Rewatching 21 Jump Street! How perfect is this? It’s almost Halloween, and here I am writing up the Halloween episode. I swear I didn’t plan it this way, just another one of those coincidences. It’s season four, episode six, “Old Haunts in a New Age.”
What’s goin’ down: In the days leading up to a school’s big Halloween party, an arsonist attacks the school. One teen girl claims to have premonitions of the fires before they happen.
Here’s Hanson: Hanson is the “Scully,” not believing in supernatural phenomena and insisting there’s a rational scientific explanation for everything.
Penhall’s prerogatives: Penhall is the “Mulder,” more willing to believe that the psychic girl can help them solve the case. In a scene that goes nowhere, he also has a UFO/alien abduction moment — one that would’ve been right at home on The X-Files.
Undercover blues: The psychic can tell that Penhall and Hanson are cops and not teenagers (because she’s psychic, not because they’re pushing 30). Supernatural or not, her visions do help them find the arsonist at the big Halloween party.
Goin’ to the chapel: The Jump Street chapel is being renovated, and janitor Blowfish plans on restoring the old pipe organ. After the psychic girl makes a prediction about “Death in the chapel,” Hanson and Blowfish discover a skeleton under the floor in the chapel’s basement.
Torn from today’s headlines: Tons of pop culture references in this one: There are the mashed potatoes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the famously psychic enthusiast Shirley McClaine, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Boris Pickett’s song “Monster Mash,” and magician/huckster Marshall Brodien. Best of all, though, are the EPA guys who inspect the Jump Street chapel, who look awfully familiar:
Trivia time: The psychic is played Pamela Adlon, who went on to do the voice of Bobby Hill on King of the Hill, in addition to a huge variety of other roles. The internet is trying to convince me that actress Katherine Heigl was an extra during the Halloween party at the end of the episode.
Jumpin’ or not? Here’s another one written by Glenn Morgan and James Wong, and this would appear to be their audition for The X-Files a few years later. They’re often credited for giving The X-Files a sense of humor, and this episode of 21 Jump Street is one of the funniest, eschewing the usual teen/cop angst for big laughs. It’s jumpin’!
Next week: I found my thrill.
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