I went and did it. I watched all four seasons of the original 21 Jump Street. Here are my personal picks for best episodes:
This flashback to Ioki’s past is one of Dustin Nguyen’s best performances, partially-based on the actor’s real-life story. What really earns it top five status, though, is how all the other Jump Street cops rally around Ioki after he gets in trouble, showing how this bunch of goofy cops had become a family of sorts.
Booker’s finest hour. Richard Grieco is a comedic punchline for a lot of people, but he’s really good in this episode, where Booker constantly has a ton of rage brewing under the surface. The episode is also one of the most stylishly-directed, with some nifty visual references to A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The McQuaid brothers, recurring undercover personas for Hanson and Penhall, are like regular “characters” in their own right, and this is the best McQuaid ep. It really plays up the fun and absurdity of the show’s cops-pretending-to-be-teenagers premise.
One of the best things about the show is how the writers weren’t afraid to experiment and get totally weird whenever they wanted. This spring break episode isn’t just spring break — it also features a creepy cult and teen communists, but with a sweet love story at its core.
1. High High
The whole cast goes undercover at a performing arts school, where everyone gets an interesting subplot to explore, and the whole thing is submerged deep within neon ‘80s cool. I’ll say it one more time: It’s jumpin’!
Next week: Something new. Something blue.
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.