Rewatching 21 Jump Street! Time for all sorts of speechifying and moralizing, not to mention shock-value theatrics, in season four, episode twenty-three, “Shirts and Skins.”
What’s goin’ down: The episode begins with a funeral, where everyone talks about old-fashioned values. Then the camera pulls back to reveal a Nazi flag over the casket. Wha-huh?!? Yes, a member of a neo-Nazi group was murdered, so the Jump Street cops are undercover among both the would-be Hitler Youth and the protesters fighting them.
Here’s Hanson: No Hanson this week, with zero explanation of where he’s run off to.
Penhall’s prerogatives: Penhall is undercover among the neo-Nazis. The pressure is on for him to shave his head and go full Skinhead, a fate he narrowly avoids.
Undercover blues: Everyone’s loyalties are torn (again!) having to track down the murderer of a Nazi scumbag. Ioki and Hoffs have a heart-to-heart about the racism and intolerance they faced growing up.
Goin’ to the chapel: Junk spotted in the background at the Jump Street include a coffee maker atop an old-fashioned refrigerator and a bright red chair with a huge zebra-skin pillow.
Torn from today’s headlines: Racism! Nazis! Skinheads! This one specifically references the famous episode of Geraldo where a Skinhead-related brawl broke out on the set and host Geraldo Rivera broke his nose. (Assuming the whole thing wasn’t staged. All these years later, I still have my doubts.)
Trivia time: Actor Karl Wiedergott appears in a supporting role. You might not recognize him, but you’ve certainly heard him before, as he’s voiced characters in more than 200 episodes of The Simpsons.
Jumpin’ or not? Talk about laying it on thick. This episode has lots of big speeches about various ideologies and injustices, as well as a steady stream of racial slurs in the dialogue in hopes of shocking audiences. In the midst of all this faux-edginess and haughty self-importance, they forgot little things like telling a compelling story. Not jumpin’.
Next week: That’s not how I remembered it.
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