Last week's entry about Reno 911! ended with a post-script concerning Night At The Museum 2: Escape From The Smithsonian, which is being written by Reno's Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. The first Night At The Museum was critically panned, but grossed roughly a bajillion dollars, so the sequel was inevitable. As one of the commenters put it: "I'll watch anything in which [Lennon & Garant] get to do improv. I'll avoid any movie they write."
That's the dichotomy of the Lennon-Garant partnership. Reno is fantastic. The same can't be said for the likes of Let's Go To Prison, Herbie Fully Loaded, The Pacifier, or Taxi. You can probably add last year's Balls Of Fury to that list. (Although that film more or less lived up to my low expectations, so I wasn't disappointed.)
"Okay, they make shitty movies. We get it. What about tonight's goddamn episode?" you ask. I'm getting there. Balls Of Fury co-starred comedian George Lopez, who featured prominently in tonight's episode of Reno 911!. I didn't really buy him as an FBI agent in Balls Of Fury–not only because I'm horribly, horribly racist, but also his stiff performance–but he was really great as Reno's troubled mayor.
I haven't really paid much attention to Lopez as a comedian or actor. That sitcom he had was popular for a while, right? He's been in a bunch of anonymous shit according to his IMDB page. According to the write-ups we've done for his tours, his stand-up isn't bad. And really, in this Carlos Mencia world, George Lopez can only look good by comparison.
In the middle of an ace improvisational ensemble like Reno 911!'s, Lopez stole the show. He appeared in the deputies' briefing room three times, each one a little more disturbing than the one before. First, he shows up after a tiff among the deputies–Jones was sticking his cock in the peanut butter as a joke–looking a little disheveled, groggy, and a bandaged hand. He's relatively lucid, but he rambles about allegations (rough sex?), but advises the deputies to keep their mouths shut. "There's no subpoena that can bust this, that can bust us." He asks Dangle to hang on to a black briefcase that's dripping an unidentified liquid, then leaves abruptly.
He returns later–not long after Dangle and Junior nab his skanky wife for a DUI–still looking disheveled, but less coherent. He kisses Dangle's hand, then makes an agitated, rambling speech in English and Spanish to rally the troops. "We're all in this together! When they shoot at me, they shoot at you! When they allege me, they allege you!" He exits abruptly again, this time handing Dangle a gun that has recently been fired. "His breath smells like my Uncle Carl before he said 'Let's keep it between the two of us.'" says Wiegel after he leaves. (Once again, Kerri Kenney shows she may be Reno's best character–that line a couple episodes back about "fat vegetable retards" had me laughing for days.)
The denouement comes later, when the mayor returns wearing cuffs. "Somebody has got to pay the fiddler," he laments. He tries to rally the troops one more time–"There is a word in Spanish that my grandmother would say to me when I was a kid. It means 'brotherhood' and 'compassion.' I can't think of it right now."–but settles instead for rambling threats.
The episode featured great work on all counts by Lopez, not to mention the reappearance of series favorites Terry (with his awesome non-sequitur after threatening to cut a guy, "It's okay–he's made out of cake"), Steve the sexual predator (who's been auditioning "women and young girls" for his Nutcracker production for more than two years), and Andrew the pervert (here playing dead in a strip club because his boner won't go down). Any episode with those three is bound to be pretty solid.
That said, this episode felt especially light on coherence; aside from the ongoing mayoral problems, there really wasn't a story that tied everything together. Granted, there usually isn't much in that department, but this episode felt especially bit-driven. I assume the PSA Wiegel delivered in Spanish was funny; I, uh, took six years of French (especially helpful in Texas in a city with a Hispanic majority–hey, I wanted to meet ladies), and the Spanish I've built up from living in Chicago for 10 years didn't help me understand what she said. But AltaVista translate did tell me that "en cualquier momento" means "at any time," and ningunas preguntas means "no questions." And it had something to do with a baby. Hilarity!
— Junior again delivers the gold:
- To Jones: "Fuck your own food! If it ain't got your name on it, don't fuck it."
- To a woman he suspected of running a day-care center as a front for a brothel: "There is a room in hell where you're gonna be sucking on Dahmer's balls, you bitch!"
— I'll say it again: Where is Wendi McLendon-Covey (Deputy Clementine Johnson)? It seems like she's barely been on this season.
— I was digging up some info on Kerri Kenney–whose IMDB photo is surprisingly hot
and learned her dad is Larry Kenney, who voiced Lion-O on ThunderCats. He was also on Don Imus' radio show for more than 20 years, presumably until the "nappy-headed hos" incident.