Zingers! Tonight's episode of Reno 911! was replete with them, the laugh-out-loud killer lines that prove just how funny this show can be: Wiegel saying, "So the next time you're playing nok hockey, just think of me jerking off some crackhead." Big Mike, on his child companion, "He couldn't be a priest if you've seen all the shit he does on a daily basis. He is one randy child!" Guest star Seth Green telling Garcia and Jones, "I don't need you guys playing any kind of grab-ass behind the counter. When customers come in here, I don't need them thinking 'I'm gonna get raped with my burger.'" The Amazon dominatrix saying, "What does kettle corn have to do with a butt plug?" Dangle describing the power wielded by Reno's kettle-corn makers. Pure gold, people.
This season, Reno 911! has inconsistently employed a plot arc; the eight episodes thus far have had varying degrees of an overarching plot line, though there isn't necessarily a correlation between plot and laughs. Tonight's episode proved that; the main story concerned Garcia and Jones going undercover at Burger Cousin to catch a thief who keeps robbing the place. Really, though, it felt like a B-plot, or at least it would have been one on another show. But Seth Green, playing Burger Cousin "manager" Rick (in actuality, he's the recidivist thief), scored some big laughs with his bizarre management style, a combination of ultra-professional drill sergeant and deviant. "I need to guys to work and give the appearance of professionality," he barks at the hapless Jones and Garcia. "Now I'm gonna go masturbate in the back. You guys get to business!"
Tonight started pretty strongly with Junior attempting to rig mailboxes with explosive dye packs, the kind they use in banks.
While the entire cast of Reno 911! seems pretty fearless when it comes to getting covered in various substances, Robert Ben Garant (who plays Travis Junior) is especially bold. In tonight's episode alone, he was practically immersed in paint when the dye packs exploded, and he was covered in cat blood after an unlucky feline blew up in front of him–not to mention the recurring traffic-stop gag, a Reno perennial, where Junior gets knocked out after pulling someone over. (This season, it's a school bus–the driver didn't get him with the bus-mounted stop signs tonight–it was a side door.) You could see the dye-pack gag coming from a mile away; Reno compensates for the obvious punch line by taking it as far as possible. That's another principle of the show: If the joke is obvious, take it over the top. In this case, that meant not just a couple dye packs exploding in Junior's face, but a whole box of them completely coating him in paint. The joke isn't subtle, but the decision-making behind it is more thought out than it may seem. There's some comedy theory to these hi-jinks.
The episode really kicked into gear in the following scene at the briefing room, where Dangle tries to talk the deputies into volunteering for Phantom Limbs (!!), a camp for limbless children who come from Eastern Bloc countries with a land-mine problem. "If they were American kids, I would consider it," Johnson says dismissively. "I'm sorry we're importing our limbless children," Dangle responds. Here's where Garcia and Jones get their Burger Cousin assignment, which they think means getting double pay: their regular cop pay + what Burger Cousin would pay employees. Not true, according to Dangle: When Wiegel went undercover as a prostitute, she gave two handjobs but didn't get to keep the money. Apparently the funds went to a nok-hockey table for the rumpus room, leading to Wiegel's zinger about jerking off a crackhead. (Incidentally, what the hell is nok hockey? Perhaps I'm betraying my Texan upbringing when I say I had to rewind a couple of times to make sure I heard correctly. Google set me straight after I tried to search for "knock hockey," and when I found a nok-hockey game, it made Wiegel's handjobs even more pathetic.)
There was no Andrew, Terry, or Steve tonight, but one of Reno's other recurring miscreants, Big Mike, made an appearance. And there a weird sort of black homicidal version of Andrew.
His mannerisms completely reminded me of Andrew, though instead of complaining about his latest escapades at a brothel, this guy had apparently decapitated someone. Anyway, back to Big Mike: He and a child companion (his son?) named Stewart are trying to create an angry mob–Mike literally wields a torch, Stewart a pitchfork. Why? Some Italians moved in on his block, which Mike indicates with a really crappy stereotypical Italian voice–"I like-a the pizza pie!" Dangle notes, "That's a hate crime–the combination of the torch and the funny accent." When Dangle and Junior try to warn Stewart about Big Mike and encourage him to be somebody, they're shot down by Big Mike's killer line about Stewart being a "randy child." Cut to Mike in cuffs face down on the asphalt.
Really, there were more shenanigans on tonight's episode than I have time to deconstruct here–Kimball taking advantage of Cindy the Asian intern; the dominatrix's graphic advertisements upsetting the kettle-corn makers (and Dangle analyzing the way black women talk); the deputies using the polygraph and getting into a fistfight (Clemmy scores a zinger with "Oh I know I'm a dirty bitch!"); and Seth Green's piece de resistance to Jones and Garcia: "That chili I had for lunch resulted in an explosive bathroom experience. And I don't know how to put this delicately, but I missed the toilet entirely. It was if there was a vacuum sucking things out of my body and just projecting them all over the bathroom wall." Again, gold!
With only one episode left in this half of the season, Reno 911! has significantly upped the ante for laughs in a single episode. It makes me think a few preceding episodes were weaker than I initially thought. Here's hoping momentum carries into what comes next, the last episode before the half-season break.
— The goofiest picture I have seen of Seth Green yet.
— Hey, remember how you were dying for a sequel to 2003's The Italian Job, a.k.a. Ocean's Italian? Well, you're in luck! Seth Green, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Mos Def, and more are hard at work on The Brazilian Job, due out next year. Will they earn enough money to pay off the casino boss they robbed? Find out at a theater near you!