Our Kickstarter campaign has received $74,000 from over 2,000 backers! TV Tropes 2.0 is coming. There is no stopping it now. We have 4 days left. At $75K we can also develop an API and at $100K the tropes web series will be produced. View the project here and discuss here.
Police officers work hard every day. They put their lives on the line, protecting the rights of you and me to feel safe. They are serious and disciplined, and do their job to the best of their ability, holding themselves to a high standard of conduct.Then there's these guys.Reno 911! is an Improvmockumentary-style parody of COPS and similar reality shows, that ran on Comedy Central for six seasons from 2003 to 2009 and continues in reruns. Much of the material is improvised, based on a broad outline, with minimal scripted material. It features members of the fictitious Reno Sheriff's Department, videotaped in the course of their duties, sometimes addressing the camera directly as though being interviewed.
This series provides examples of:
All Just a Dream: The season three premiere parodies the season 2 premiere casting the season 1 finale as a Dream Within a Dream by subverting this: Dangle waking up and describing the horrible nightmare he had (the season 2 finale), only to remember that it wasn't a nightmare and they're all in prison.
The Season Four finale saw Dangle about to enter into a gay marriage-analogue with another man when Garcia comes in, professes his love, and steals him away, only for Garcia to reveal in the Season Five premiere that he was just kidding and would like to remind Jim that gay marriage is illegal.
After the season 5 finale, which ends with the cops' parade float going up in a ball of flames followed by a police funeral, the copout was subverted subverted. The Season 6 premiere reveals that Johnson, Garcia, and Kimball actually were Killed Off for Real.
Clock Discrepancy: A psychic tells Jones that he'll lose one of his testicles by midnight. He spends the episode worrying about it, and he's relieved when a clock shows that it's past midnight. Then someone mentions that clock is a little fast; cue testicle injury.
Completely Missing the Point: While being filmed for a kids' show, Dangle relates how Junior once stepped on a hypodermic needle at the beach and thought he might have contracted AIDS. When asked to change it to something more appropriate for children, Dangle says that Junior stepped on a "beach ball" but keeps the rest of the story intact, including the part about AIDS.
Later in the same episode, the show's host goes on patrol with Junior, who verbally points out every prostitute he sees. The host asks him to say "I saw a bucket" instead. Junior then nonchalantly mentions that there's a "bucket goin' down on a Puerto Rican right there."
Declan and Rizzo in the last season are more straightforward examples.
Cool, but Inefficient: The Hummer the department buys with money they didn't have to spend on a case settlement.
Clementine: "All right, yeah, it get 6 miles to the gallon on the highway, and 3 miles around town... y'know, the air conditioner doesn't work so well, and it's not very comfortable, um... but I just look so damn good in it, y'know what I mean?"
The horses Garcia and Jones temporarily ride.
Cool Car: Fast Eddie McLintock's "Battle Hymn Of The Republic"-honking black-with-flame-decals Corvette.
Cool Shades: All the cops, but Junior is almost never seen without his.
When he took them off during the department's indictment, he was shown to be cross-eyed, due to getting steam in his eyes back in the '80s.
Disposable Sex Worker: Mike Powers reveals that he's cut the heads off of "a lot of hookers". Assuaging their tormentor, the deputies he has at gunpoint respond by saying, "They're hookers."
Scott: "Three heads I understand, nine heads I don't get, Mike. That's crazy."
Dream Within a Dream: Season 2 begins with a Previously On showing the last shot of Season 1 (everybody lying dead on the floor in the Reno County Morgue as Jones says "Guys?..."), then cutting to Dangle waking up in bed next to Kenny Rogers. Dangle asks whose dream this is, followed by Garcia waking up in a morning briefing.
Drunk on Milk: At Kimball's Christian singles group, Clementine claims "I'm soooooo wasted!" before being told that they're serving non-alcoholic beer.
Clementine: I'm sorry. I saw what looked like beer, and my mind just... took me to Drunk Town.
Donut Mess with a Cop: "Yes Donut? More like <bleep> Yes Donut. Five percent discount for law enforcement." However, they are not fat.
Dysfunction Junction: With the exception of the time the FBI was brought in in Season 1 to help catch a serial killer and a couple others, nobody who visits the precinct leaves without exposing themselves as a horrible, horrible person. Even a visiting English constable ends up robbing a bank on duty, getting shot to death, and being shipped home in a cardboard box.
Hannibal Lecture: Parodied by Mike Powers right down to the glass cell on Jones by claiming to know about Jones's "gritty ghetto life." However, it fails as Jones casually admits he grew up in the well-off WASP-y suburb of Mound, Minnesota. Mike Powers then sheepishly tells where he's hid a body.
Harassing Phone Call: After being exposed as a serial killer on the run, District Attorney Mike Powers makes threatening calls, notes, and text messages to each of the cops. They basically tune it out.
Dangle: I'm trying to get my junk mail filter to work on this...
Have We Met?: One episode has Dangle run into a guy outside of a donut shop. He runs through half a dozen gay hangouts, but can't remember why the guy looks familiar. As they part ways, once the guy enters the store and starts holding it up, Dangle remembers where he's seen the guy:
Dangle: Wanted poster! Wanted poster!
Heroic BSOD: More like Protagonist BSOD. Dangle and Junior have one after they walk in on Wiegel in the bath and tell her that the man who says he's her father isn't. And she knows. Then starts singing "pop, pop, go the bubbles." They walk out, clearly BSO Ding. Turns out they're also tripping on peyote.
Hummer Dinger: In one episode, the deputies got issued a Hummer and were ecstatic about it... until they encountered problem after problem due to its bulk and poor gas mileage.
Jones: By the way, Jim, do I speak clearly and—and—and—uh—and clear—and clearly as for black man?
Dangle: Often, but not right then.
Is This Thing Still On?: A variant occurs as a Running Gag: the deputies will be scheduled to make some public announcement and, while waiting for the broadcast to start, amuse themselves in various unprofessional ways. When they actually go on the air, they're too distracted to notice.
It's a Costume Party, I Swear: Inverted in one episode in which Dangle hosts a murder mystery dinner theater and tells the other deputies it's a "dress-up party"—meaning they should dress up nicely. Junior interprets this a little differently and shows up dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Jumping the Shark: Parodied In-Universe in 'Bounty Hunter Tommy Hawk' where the department is hosting a 'Jumping the Shark for Autism' fundraiser. May double as a Self-Deprecation, considering the content of the previous episode (the fifth season's season premiere).
Jerkass: Everybody, but especially Garcia. One of the early episodes described Jones hitting Garcia as "throwing shit onto a big shit pile that already has too much shit on it."
Jurisdiction Friction: At least once a season, they'll chase someone all the way to the California border.
Also, every now and then someone from the FBI will come in to take over a case. It's gone over differently each time.
Later seasons involved arguments on a bridge between Reno officers and those of a neighboring county whose line they shared in the middle of a river.
Kavorka Woman: Wiegel. No matter how much they hate/loathe/mock her, even Dangle has voluntarily at least made out with her.
Really, everyone in the department could qualify. It's pretty much impossible to think of anyone in the show who hasn't had sex with each and every other officer.
Killed Off for Real: The season 5 finale shows a large explosion, followed by a funeral. We learn during the season 6 premiere that Garcia, Johnson, and Kimball all died, although they're quickly replaced by Declan and Rizzo.
Kissing Cousins: Deputies Kimball and Junior. They don't realize it until the latter lies about being shot on the pavement cradled by the former, the two share a kiss, and then the former starts talking about her uncle, which the latter realizes they also share.
One perp on drugs starts making out with Dangle thinking that he's his "really hot cousin".
The Klan: A Running Gag has the officers respond to a Klansman who claims to be fighting racism. His stunts include running a lemonade stand with "Free lemonade for n***s!" or lighting a "lowercase 't' for tolerance" in his yard.
The Klutz: The Klansman's sidekick ends up hurting himself at the end of all their skits, by e.g. setting himself on fire, falling off a ladder or getting his hand stuck in a blender.
While toying with the new bomb squad robot, they have it pick up a bottle of liqour then tip some out, Lt. Dangle saying it's for the "dead robot homies" while speaking in monotone.
Jones does this with the malt liquor Garcia gives him in "Jones Gets Suspended".
Long-Lost Relative: Played with in an episode where, when things are going badly for Garcia and he's particularly depressed, he runs into his long-lost daughter. Turns out that she's not really his daughter but a stripper that the gang paid to pretend to be his daughter to cheer him up.
Manipulative Editing: In-Universe. The milkshake guy, after convincing Jones and Garcia to let bygones be bygones after their lengthy foot chase, tells them the costume is so thick he couldn't feel anything and encourages them to hit him, to no avail. As he's walking home, he's hit a truck. The episode ends with a newscaster playing a clip of just them beating him, accusing them of police brutality, and blames them for his death.
Mistaken for Cheating: In one episode, the other deputies notice Garcia being very affectionate with an attractive woman. When they see her leave Garcia's house with another man, they wait for them to return and ambush him, threatening him with bodily harm if he ever comes back to Nevada. Turns out the woman was Garcia's sister, and the guy they beat up was her actual boyfriend.
Mistaken Nationality: In "The Prefect of Wanganui", the deputies mistake a crazy homeless man for the titular New Zealand prefect.
Junior's bulletproof vest over his shirt. When asked why he wears it like this, he reveals that he was hungover when he first put his uniform on and came in to work, and he kept wearing it in this fashion ever since.
This is part Truth in Television as most Canadian police officers wear it over their shirt in this exact fashion.
Trudi's cat costume in the Halloween Episode. Apparently, she does it every year, because every year she's told everybody's going to.
Junior: I don't think there's even a kitchen appliance that peels a kiwi.
Of Course I'm Not A Virgin: Trudi's response to being called a "virgin" in her first Lamaze Class is "I'm not a virgin, I had sex to have a baby." (Subverted, considering she got the sperm from a sperm bank.)
Raineesha had a more interesting case in that it was revealed in the episode 'Strong Sister' that her entire name & possibly identity is fake.
Jones: Her real name is Megan Linderman
Origins Episode: "VHS Transfer Memory Lane", in which the deputies watch old videotapes of themselves.
Dangle cuts the legs off his trousers to save himself after they catch fire and in the process creates his signature shorts.
Junior gets steam in his eyes, explaining his glasses.
Wiegel is revived by Dangle after an explosion and comes back with brain damage.
Big Mike is their lieutenant, but gets hooked on confiscated meth.
Pimped-Out Car: One of the drivers Junior pulls over drives one of these. Junior proceeds to inquire all about it, gawking at the several after-market performance enhancements. He tries to start it, and it explodes.
Pity Sex: Dangle threw Trudy a "pity fuck". Jonesy did the same for Dangle once, too.
Porn Stache: All of the men except Jones. One episode focuses on them gathering signatures to stop the state passing legislation requiring them to shave. They end up making them mandatory.
Prison Rape: Apparently happens to Craig, Wiegel's serial killer boyfriend, in prison. The phones aren't working, so he tries to tell her in charades. Wiegel, of course, doesn't get it.
Wiegel: "Somebody's been bass taping you? Have you been bass taped?"
See above for Craig's attempts to ask for help via charades.
Jonesy and Garcia get tacos from a drive-through restaurant that happens to be in the middle of a robbery. They completely miss every hint that the woman at the window tries to give them. They even manage to misinterpret a note included with their order that explicitly states that there are two armed men inside (because obviously, the men working inside would have to have two arms, or they wouldn't be able to make tacos).
Running Gag: Dangle's bike gets stolen every time it's off camera. Every time.
The deputies get in a car chase and try to report in the license plate, only to realize it's a novelty plate. They get so engrossed in trying to figure out what it says that they crash into the back of the suspect's car.
Any segment with Jones and Garcia. Either it turned into: a chase sequence or an argument. The segments could almost be mistaken for a Show Within a Show. The two were probably the most effective partners, in spite of the fact that Garcia is racist.
Shaggy Dog Story: Dangle and Weigel are tasked with explaining to the obstinate bride at a bungee-jumping wedding that it's illegal to bungee-jump off that particular bridge. She finally relents (after realizing her unflattering mugshot will show up on the Internet if she gets arrested), and the couple is married without incident. Then the bride tosses the bouquet over the side of the bridge... and one of the bridesmaids follows it.
Dangle: She's fine. My associate's vomiting for a completely unrelated reason.
The entirely of season 3 episode 4, "SARS Outbreak" is basically two unrelated Shaggy Dog stories. When the officers are being filmed for a children's show, they quickly realize that very little of what they do on a daily basis is kid-appropriate. They try to stage a cat "rescue" by planting one of Weigel's cats on a roof, but that also backfires when Junior drops the cat into a wood chipper. At the end, when everyone tunes in to watch the episode, they discover that the entire episode was scrapped and replaced with one about firemen. Meanwhile, Jones, Weigel and Dangle spend a nerve-wracking two days in quarantine thinking they've contracted SARS from a dead perp, only to find that the man died of AIDS.
Junior: "The Reno Sheriff's Department is a perfect law enforcement engine. And you do not make an engine faster by adding another part. You make an engine faster by putting nitrous in it. And I don't mean an analogy, I mean... *thumps the hood of his squad car* we should get nitrous in our cars."
Six Is Nine: In "Security For Kenny Rogers", the officers completely trash a crying woman's apartment in a drug search and find nothing. They finally spell out the address ("917 Keystone Avenue, number 6"), and she tells them that this is apartment 9, not 6, and reveals that a nail has fallen out of the number on the door. Subverted when it turns out that it really was number 6 all along, and they return just in time to find her flushing a bag of drugs down the toilet.
When the deputies are being filmed as part of a children's TV show, Clementine holds up a bag of cocaine. She then tells the children watching not to touch this if they find any, because... it's expensive.
An author asks the Reno Sheriff's Department and then the fire department to rescue his manuscript - the only copy of his book - from a burning building. They first refuse to help him until he tells them what the book is about, and then refuse to help him because it's too derivative of Frequency.
Slapstick: In every episode, usually involving Junior. A Running Gag has him stopping a car only to get knocked out somehow when the driver opens the door.
Sorry Ociffer: Happens in almost every episode. In one particularly egregious instance, the driver is not only drunk, but legally blind.
Subverted in an episode in which Garcia admonishes a group of women on a bachelorette party. Then played hardcore straight when, as he's leaving, Dangle and Junior come out from another room, dancing and dressed only in their utility belts and underwear.
In another, after Junior is shot and Kimball is the only one around to keep him conscious while they wait for an ambulance, they share a kiss to prove she's not a lesbian, then start talking about how the other looks like a relative, until coming to the conclusion that they're cousins.
Take Our Word for It: At one point, the deputies play a game with a corpse draped by a sheet with a misshapen protrusion, taking turns trying to guess what it is. The sheet is never lifted to the camera, but the deputies state that the one who guessed "roller blade" was close.
Take That: A stagehand for Ted Nugent insults/commands ridiculous things for Garcia and Jones to do when they're only supposed to be security right down to calling them dumbasses (note: that they didn't even do anything yet.) In response, they unleash the mob onto "Ted" and the stagehand. Given Ted's track record it could've only been more of an up yours if Dangle wasn't involved (Tom Lennon was playing "Ted.")
To the Pain: After Raineesha is tricked into putting her hand through "Spanish Mike" Alvarez's cell door:
Raineesha: You're hurting my wrist.
Spanish Mike: There are many levels of pain. You have just crossed into the... 'welcome mat'. You have not even entered the door, walked down the hallway, and gone up the stairs to visit the V.I.P. rooms."
Truth in Television: Well, truth in another television show: The arrest segments in COPS are sometimes just as baffling as their parodies here. In both shows, the more mentally unstable or drug-fueled criminals provide the police with a five to ten minute Big Lipped Alligator Moment after the officers respond to the disturbance calls.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: A few segments involved the deputies giving lectures to schoolchildren. No matter what kind of mayhem ensued on stage, the kids would always just sit and look bored.
Ventriloquism: Jones does a bit with a dressed-up Clementine as the dummy, complete with corny mouth movements and less-than-impressive water-drinking speech.
We Should Get Another Tape: Subverted. Clementine reveals that Jones has something he would have wanted everybody to see, and then pops in a videotape of the two of them having sex. She apologizes and says the part she was talking about is later on the tape. Turns out, it's not a Video Will: it's just something Jones said after they had sex.