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HTF DVD REVIEW: RENO 911! : The Complete Fifth Season (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

Senior HTF Member
Apr 24, 2006
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough

Reno 911!: The Complete Fifth Season
Directed by Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant

Studio: Paramount/Comedy Central
Year: 2007
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 352 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English
Subtitles: CC
MSRP: $ 39.98

Release Date: July 15, 2008
Review Date: July 12, 2008

The Series


The loonies from the Reno Sheriff’s Department are on the loose again in the fifth season of Comedy Central’s wacky Reno 911! Modeled on Fox’s long-running reality show Cops, Reno 911! allows a cast of talented improvisational comedians a chance to do their stuff in a series of wickedly funny, occasionally raunchy, and always inappropriate blackout sketches. Like all such comedy shows, each episode contains hits and misses, and what appeals to some might not appeal to all. But the cast is so talented and play off each other so well after five years of doing this that it’s a pleasure to watch even when the jokes land with a thud. And, all of the foul language has been left intact on the soundtrack, unassailed by network “bleeping.”

Still in command (surprisingly) is Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon), he of the gay persuasion (though he seems into some of his female co-workers more this season) and the hot pants uniform. Deputies Junior (Robert Ben Garant), Wiegel (Kerri Kenney-Silver), Jones (Cedric Yarborough), Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Williams (Niecy Nash), and Kimball (Mary Birdsong) are his ever-bumbling, slow-witted team. As they travel around Reno sniffing out crime, they seem to run into a host of familiar faces. There’s the mayor on the run (George Lopez), the sexual predator (Jack Plotnick) luring little kids into his house by offering a free haunted house or holding auditions for The Nutcracker (of course, Dangle pops up in a tie-dyed leotard ready to dance), and the always brain-fried Terry (Nick Swardson) on his ever-present roller skates.

The show presents a series of season-long running gags including Deputy Junior stopping school buses, the entire squad doing public service announcements (sometimes in horrific Spanish) for the traffic safety commission or the Washoe County animal shelter, each deputy conducting a Scared Straight seminar for high school students, the squad dealing with a series of catastrophes on an overpass bridge, and a former sex slave (Wanru Tseng) who has now joined the department as a radio dispatcher without a clear picture of what her duties do or don’t entail. One particularly enjoyable episode has a TV bounty hunter Tommy Hawk (Diedrich Bader) attempting to tape his show while the Reno cops tape theirs. The resultant mayhem as the two interact is a high point in the season, and one hopes for the return of Tommy Hawk next year. A few high profile friends of the show’s stars pop up in cameo visits. Among the most recognizable are Christina Applegate, Masi Oka, Seth Green, and Dan Castellaneta.

None of the episodes have titles, so there is nothing to denote the sixteen episodes contained in this box set. The three discs are each housed in a see-through slimline case with each show’s synopsis on the back of the cover art.

Video Quality


The program’s 1.33:1 aspect ratio is reproduced exactly on these three DVDs. The images are sharp and colorful, certainly as good and likely better than the broadcast quality of the episodes. With no anamorphic enhancement, there are the usual jaggies and moiré patterns to be seen, but they aren’t usually badly intrusive. Each episode has been divided into 6 chapters.

Audio Quality


The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track is stereo mostly in name only. Very little sound seeps into the front surround speakers with almost everything emanating from the center channel. Of course, with this being a very talk-heavy show, that’s not surprising, but the numerous explosions and gunfire sequences might gain a little heft were the sound design a bit more adventurous.

Special Features


Six of the sixteen episodes contain audio commentary by select members of the cast. Episodes #3 and #7 feature Cedric Yarborough and Wendi McLendon-Covey in laid-back conversations. Episodes #6, #9, #10, and #16 feature Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Cedric Yarborough, and Carlos Alazraqui. All of these are gabfests for the cast, not always scene or show specific, but they certainly have remembrances to share with each other and the listener.

“Cop Psychology: Inside the Minds of Reno’s Deputies” is a series of interviews with a psychologist that didn’t make the final cut of the season. This 4:3 23 ½ minute series of sketches, however, features improvisations by most of the cast with the most hilarious skits offered by Cedric Yarborough, Robert Ben Garant, and Niecy Nash.

4 extended scenes are offered on the disc, the complete sequences which were heavily edited in the final air version. They involve Dangle and Wiegel cutting open stuffed bunnies filled with cocaine (13 minutes), the hilarious tragedy of the clown car (16 ¾ minutes), Garcia and Junior building a fence on the Mexican border (8 ½ minutes), and hooker Jackie’s last will (3 ½ minutes).

Excerpts from four Comedy Central shows are offered: The Daily Show (2 ½ minutes), The Colbert Report (2 minutes), South Park (2 ½ minutes), and Lil’ Bush (2 ¼ minutes).

The disc offers previews for Comedy Central box sets of TV Funhouse, South Park - Season 11, and Drawn Together - Season 3.

In Conclusion

3.5/5 (not an average)

Reno 911! continues its rude and raunchy way to hilarity in this fifth season box set (a season that has just concluded this past week). Though each episode has hits and misses, if you go for this kind of improvised, politically incorrect humor, you’ll find something to like in just about every episode.

Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

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