Peculiarly, tonight's episode of Reno 911! lends itself to list-making. A variety of scenes practically require an inventory of comedic elements, from the mise en scene–bet you'd never see those words in a Reno 911! write-up–to the dialogue. They won't make as much sense without some background first, so here's a quick overview of this evening's festivities.
A big part of Dangle's "tragic life story" (his words) hinges on his father, who abandoned Dangle and his mom when he was a boy. Dangle's mom killed herself, while his dad settled with an African-American woman in Chicago and fathered another family–and ignored Dangle. (Perhaps making him gay? Nature or nurture, folks. Discuss.)
Well, the old man kicked the bucket, and Dangle's half-brother and half-sister are flying out to visit him for the first time. Most important, there's the matter of the will. Maybe, Dangle figures, daddy will reward him in death for neglecting him in life. This being Reno 911!, we all know that Dangle will end up humiliated–and possibly disfigured–in the end.
For the major plot point, this episode stuck closely–eight of 18 scenes–to Dangle preparing for their visit, which entailed coercing Williams to be his black beard. Not only did he need to look straight, but he needed to be a man who preferred the dark meat. That entailed removing loads of gay décor (loads of gay…snicker), catching up on issues facing the black community, and learning not to let his woman "pop off" to him. This, of course, was a prescription for disaster.
Gay décor in Dangle's apartment:
— Large rainbow flag
— Phantom Of The Opera poster
— Poster of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom related to Pirates Of The Caribbean ("There's nothing gay about that. I like pirates…and actors…and I like men who act like pirates…and I like smooth little boys."
— Kitschy oil lamp
— At least two hunky dude wall calendars
— Rainbow magnets all over fridge, with other magnets of mostly naked men (one of whom wears a shirt saying "I'm super gay.")
— "#1 Boyfriend" statuette
Topics of conversation for Dangle with his black half-siblings, according to Williams:
— OJ didn't do it
— You have to take a side on the whole Biggie-Tupac beef
(Question: Did controversy stop in the black community by 1997? There aren't more recent debates they could put in here? Seriously, this part could not have been written more by white people. Granted, Reno did get a little bit of mileage out of the OJ part.)
Tonight's episode was the first in a couple of weeks not to feature all three members of the Reno Miscreant Trio (Steve, Andrew, and Terry), sticking to a funny bit with Andrew once again causing a scene in the brothel. This time, he's the one who dialed 911: Apparently the crème de menthe blowjob he wanted–the mint gives it a little tingle!–was bunk. He suspects the prostitute used, of all things, peach schnapps! "You wanna know the truth?" Andrew says. "Taste my manhood." When Dangle and Junior balk, Andrew says they should swab it, so the CSI-like lab techs can run tests. Considering how the lab techs scrambled a ransom note while steaming open the envelope, they lack the ability for such a test.
Possible contents of ransom note, whose letters were accidentally scrambled by the crime lab:
— I gotta lick me.
— I gotta choose me a love!
— I got friends in low places.
— I'm a goat cheese-atori.
— I'm a goat cheese "lover."
— She dine a lot.
— I've got Mary. She dies at 1 o'clock. (Guess what time it is?)
Dangle's impending visit with his half-siblings wasn't the only racially themed shenanigan of the episode, either. Clemmy talks to Cindy, the Asian former sex-slave intern, about the message notes she's received–which are addressed to "Boobies."
Names of callers who left Clemmy messages, according to the intern:
— Charlie GI
— Charlie OK
— Gook (bleeped out, but you could read her lips)
But the episode ends with Dangle at the dinner table with his half-siblings, Eric and Bethany, which he pronounces "Erique" and "Befany" to be "blacker."
Dangle's dinner with his half-siblings and Williams:
— Fried chicken
— Collard greens
— Mashed potatoes
— A 40 of OE, poured into wine glasses
— Not on table, but noteworthy: Dangle's hideous, brightly colored paisley rayon shirt.
Unsurprisingly, dinner is awkward at best and cringe-inducing the rest of the time. When Dangle isn't referring to himself as a "poon hound," he's laughing inappropriately when Eric tells him he's a CPA. (Dangle first thinks Eric drives the El train on the CTA.) And, it turns out, it's all for the naught: The only inheritance he's getting is half of a funeral bill, because his siblings have taken the rest. Oh wait, no. He did get his father's treasured Banana Splits keychain. Well, at least he wasn't disfigured.
— Playing Bethany/Befany: the super-cute Aisha Tyler, who's done a lot of TV work over the past few years, including a stint as Ross' girlfriend on Friends, Mia Dickerson on CSI, and Ghost Whisperer. In other words, Reno may be her first good TV role. She's had better luck on the big screen: The Santa Clause 3, Balls Of Fury. Wait, "better luck" isn't what I meant.