the cast members were replaced and thus, the chemistry wasn't quite the same. However, if you need some help to get started--or you want to remember an old fave--here are my top 5 favorite episodes of Reno 911!

1. "And the Installation is Free" (s3 e7)
The title of this episode comes from the High Sierra Carpeting radio jingle that golden-voiced Deputy Jones (Cedric Yarbrough) is paid $200 to warble, with residuals (or so he thinks). Naturally the hypothetical money and adulation go to his head, and he sings this very line throughout the episode, much to the chagrin of his partner Deputy Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui, aka the voice of the Taco Bell dog). Hubris reigns supreme and because the Reno Sheriffs' Department is always down on its luck, comes back to haunt Jones--after he fails to pay a bar tab, of course. The B plot, which involves Lt. Dangle (Tom Lennon) and Deputies Travis Junior and Trudy Wiegel (Robert Ben Garant and Kerri Kenney-Silver, respectively) trying to solve a drug-related murder, has the most hilarious Arby's product placement this side of Fargo.

2. "Execution Tickets" (s1 e3)
What's a sheriffs' department to do when everyone wants to attend an execution, but only two tickets are available? "What we always do," proclaims the hot pants-sporting Lt. Dangle. "Scavenger hunt!" And so it goes, as the officers track down such specific perps as a crackhead with a wig ("easy!"), and someone with a tattoo (bonus points if they are also Jewish). It's a cutthroat fight to the finish, because as redneck Deputy Junior enthuses, "Getting two tickets to an execution is like getting two tickets to NASCAR, except you know Jeff Gordon's gonna die!"

3. "Whose Birthday Is It?" (Reno 911! Miami)
I saw Reno 911! Miami in theatres before I started watching the show, so I wasn't 100% into it at first. Even so, the movie's brilliantly dumb sequences started me on the path of conversion. Clemmie's boob tattoo! The dead beached whale! The self-pleasure-at-the-nasty-hotel montage! However, the absolute best scene has Dangle and Junior responding to a noise complaint at Suge Knight's birthday party. They have no idea who Suge Knight is. When Dangle fires his gun and ends up with a plethora of weapons pointed at him, courtesy of Knight's guests, Dangle and Junior improvise a striptease...well, Junior's improvising. You get the feeling Dangle's done those moves many times before, in front of his mirror. When I first saw Reno 911! Miami, I hadn't seen The State in years...and then I remembered why my 14-year-old self always got excited when Ben Garant went shirtless. Dayum.

4. "Mayor Hernandez" (s5 e4)
I've always been neutral about George Lopez. I wasn't into sitcoms when his was on the air, and I'm not that into stand-up comedy. So I was pleasantly surprised when his guest turn on Reno 911!, as the city's mayor who gets more paranoid and whacked out with each morning briefing he crashes, made me laugh out loud. Also, this episode features one of Reno 911's best recurring perps, Terry the roller-skating prostitute (Nick Swardson). I don't care how much of a dick Swardson reportedly is in real life, Terry's lisping interactions with the Reno S.D.--which usually involve badly-worded denials of his illegal activities--are always a highlight.

5. "Dangle's Wedding" (s4 e14)
Despite knowing very well it was a product of The State alums, I wasn't always into Reno 911! My ex-boyfriend and I had always bonded over The State (and later, Wet Hot American Summer) and I was afraid Reno 911! would bring back too many memories. (What can I say? The brokenhearted are not always rational.) Even after I saw the movie, I didn't immediately dive in. However, several months later, my new roommate was watching a rerun of "Dangle's Wedding" before the new season started. I vaguely remembered the characters, plus I was too tired to get my ass off the couch. Let's just say the combo platter of 1) male cops in kilts, 2) a gay wedding proposal in front of an audience of bored middle schoolers, 3) an awkward, naked pregnant Wiegel going into labor after popping out of a cake--and subsequently getting wheeled to the hospital in said cake by said male cops in kilts--and 4) Dave Holmes shrieking "until the last dance IN HEAVEN!" made me say, "My ex was a jackass, but The State has never let me down! Hey roommate, can we TiVo Season Pass this show?"

Are you a fan of the Reno S.D.? Any favorite episodes I missed? Leave a comment!


  1. It's hard to remember episode names, but in general my favorite deputies are Junior and Johnson, so I like any involving them. Both the times Clemmie gets married are amazing -- particularly the first wedding, in S1, to Steed -- my fiance and I have seriously considered using those vows in our August wedding. (It's in Vegas, not Reno, but gems like, "I always hoped I'd end up in a semi-monogamous relationship with you" will work anywhere).

    Also, I can't remember what ep it's in (it's a later season), but Clemmie's monologue about people who know the right way to drive drunk ("my hands are at ten and two, I have speed metal blasting") is another all-time fave. I also really love the Junior/Kimball relationship and wish it had lasted longer. And Terry! Oh, Terry ANYTHING.

  2. I had to look on IMDb for episode names, so I cheated. :)

    I adore Junior and Clemmie. Growing up in a small town, I knew SO MANY PEOPLE who were exactly like them: the redneck and the bleach blonde barfly slightly past her prime. And even if I didn’t want to do naughty things with Ben Garant, I’d say he was bar none the best physical comedian on the show. Some of the hits and falls Junior takes (there’s one where he gets electrocuted and falls headfirst off a stage) are borderline death-defying. I think that’s what I always liked about Garant on The State, as well: whether he was the straight man or the wacky one, he was always totally committed. And his reactions are priceless.

    Clemmie’s second wedding to the dead guy was incredible: “you weren’t the first, and you probably won’t be the last!,” plus the fact that she keeps a wedding dress in her cop car, crack me up just thinking about them. This episode almost made my top 5. I’m thrilled Wendi McLendon-Covey’s in Bridesmaids—she’s a brilliant improviser.

    Junior and Kimball FTW! I loved their entire exchange when he got shot and used that as an excuse to hit on her. “I always thought you’d be a decent piece of ass if you weren’t a lesbian.” “I am NOT a lesbian! That [kiss] was...very enjoyable!”

    P.S. Congrats on your upcoming Vegas nuptials!

  3. when trudy visits her lisp boyfriend in jail she put something special in the cake an he gusses everything but the right thing

  4. Dangle is my favourite, thomas lennon really can make a gay cop still look sexy. my favorite ep is when every single one of them is getting interviews for that murder jones andgarcia did. awesome !!