Rewatching 21 Jump Street! It’s drugs versus nerds in season two, episode nineteen, “Raising Marijuana.”
What’s goin’ down: A mega-rich drug peddler is using high school kids as drivers, so Penhall and Ioki go undercover in school, while Hoffs goes way deeper undercover as the villain’s new love interest.
Here’s Hanson: No Depp this week, kids. Guess he was already getting movie offers by this point.
Penhall’s prerogatives: To establish a cover, Penhall and Ioki pose as the school nerds. Not nerds! This allows for a running gag in which they try to convince everyone they’re identical twins.
Undercover blues: Oh, Hollywood undercover cops, you and your divided loyalties. Hoffs gets to know Charles, the stinking rich drug magnate, and starts to feel he’s a nice guy and not some hardened criminal.
Goin’ to the chapel: Jump Street is partnering on the case with “administrative narcotics” (is that a real thing?). When the narcotics detective is killed, that tips the scales for Hoffs, renewing her purpose to catch Charles.
Torn from today’s headlines: Marijuana! The point is made that hundreds of thousands of pounds of wacky-tobacky enter the USA every day, and the ones handling the shipping are the ones with the real money and power. I’m actually not a drug dealer, so I don’t know if this is true, but it’s interesting.
Trivia time: A couple of recognizable ‘80s-era character actors in this one. Charles is played by Christian Clemeson, whom you might remember from And the Band Played Played On and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. The smarmy narcotics detective is played by Sam McMurray, who portrayed similarly smarmy characters in Raising Arizona and The Tracey Ullman Show. (Could McMurray’s involvement mean this episode’s title is direct shout-out to the previous year’s Raising Arizona? It’s possible.)
The villain-of-the-week Charles would seem to have a lot in common with Gus Fring from Breaking Bad. Both are seemingly ordinary (if rich) guys, who don’t deal directly with addicts and who abhor violence, shipping drugs in vast quantities as merely “business.” I did a ton of Googling, but I couldn’t find anything directly linking Breaking Bad to this episode though, so I guess we’ve got to call it a coincidence.
Jumpin’ or not? We’re in full-on “cop show” mode here, but it’s nice to have an episode with Hoffs in the spotlight without her going into hysterics. This is balanced by comedy high jinks at school so it never gets too serious. It’s Jumpin’.
Next: Surprise guest star!
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