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Funniest Buddy Cop Shows

Buddy cop shows have some of the funniest team-ups.

By Stephen HamiltonPublished 8 years ago 6 min read

There are certain mainstays in the film industry in regards to genre. The every man action hero. The scary monster horror movie. And the buddy cop comedy. There’s something so likable about seeing two characters team up in the name of justice. For an audience, it provides such a great pathos and there’s nothing more fun than watching two beloved characters bro out. These are our picks for the craziest buddy cop shows of all time.

Ichabod Crane is resurrected two and a half centuries after he died in order to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the times of the founding fathers. This is the ridiculous premise of Sleepy Hollow, but it does have an undeniable charm about it, and I remember when one of my friends first told me about it, I was more than a little skeptical. But the dichotomy between the main character Ichabod Crane and his confident Abbie Mills is one that as you watch the show, you become hopelessly invested in. It also proposes quite a lot of “what if” questions. What would someone from the 1700’s think of modern day society? Would they have interesting insights? Would their social norms conflict with what is normal today? There’s a lot of dramatic and comedic potential in the fish-out-of-water scenario, which is what I love about the show. And besides, who can resist a good investing mystery.

Adrian Monk is one of the best detectives on the San Francisco Police Department. However, his obsessive compulsive disorder gets in the way in every case. This show is headed up by the charming Tony Shalhoub, who has been commended for his remarkable portrayal of mental health in a way that is both comedic and sensitive to the actual reality of those with obsessive compulsive disorder. The nickname that’s coined to describe Monk is “The Defective Detective,” due to the mental breaks he is prone to as well as his strange eccentricities that could make him a liability on the force. He has photographic memory and the unique ability to be able to piece small details together in order to solve a case, but a lot of the comedic moments come with his interaction with other characters and how his mental condition gets in the way of normal social encounters.

The adventures of a deranged and dumb police detective as he solves crime the only way he knows how: In the most violent and outrageous way possible. What makes this show ridiculous should be evident to anyone who even gives it a cursory glance. Sledge Hammer is a direct parody of the macho man's man in action films in the mid to late 80s and how impractical that would actually be on a real life police force. The comedy is evident, and although somewhat under appreciated by modern audiences, the self satirical style of the show has had influences that can be gently tracked to much of modern police comedy in Hollywood. What happens when you give a detective a gun? Evidently too much violence.

I have but one thing to say. Thank God for Leslie Nielsin. Ok, maybe I’ve got a little more to say than that, but my point still stands. He was the absolute king of comedy in my eyes, and his gags and witty dialogue are still considered to be some of the greatest to ever have graced our screens. Police Squad follows the story of an inept police squad on their various escapades using sight gags and deadpan humor. Police Squad laid down the groundwork which the Naked Gun trilogy would soon come to work on. Police Squad takes place in a bizarre universe where everything is taken quite literally. So, for example, if someone were to say, “That rings a bell,” a bell would ring. Not the best example, but you can imagine the laughs that come in rapid succession in every episode. The ridiculousness of Police Squad comes from the wacky humor that knows not to take itself too seriously.

The lives of seven incompetent Reno sheriff's deputies are detailed in this Cops style parody. Among the colorful characters are Lt. Jim Dangle, the short shorts-wearing, flamboyantly gay supervisor; Deputy James Garcia, who makes police brutality an art form; Deputy Trudy Wiegel, the manic depressive, socially awkward officer; Deputy Clementine Johnson, the skanky former magician's assistant; Deputy Travis Junior, the redneck who is never seen without his kevlar vest and sunglasses; Deputy S. Jones, the semi-competent ladies' man; and Deputy Raineesha Williams, the bootylicious black cop with an attitude. Just from that breakdown of the characters you can see that the comedy is going to come thick and fast. The buddy cop element of Reno 911 isn’t actually between just two cops, but between the entire cast. It’s an interesting take on the tried and true formula which is used so often, and in my eyes it really works. On a purely mathematical level, by upping the amount of “buddies” to seven, the combinations and potential for hilarity multiply greatly.

Oh yes, here’s the big daddy. For the two of you who don’t know the premise of Knight Rider, a super duper crime fighter patrols the streets of the city with the help of his indestructible and artificially intelligent supercar. It’s so camp, but I love it so much. Plus, for bonus marks, David Hasselhoff plays the cop in question. How cool is that?! And if you thought Reno 911 was a clever twist on the buddy cop drama, then you’ve seen nothing yet. Buddy cop implies two humans, but the dynamic between The Hoff and his supercar is simply magnificent. I hope Knight Rider never fades into obscurity. It’s incredible amounts of cheesy dialogue and storyline and pastiche fight scenes make it an absolute blast to watch with your friends with a couple of drinks. If you want to see more of The Hoff, go watch True Survivor on YouTube. You won’t regret it.

Don’t worry, we’re not stuck in the 80s here. In fact, Lucifer has just come out and is still airing! Lucifer, bored from his sulking life in hell comes to live in Los Angeles only to help humanity with its murder mysteries by using his experience and telepathic abilities to bring people's deepest desires and thoughts out of them. While meeting with a girl in his nightclub (called Lux), a shootout involving him and the girl leads him to become a LAPD consultant who tries to punish people for their crimes through law and justice. I mean, at the very least, what a brilliant concept. There’s nothing much better than a great anti-hero, and you can’t get a lot better than Satan.

No, dear God no not the film. Don’t even think about that atrocity. No, I’m talking about the original TV show from back in the 80’s. If you though Knight Rider was the pinnacle of cheese, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Stubble-faced detective Crockett lived in a sailboat guarded by his alligator Elvis. His partner Tubbs was a black New York cop looking for his brother's killer. Together they took on the Florida drug world. The show influenced men's fashions toward Italo-casual and interior decor toward the Miami look. The show was a cultural maelstrom of flashy clothes and modern music. If anyone doubts the power of TV, get them to take a look at Miami Vice and how much its fashion quite literally changed the world.

21 Jump Street actually had a really great movie (and a sequel) in more recent years, which I’d highly recommend watching if you haven’t, but the TV show it was based on is just as excellent. 21 Jump Street is the headquarters for a squad of police officers who specialize in investigations relating to young people. Each of the Jump St. personnel was selected for their ability to pass for high school or college students, allowing them to operate undercover in areas where it is difficult for regular police officers to blend in unnoticed. It’s one of those shows, although it doesn’t have an overall central plot, the very premise allows it to stretch on for a very long, enjoyable fun filled time.

I’ll admit it. Nathan Fillion is my man crush. I can’t deny it, but first Firefly then Castle? The man has some undeniable talent. Richard "Rick" Castle is a millionaire playboy who recently killed off his main character when a serial killer starts killing people like he does in his books. He teams up with New York police detective Kate Beckett to solve the case. He finds inspiration in Detective Beckett and starts shadowing her for his next book. A character filled drama mixed with some tantalizing sexual tension between the two buddies leads to some riveting TV which I would recommend sooner than I could say, “God, Nathan Fillion’s chin is just so damn chiseled.”


About the Creator

Stephen Hamilton

Definitive movie buff. Quickly realized that it was more financially prudent to write about film than trying to beg for millions of dollars to make his own.

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    Stephen HamiltonWritten by Stephen Hamilton

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