I’ve always loved a show that could simultaneously disturb me and make me laugh and there’s been few shows that have managed to do that throughout the years. Reno 911! has consistently managed to astound me at just how off-color and hilarious it can be and ever since seeing those cats get massacred and their blood sprayed all over a home in its second or third season, I’ve never given up on the series. It’s been the one parody of reality TV that hasn’t grown old, probably because the show it’s parodying, Cops, is the original reality show that will long outlast the other posers that have come along. There’s no doubt in my mind that Reno 911! won’t follow a similar fate: with five seasons and a feature film under its belt, the series shows no signs of stopping.
For the shows fifth season, sixteen episodes were filmed that were unlike anything fans of the series had seen before. Featuring the introduction of Wiegel’s father, the hiring of a former sex slave worker and the taking on of a wicked bounty hunter that shows the Reno Sherriff’s Department just how to make an entrance, Reno 911!’s fifth season ups the notches with its crude and rude humor, all the while bringing back favorites like Terry and Big Mike back into the mix. It’s another hilarious season that will leave you “stewed, screwed and tattooed” with the crew of Reno.
After the movie I didn’t think there was a way to make the series any cruder, but the fifth season proved me wrong. There were so many elements of this season that just walked the line of offensive and rude that it genuinely shocked me at times. But that’s why I love the show; it’s constantly pushing the boundaries of what should be acceptable and it’s moments like the introduction of Wiegel’s father that remind me just why I love watching incredibly dark and screwed up comedy: it’s wrong but it’s funny.
Oddly enough I hadn’t been watching the season since it came back from its mid-season writer’s strike hiatus break (or whatever it was) and when I got into the later episodes on the disc I was surprised to find that they were episodes that either had just aired or had yet to air. I was wondering what would warrant this being a three-disc set, as most other seasons were maxed out with two discs, but it’s nice that they included the most recent episodes that aired on here—less to buy down the road. Plus, on top of that, I didn’t have to worry about catching up with recorded copies since I already had the DVDs in hand to check them out in all of their uncensored glory. Not that there’s a whole lot here (there rarely is) that’s uncensored.
One of my favorite moments from the season comes from the intro to one of the earlier episodes, where Junior asks who has been sticking their…well, I won’t say it, but it’s a part of the male anatomy, in his peanut butter. Immediately upon viewing the jar in question, Dangle immediately asks Jones “what’s up.” It created one of the funniest and most hilarious sequences of the season and is a key example of what I like about the series. The humor is fast and furious and it barely gives you time to recover from laughing until we’re launched into another sequence of quick wit and dialogue.
By now you’ve already made your mind up about Reno 911!, but aside from some very vague references to the movie and a follow-up to the cliffhanger from the last season’s finale, there isn’t much to confuse any newcomers, so this season is as good a time as any to jump in. As with all seasons of this show, it comes Highly Recommended.
Paramount is pushing out the fifth season in the standard packaging for the series: thin-paks inside of a slipcase. Each one of the slipcases contain their own unique art, while disc art among the set also differentiates itself from the standard grey wash Paramount fare by including images of each of the deputies from the show. Menus are animated and simple to navigate and there’s a fair share of extras to check out here as well.
Video and audio for the set are what you’d expect from a cable show broadcast in 4×3. I honestly think the show works best in this ratio, as the film in 16×9 just felt strange at times after watching this show for three-to-four seasons in 4×3. The transfers here are clean and clear (and interlaced…again), while the Dolby Surround 2.0 audio is clean and clear. It’s low-budget in terms of visuals, but it’s nothing that will hinder your enjoyment of the series.
Moving onto the extras we come up on a series of commentaries on the first two discs of the set. The first disc contains commentary on “Dangle’s Secret Family” and “Undercover at Burger Cousin”, while disc two features chatter on episodes “Undercover Acting Coach” and “Baghdad 911.” Disc three houses commentary only on “The Parade”, but, as you’d expect from a show where the writers are also the stars, the tracks here are all incredibly wild and just as funny, if not more so, than the episodes they’re contained on. It’s absolutely fantastic to listen to the cast and crew comment on these episodes, as the stories they’re able to tell from both acting and writing point of view is invaluable. Also, it’s just a hilarious thing to listen to.
The other extras are included on the third disc. “Copy Psychology: Inside the Minds of Reno’s Deputies” (23:28) is a series of interviews with each one of the Reno deputies by a psychiatrist. I’m not sure if this belonged to an episode at one point or what it is, but it’s sure funny as hell to watch. A series of extended scenes (Dangle and Wiegel at the Mr. McHuggle’s Warehouse (12:55), Clown Car Tragedy (16:51), Garcia and Junior Join a Militia (8:27), Jackie’s Last Will and Testament (3:23)) are included as well and all are worth watching, especially the first two which are nearly as long as an episode by themselves. Improv is clearly in the casts blood and it shows in some of these extended pieces.
Overall Reno 911!’s fifth season is well worth checking out and picking up. It slides well next to the rest of your seasons on the shelf and it’s just a genuinely funny show to watch. The technical presentation is a bit weak, but the host of commentaries and bonus improv pieces are well worth the admission price. Highly Recommended.
Reno 911! Season Five is now available on DVD.