Reno911!

reno911logoYears: 2003-2009

Synopsis: This mockumentary highlights the exploits and misadventures of the fictionalized Reno Sheriff’s Department

Pros:
• An effective send-up of the “reality TV” of the time, especially Cops (1989-present). The humor remains relevant thanks to the continuing popularity of “reality TV,” which retains much of the same format today.
• The often chaotic, mostly ad-libbed humor had a laser focus throughout the show’s run.
• All the characters truly love their jobs, even though they might just be some of the dumbest cops ever depicted.
• The one-off and side characters breathed true madness into the various situations.

Cons:
• Though the actual people of Reno had a good sense of humor about it, real life law enforcement might not have been too pleased with the show.
• Given the general incompetence of the characters, the suspension of disbelief might be hard for some over time.
• The almost random cast changes, particularly in the final season, negatively affected the humor.

Discussion:
Reno911! had the kind of transcendent humor that could never have been fully scripted. Reality TV, in and of itself, is rather absurd. Much of not most of it is scripted, while the randomly intercut interviews are more disorienting than informative. It is an easy genre to parody, with how disorientation can be an effective tool in comedy. The fact that Reno911 rarely had much scripting is the perfect joke to attack the very core of the most meaningless examples of the genre. Lt. Dangle and co move forward in every episode dealing with things ranging from the mundane to the bizarre, while their incompetence bleeds through in just about every situation. The show as almost a cautionary tale of what happens when just the “right” set of people impossibly find themselves together. Yet, none of the cops depicted ever showed a lack of respect for any of the colorful people they came across. These were incompetent fictional cops that were never really bad apples.


Official Website

Reno has a sense of humor

Rotten Tomatoes
S1 – 89%
S2 – 100%
S3 – 60%
S4 – N/A
S5 – N/A
S6 – 100%

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