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Paramount Studios presents
Reno 911: The Complete Second Season (Uncensored) (2004)

"Yeah, well Dangle got promoted I guess. My grandma used to say some turds float to the top and some sink to the bottom, but in the end they all get flushed."
- Deputy Travis Junior (Ben Garant)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: June 21, 2005

Stars: Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Carlos Alazraqui, Ben Garant, Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash
Other Stars: Kyle Dunnigan, Nat Faxon, Kenny Rogers, Toby Huss, Patton Oswalt, Michael Ian Black, Nadine Ellis, Katie Lohmann
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult language and situations)
Run Time: 06h:30m:00s
Release Date: June 14, 2005
UPC: 097368886940
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A+B+B+ A-

DVD Review

I'll admit I came late to the Reno 911! party in that I didn't pick up on the show until the release of the Season One set in 2004. In scanning the channels I had seen plenty of commercials for it on Comedy Central, but had chosen to pass on it as a simple Cops parody. In hindsight, I guess I made a judgmental error, because what the first season set showed me was not just a well-executed satirical take-off, but a series that dealt heavily with purely absurd, often mature comedy, all delivered by a cast who seem to be ad libbing as they go along.

In the shaky, handheld camera style popularized by Cops, Reno 911! follows a colorfully wacky group of Nevada police officers on their day-to-day activities, from the morning squad room meetings, the assorted calls they go on, and in their personal lives, too. Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon) is the group's occasionally overzealous leader, he of the very tight, very short shorts one character refers to as "plum smugglers." The rest of the principal cast of officers (Kerri Kenney, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Carlos Alazraqui, Ben Garant, Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash) all have their own unique set of personality quirks, as well, and blend together about as well as oil and water.

Garant, Kenney, and Lennon serve as the show writer/creators, but the improv approach of each episode makes it seem like we're watching actual a set of unscripted day-in-the-very-strange-life clips, and it really sets this show apart from the typical comedy series. Some of the humor works better than others, and while the police response calls (with assorted strange lawbreakers) are not always perfect, these short sequences usually have at least one or two quotable pieces of dialogue. Where it all comes together is the interaction between the officers, which generates the show's consistently strongest laughs, in particular from Lennon's Lt. Dangle and Kenney's Deputy Wiegel. Dangle's mandatory going away party for himself in Episode 1 is a great piece of awkward comedy, as is the naïve and unstable Wiegel's inability to see that her new boyfriend may be the Truckee River Killer ("He told me that he would cut my head off and eat it if I ever needed him to. I'm sorry. That's love.").

With this "uncensored" set, all of the bleeped-out language is restored to its full profane glory, and as dumb as this may sound, it actually makes the humor, well, funnier. After catching the Reno 911! bug from the first season set, I had watched most of the Season Two eps on Comedy Central. It was still funny, but the bleeps got old quick and become an irritant if you started to fixate on them. The uncensored language, presented here in its natural state, adds some punch, and bits such as the one in Episode 5 where Dangle orders the team to cut loose with a string of obscenities—in order to get them out of their system moments before a visit by a televangelist—just isn't funny when it is bleeped.

The good thing about all of these television series getting season releases is that it does allow you to catch up on things you might have otherwise missed. Don't make the same mistake I did with Reno 911!, and though it's not necessary to have seen the first season to enjoy the second, I vote you get them both.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: All 16 episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame. Image quality is noticeably sharp and well-detailed, with bright colors, and as with many television series released on DVD, actually looks cleaner and crisper than it does when broadcast.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Paramount has issued this set with a suitably ordinary 2.0 Surround audio, and due to the nature of the mock-documentary style approach it isn't one that begs for much in the way of flashy, gratuitous sound design. Dialogue is always clear, and that's what's important here.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 80 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring South Park, The Chappelle Show, Crank Yankers
14 Deleted Scenes
2 Documentaries
4 Feature/Episode commentaries by Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Carlos Alazraqui, Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney, Michael Jann
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
3 Discs
3-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Extras include four commentary tracks, with each of the main cast members pairing up on Episode 10 (Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash, Episode 11 (Wendi McLendon-Covey, Carlos Alazraqui), Episode 14 (Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant) and Episode 16 (Kerri Kenney, producer Michael Jann). None of the tracks are particularly revelatory, offering the usual random bits of background information (those are "real" hookers during the opening credits, and the wanted posters are actually crew members), but I love the way Lennon deadpans, and I wish he done another track or two.

Next up is the Drug Arrest Prevention Seminar, recorded live at HBO's 2004 Comedy Arts Festival. For some reason it is presented in two chunks—Part 1 (25m:38s) and Part 2 (17m:00s)—and features the cast, in character. The quality of the recording (image and audio) is just fair, but there are more than a few good laughs here. There are also fourteen deleted/alternate scenes that run a whopping 90 minutes, which is almost like getting another three or four bonus episodes. Nice, indeed.

Each ep is cut into five chapters.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

This is probably one of the most underrated comedies on television, and this second season set finds the series really hitting its stride. The irreverent humor continues to flow in all sorts of strange directions, and simply calling this a Cops parody is selling it way short.

Dave Chppelle might get all the press, but for me this is the real reason to watch Comedy Central, other than The Daily Show.

Highly recommended.

 


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