Reno 911!



Whip-smart cop comedy is too hot for kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series makes law enforcement look like a joke, which is great for the sake of comedy but isn't meant to be serious message.

Positive role models

The cops drink, swear, and frequently break the law, although their slip-ups -- from tampering with evidence to goofing around at crimes scene -- aren't intentional; they're usually just the result of simple stupidity. Fortunately, the officers' moral blunders rarely yield positive results.


Since this is a show about law enforcement, guns are a regular part of the action. But all violent acts are committed in the name of comedy.


Officers regularly encounter prostitutes, strippers, and cross-dressers as part of their daily beats. Nudity (of the breasts and buttocks variety) is sometimes implied but always blurred out.


Minor swearing ("pissed," "damn," "whore," "bitch," etc.) is frequent, but usually used for comic effect. More serious infractions ("s--t," "f--k," "motherf----r") are also frequent but are bleeped out.


In Reno, "the biggest little city in the world," gambling is a visible cash cow.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drug busts involving cocaine, crack, and marijuana pop up on the police scanner from time to time. Cops are also occassionally called in to break up drunken brawls -- and sometimes take part in them, too.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that a majority of the dialogue in this guerrilla-style, tongue-and-cheek parody is improvised by the actors, so, for the most part, anything goes. The motley crew of "cops" who make up the Reno police force also frequently swear and violate the law, and they generally make terrible role models. But there's good news, in a way: Their slip-ups aren't intentional; they're usually just the result of simple stupidity. No role models to be found here, but plenty of comedy.

What's the story?

Filmed using a single-camera technique that mimics the on-the-job immediacy of COPS, improv comedy series RENO 911! follows the antics of the fictional Washoe County Sheriff's Department and the motley crew of officers therein, led by Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon), who has a fondness for the shortest of khaki shorts. Rounding out the force are deputies James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), Clementine Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Cheresa Kimball (Mary Birdsong), S. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough), Travis Junior (Ben Garant), Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney-Silver) and Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash), each of whom have their own idiosyncratic quirks. It's not uncommon for two officers to play a joke on another by slipping a little ether into his gas mask, for example, or for another member of the force to sample the drugs at a crime scene.

Is it any good?


Most parents would like their kids to grow up with a healthy respect for both police officers and the law, and that's the problem with this show when it comes to family viewing. It's bad enough that the officers aren't very good at their jobs; even worse, they frequently go out of their way to goof off -- and sometimes even break the law. It's hilarious stuff for grown-up viewers who prefer their satire droll and dark, but it's not meant for kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ways in which police officers and other law enforcement officials are portrayed in the media. Do reality shows like COPS (which served as the model for this shrewd spoof) make you and your family feel safer or more vulnerable to violent crime? Why do those whose mission is to "serve and protect" us often become the butt of derogatory jokes? And has the popularity of shows like CSI enhanced the image of all cops, or just those who wear smart suits and investigate crime scenes?

TV details

Cast:Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash, Thomas Lennon
Network:Comedy Central
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Reno 911! was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old August 15, 2010

dont let your kids watch it mostly just cuz it stupid

this show is just plain out stupid and innapropiate.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bydiania234 April 9, 2008

OMG this is such a funny show

I love this show. It is really funny. The cops are soo stupid. I recommed this show to 9 year olds because its comic.
Teen, 13 years old Written bymoviegeek222 April 9, 2008

Totally Hilarious

This show is SO FUNNY!!! I can't think of another cop show as humerous as this. Fun for kids 11+,that is.


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