Rewatching 21 Jump Street! The goes back to what it does best, cop show plots combined with high school melodrama, in season four episode twenty, “Last Chance High.”
What’s goin’ down: There have been a series of thefts at an “independent study” program for troubled kids. To solve the case, Hanson and Penhall go back to school as the always-rebellious (and fan-favorite) McQuaid brothers!
Here’s Hanson: Hanson speaks for the audience when he says everybody’s getting too old to pose as high school students anymore. He nonetheless brings the outrageousness as good ol’ Tom McQuaid.
Penhall’s prerogatives: Penhall insists that youth is a state of mind, and relishes being a kid at heart. However, he’s also in a newfound father role, after bringing home Clavo, the little boy from El Salvador he “adopted” in the previous episode.
Undercover blues: Hanson discovers that Fran, a teen girl with a baby, is a runaway, and the baby is actually her little sister. She’s fleeing from her abusive parents.
Goin’ to the chapel: Fuller chews out Hanson real good after Hanson waits so long to tell him about Fran’s situation. He then gets involved with the case, promising to arrange help from a social worker. There’s also a funny bit with Fuller practicing his golf swing when alone in his office.
Torn from today’s headlines: Teen runaways! Parental abuse! No shortage of drama here. On the lighter side, Penhall gets really excited when he sees a Cyberball arcade game:
Trivia time: Funnyman Diedrich Bader of The Drew Carey Show and countless other comedy parts appears in a serious roles as a quiet tough guy who is secretly a 22-year-old posing as a high school student (thematic parallel!). The runaway girl is played by Sarah Trigger, who also played one of the princesses in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.
Jumpin’ or not? Like the best episodes of 21 Jump Street, this one finds just the right balance between goofy comedy shtick and tear-jerky teenage heartache. It’s jumpin’!
Next week: Let’s everybody get all uncomfortable.
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