An Oral History of ‘Reno 911!’

The creators, cast and guest stars of ‘Reno 911!’ talk about the show’s origins on Fox, its run on Comedy Central, the trio of movies, its Quibi rebirth and whether or not Dangle really killed his ex-wife

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Bonkers Comedy Sequels We Almost Got

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Bonkers Comedy Sequels We Almost Got

As we recently mentioned, Jim Carrey had the bananas idea of a Bruce Almighty sequel dubbed Brucifer that never came to fruition. This is a shame, really, as seeing Morgan Freeman go from “God voice” to sporting horns and gleefully watching as Carrey takes over his job of doing devil stuff would’ve been as equally hilarious as witnessing the inevitable fallout from various pearl-clutchers boycotting such blasphemy. The things we could’ve had.

But the 2003 film wasn’t the only comedy that almost got a left-field sequel that would certainly have caused a tear in the fabric of our universe. Somewhere in an alternate reality, there exist sequels of…

A 21 Jump Street/Men in Black Crossover

The idea of merging the cop movie with the cop but with aliens movie actually came closer to happening than its coke-fueled film exec Mad Libs premise would suggest. The core thinking was to have the black suits of the MIB become the equivalent of a martial arts belt — something to work up to for the 21 Jump Street pair who just want to stay in school and party forever. 

The end credits of the sequel, 22 Jump Street, treated us to some amazing scenarios the buddy cops could find themselves hitting in future installments: 

They ranged from Jonah Hill turning goth-punk in an art school sequel to Channing Tatum sporting a mustache the size of Moscow in a Russian romp. However, the immediate sequel would’ve seen them go to medical school, and directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord have said that this would’ve been the setting for the Men in Back crossover to happen: “It was basically the idea that Jonah and Channing… a thing happened while they were doing their medical school adventure that got them embroiled into the world of Men in Black, and they ended up teaming up to stop an alien takeover type of thing.”

While the creators admitted that the project proved too ambitious in the end — marrying narcs with secret alien hunters is apparently quite the challenge — Tatum has said that it was “the best third sequel to any franchise” he’s ever read. “Oh, funniest script. One of the funniest scripts I’ve ever read, bar none.” 

Given that the 2019 standalone sequel Men in Black: International failed to revive the franchise obsessed with suits and shades, it might’ve been better off hooking up with one of the most successful revivals of the 21st century. 

The Back to the Future Sequel With Marty’s Hippie Parents

Back to the Future Part II was about a lot of things. It was solely responsible for the hoverboard obsession, it warned against greed and profiteering and it clearly showed how easily women end up as collateral damage thanks to men and their love for gambling and gadgets. Marty's poor girlfriend, Jennifer, gets incapacitated and left in some alley in the future before having her whole world turned upside down, and his mom, Lorraine, ends up as Biff’s alcoholic wife sporting more bags under her eyes than Droopy.

In fairness, the “poor Jennifer” part was due to the fact that Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis never intended for Back to the Future to even have a sequel. Zemeckis has said that if they knew there’d be a sequel, they would never have put Marty’s girlfriend and future wife in the car at the end of the first one. “When it came time for us to write Part II, we didn’t know what we were gonna do with Jennifer. She wasn’t a very well-defined character, so we had no idea what to do with her.” 

When Gale set out to write the second film of the time-travel franchise, the basics were there. Marty, Doc and Jennifer go to 2015, where Biff steals the Sports Almanac, but instead of traveling to 1955, Marty needs to go back to 1967 to stop Biff from mucking up life for everyone. Marty somehow ends up in a 1960s jail, and who else but his future mom Lorraine gets to bail him out. But this turn of events causes her to miss a weekend away in San Francisco with her hippie husband George, and Marty deduces that the particular weekend in question was when his parents humped him into existence. 

Yes, Marty’s goal in this version would’ve been both to stop Biff from getting rich and to get his dad’s penis into his mom’s vagina so he will be born. Which, if we’re honest, is closer to the first movie than what we got.

Halloween Almost Had a Sequel With Way More Comedy Than Horror

It’s true that a few of the more than 67 Halloween movies have been funnier than the rest. Be it the unintentionally hilarious “this doesn’t even make sense” gibberish that was Halloween Kills or the one where Busta Rhymes electrocutes Michael Myers’ nuts.

But for the most part, this is not a franchise known for the LOLs — which is why it would’ve been one heck of a swing if Halloween 666: The Origin ended up getting greenlit. 

In this rendition, the horror would’ve taken a back seat to some weird comedy set pieces. Loomis is now an inmate of Smith’s Grove after years of not dealing with his own obsession, and the main heroine is some reporter from Chicago named Dana Childress who dreams of Myers and ancient pagan ceremonies because why should Elm Street have a monopoly on slasher dreams? So far, so standard, until you realize that there’s a big subplot involving a cult recreating their shenanigans inside some virtual reality game, and did we mention Myers now lives in a homeless shelter? Yeah, apparently, everyone’s okay with the guy there, which is one bizarre take on unhoused people, but okay, whatever.

It isn’t really easy deciding which part of this unmade sequel is the strangest. Is it the scene that went full A Clockwork Orange and showed four teenagers dressed as those codpiece-loving maniacs beating Myers to a pulp while bellowing “Singin’ in the Rain”? Is it that one of these teens gets a rat stuffed down his throat? Is it the tabloid “Big Brother” approach to covering Haddonfield’s trauma? 

Nah, I’d say it’s probably the scene in which Myers takes out a kid wearing a Jason Voorhees mask by drowning him with a beer bong.

Step Brothers 2: Retirement

Following the success of the comedy that saw Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly playing manchild frenemies, a couple of sequel ideas were thrown around for their characters, Dale and Brennan. One that came pretty close to getting the go-ahead involved the brothers’ parents moving into a retirement home. Naturally, Dale and Brennan follow them there, arguing that they, too, have earned the right to never work again and spend the rest of their lives eating unlimited Jell-O or whatever.

Sony Pictures Releasing

And somehow still ending up looking like this.

Of course, as wild and most certainly hysterical as that would’ve been, director Adam McKay has also come out and said that if a sequel were made today, Dale and Brennan would’ve been “way into QAnon.” As McKay told the New York Times in 2021: “They would eventually be having meetings at the house and somehow QAnon would drift into (Dad) Jenkins’ work life and the Q Shaman would show up at Jenkins’ workplace. They also would have loved Trump. I don’t want to speak for Ferrell and Reilly, but I think you could safely assume they would agree with that.”

Whether McKay is right or wrong, a sequel like that would probably have ruined the characters who, as we all know, just want to build their bunk beds and hang out in their boat treehouse all day. That is if they’re not jamming together at some fancy wine mixer.

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An Oral History of ‘Reno 911!’

The creators, cast and guest stars of ‘Reno 911!’ talk about the show’s origins on Fox, its run on Comedy Central, the trio of movies, its Quibi rebirth and whether or not Dangle really killed his ex-wife

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