Fans of the quirky, eccentric comedy series Reno 911! know full well that the group led by Jim Dangle (played by Thomas Lennon) are brilliant failures in all of their duties. They are lackadaisical, lazy and clumsy — just like the 4Chan and 8Chan posts that comprise the lore of QAnon.
Who better to solve the mystery of the dumbest modern conspiracy theory than the dumbest cops on TV? For as goofy (and funny) as Reno 911! The Hunt for QAnon is, it also perfectly exhibits the eye-rolling lunacy of the conspiracy theory, showing that the minds behind the film really did their research of this extremist belief system.
The plot kicks off when the Reno Sheriff’s Department receives their latest assignment: they must find Q and deliver him or her with a subpoena from Pizza Midget, a restaurant (with no basement!) alleging that they’ve received death threats because of Q’s posts, a reference to PizzaGate. So the team books tickets with a QAnon-themed cruise in the hopes of finding Q aboard. This could be a reference to 2016’s Conspira-Sea cruise, or it could just be the creative perfection of being stuck at sea with weirdos.
The ship has a giant chess set on it, which pokes fun at Jeffrey Epstein’s bizarre chessboard in his New York townhouse. Parts of the so-called “Human Chess Set” are said to resemble some of the people who worked for him (though the Reno 911! set just has regular pieces). One of the crew members is named Officer Memes. In the film it’s pronounced mem-ez, but with the subtitles on, it’s recognizable as a reference to the QAnon digital soldier’s favorite weapon: internet memes.
The Hunt for QAnon includes guest appearances from comedians Brian Posehn and Riki Lindhome. Posehn plays a Proud Boy/Oath Keeper character and Lindhome is the lady “who pooped on Nancy Pelosi’s desk.” While Dangle chats with her, undercover, he claims to be a real estate agent. In reality, there have been countless real estate agents who have ended up in QAnon. The most well-known of these is probably Jenna Ryan, who took a private jet to the Capitol Building on January 6th of last year, and is currently trying to make a name for herself in the realm of right wing celebrated victimhood martyrs.
The team attends the main speaking event, where it’s announced that former lawyer for Donald Trump, Sidney Powell, could not attend due to being placed under house arrest. QAnon loves gossiping about celebrities under supposed house arrest. Anytime someone has a foot or ankle injury and has to wear a special boot, it means they’re actually wearing an ankle monitor for some reason.
The man speaking in Powell’s place is played by comedian Patton Oswalt, who in 2020 was the target of a doctored tweet that seemed to link him to Pizzagate, so here’s hoping his presence in Hunt for QAnon is a purposeful troll. (Tom Hanks, another celebrity on QAnon’s hate list, is mentioned in conversation only and does not appear in the film.) Oswalt’s character is named Ron, a clear reference to Ron Watkins, a likely suspect for one of Q’s online incarnations.
Ron tells Clementine Johnson he’s Q, not knowing she’s undercover. In her assignment to seduce him to gather information, she visits his quarters, where he tells her, “It’s really rare when women come into my room,” alluding to the Incel (short for involuntary celibate) culture that came into power on the toxic environments of 4Chan and 8Chan, the same places where Q’s posts appeared.
Clemmie attempts to serve Ron the subpoena for Q, but he flees, first on foot and then on a motorized scooter. The cops, also on scooters, give chase, with Ron yelling, “F**k you Deep State! You’re not cancelling me!” as well as, “Out of my way libtards!” and, “Help me Roger Stone!”
This could be a reference to Alpalus Slyman, a Boston QAnon believer who led police on a high-speed chase for 20 miles, with his wife and five children in the car. Slyman live-streamed the chase (because of course he did), while calling out to Trump. His family can be heard pleading with him to stop the car, and at one point, his wife even leapt out. Slyman was eventually taken into custody and no one was seriously injured.
It’s later revealed that Ron is not actually Q; he’s a “gym instructor from Fresno.” Fitness enthusiasts — especially Crossfit adherents — have become a staple of QAnon followers. The health, fitness and supplement industries are ripe for this kind of thinking.
When the crew of the ship mutinies, they force the team (and Ron) adrift in a raft. While Ron isn’t Q, he does claim to work with the Q team headquartered on Jeffrey Epstein’s island (Little St. James), which had been the subject of many Q-Drops. Dangle manages to navigate to the island, and upon landing, Ron tells them they’re being taken prisoner.
The person in charge is played by the ever delightful RuPaul, who explains to the team the source of the Q Drops: an old, semi-operable Speak N’ Spell that washed up on the island years ago. She demonstrates the process, giving the Speak N’ Spell a shake, causing it to say, “Oprah has bears,” and, “The flu is from France,” which is then excitedly posted on 8Chan.
An action-filled fight sequence complete with a bodyguard dressed like the famous QAnon Shaman follows (or does it?), and the team escapes on a yacht. The camera pulls back to show everyone (including Ron) at the front of the boat, bunched up in a pose they call “Human Centipede Titanic!” The name of the ship is revealed to be “Plan B,” which was also the name of the yacht owned by Ghislaine Maxwell’s boyfriend, Ted Waitt. A perfect getaway vehicle.
Special thanks to Travis View of the QAnon Anonymous podcast for the information on “Plan B.”
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