Monday, February 22, 2010

'21 Jumpstreet': Going Back in Time to a World Without Humor or More Than Token Non-Threatening Black People

It's frequently unclear to me how certain movies or TV shows wind up in my Netflix queue. Once every few weeks or so, I have to mouse-over a DVD's name to even figure out what it is, all name recognition having left my brain long after losing any idea I had about what it might be about. Usually I chalk it up to some pop-culture blog's review or something someone recommended in instant message. With 21 Jumpstreet, the reason was incredulity.

I'm not sure how it came up in conversation with The Wife, but somehow it did, and I was stunned to discover that somehow my partner in both life and in mentally absorbing the worst parts of our misspent 1980s had no idea what I was talking about. The hair, the spectacularly old high-schoolers, the bad sound effects, the Deppishness... nothing. Partly out of a commitment to education and partly because I had an excuse to mask my selfish hunger for 1980s nostalgia schlock, I added one disc of the series to the queue. One. Nothing else.

I later added a couple more.

The backstory on 21 Jumpstreet is pretty simple: the police, concerned about rising youth crime, conscript new babyfaced academy graduates to go undercover in high schools and make the sort of busts that adults would never get near because adults like just don't understand anything, man. The premise gets explained in the pilot as freshfaced beat cop Tom Hanson (Johnny Depp) has difficulty relating to his older partner but even more difficulty being taken seriously by criminals. They think he's a punk kid. Well, if criminals think he's a punk kid... transfer him to the high-school cop's address, 21 Jumpstreet.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Each episode has its own store of unintentionally funny or logically inconsistent details, but 21 Jumpstreet is intrinsically interesting even in a macro view. Basically, the show stands out as a relic from several lost eras in five ways.


1. It comes from a time when FOX had no money and no shows anyone was watching.
Easily the biggest "wow" moment from catching an episode of Jumpstreet is probably, "Holy shit... is that Johnny Depp?" But for those of us who remember he was in the cast, probably the second biggest wow moment is, "They really made television this cheap?" High-concept goofiness with low-thought execution isn't really a hallmark of any particular era of television, but doing it this cheaply screams "early FOX." You don't have to know anything about the show to pin its location on the nightly lineup. You just need a network with nothing else going for it to get away with having a show like this last past the pilot with the same level of investment in basic audiovisual quality.

The experience is strangely awesome, in both senses of the word. Kind of like that moment we learned that American automakers were still producing cars in the 1970s that exploded without a lot of warning or outside interference, there's something legitimately stunning about the realization that even a decade retrospectively seen as slickly produced as the 1980s saw television this clumsy and low-budget. It's like watching 1970s British television without the good writing or acting. Every time someone slams a door, you half expect a wall to fall over and reveal a Dalek or Caligula. After a few minutes of any episode, you get the sense that the cast of Jumpstreet and the kids from Married... with Children sprinted to the same clothing trailer every morning to call dibs on outfits from the same rack of clothes. The guy doing the credit sequences for both shows probably had a name like Florian Bortch, worked out of his house and had to drive to the studio lot in a Datsun. He mixed everything during the commute.

The one element that definitely separates the show from 1970s British fare (besides, you know, artistic merit) is the sound. It lacks that uniquely British "almost completely mute dialogue followed by speaker-shredding brass sound cues" phenomenon and replaces it with the uniquely American habit of filling up scenes with music that is, was and forever will be public domain. Each episode has a "rock" song somewhere in it, but it's not even up to "go-nowhere" local LA band quality. For one thing, the lyrics all seem way too specific to whatever action or emotional sequence the song is used in, as if the songs were composed by looking at the shooting script and lifting titles nearly verbatim, like, "You Gotta Run (To Catch That Man)." For another, you could imagine any of these songs used in an Iron Eagle sequel or being written by the guy who did entrance music for the WWF at any time in their history before Stone Cold Steve Austin showed up and started acting like a relatively normal person.

Finally, there's Vancouver, in which the episodes were shot. The town's probably meant to be LA — although the credits list it as "Metropolis" in "Evergreen State" — but anyone familiar with early FOX knows the less-expensive, damp and autumn-all-the-time streets of Vancouver. If that's not enough of a giveaway, there are shots of viable public transportation with destinations like "Hastings." And if that's not enough, there are always the deathly pale all-white guest stars who, apart from maybe an important one flown up from the States, you have never seen before and never will again — unless you watched Psi Factor or something while still hungover at 1 a.m. on a Monday morning sometime in the early 2000s.


2. It's something that could have only been born and nurtured in an era before irony was discovered by a majority of Americans.
I don't mean withering "OMG, do the braindead suits who run all the major corporations really expect us to swallow this???" kind of ironist-weariness, although it couldn't survive that either. I mean just the good-natured, "Really? Did the network rush this one, guys?" kind of thoughtful questioning that starts pointing out inconsistencies and wondering what anything means. The pilot raises two huge questions within the first 30 minutes.

First, the police have a special program where young hip kids can flawlessly blend in with their criminal targets, but the show's protagonist, Tom Hanson, is a straight-shooter cop whose whole life has been focused on joining the police. The only thing that distinguishes him from his about-to-retire partner at the beginning of the pilot is his partner's degree of physical infirmity. Hanson's tragically, chronically unhip in the same way his patrol buddy is osteoporotically. So the same apparatus, the police department, that can't train an older cop to talk to kids and get through to them can teach a younger cop — who is completely undifferentiated from his elder comrades — to get through to kids. How does this work? Because, and I can't stress this enough: Tom Hanson is probably the lamest person alive.

Second, the captain who runs this outfit for the first half of the season, Richard Jenko (Frederic Forrest), could have stepped out of some 1960s parents-council film on drug abuse or socialism. He loves jammin' with his jam band, talkin' about the sixties, just gettin' together and rappin' with his squad. I realize that in 1987 "television" had not yet been discovered, and storytellers wandered throughout a medium's wilderness waiting to stumble upon sacred amulets and weapons like "narrative" and "character" and "layers." I realize, too, that most of the TV-watching audience hadn't been taught yet to expect much from their TV either. But I think most people at one point probably asked themselves what some counterculture anti-authority hippie-dippy dude was doing:
a. wanting to bust people for drug possession;
b. being a cop in the first place;
c. being entrusted by the conservative brass of a police department with a branch of the force that not only costs a great deal of money but also carries tremendous liability risk — then given a ton of latitude to mold the careers and ethics of a bunch neophyte cops who just finished school.
You don't have to be a jaded modern TV snob to ask about this. You just have to not be dead.

Later, Jenko is killed by a drunk driver off-camera and replaced by Captain Adam Fuller (Stephen Williams, better known as X on The X-Files). Despite being black and an expert at going undercover, Fuller looks like his wardrobe was made out of castoffs from The Breakfast Club's John Bender and pretty much the whole of Andrew McCarthy's 1980s career. His introduction manages to be riddled with cliché, preposterously unhip and terminally white. Which brings up:


3. It apparently comes from a time before blackness was brought to America.
Despite Run DMC tearing up charts with Raising Hell and making at least a few white American kids wish they were black enough to be able to get away with wearing hats, this is an almost non-black world. Maybe some of that's Vancouver at work; I really don't know. What I do know is that 99% of the blacks who do exist are terrifying. They do things like "get angry" and "crimes" and "stand close to you" — you know, black stuff, or so we've heard. All of it would be much more intimidating and compelling if it weren't cartoonishly alien. It would also help if the black people didn't all dress like Rockwell or mid-80s MJ. The only exception to this seems to be fellow-Jumpstreeter Officer Judy Hoffs (Holly Robinson), whose presence awkwardly points up something else:


4. The show's almost exclusively targeted at white girls.
It seems weird now to think of niche shows appealing to niche demographics as extraordinary, but we're also looking back after a solid decade of phenomenal HBO programming and quality USA original series, nearly half a decade of an actually decent show on the Sci-Fi Channel, a handful of years of good stuff on AMC and the overall increase of cable networks from a few dozen to hundreds, fragmenting audiences. Shows can get by now by appealing to one group and completely owning that demographic. But in the mid-1980s, default programming goals sought to rope in everybody. Despite that, Jumpstreet's choices seem to land pretty firmly in the "white girls age 12-30" demographic.

Part of that's the stories at work: hot young hip guys who are safe and authoritative slip into a random high school per week and often "police-babysit," defend or otherwise look after sweet young white meat. They're safe like dad, but cool enough to offend him. They're safely white, too, except for totally assimilated and safe Officer Harry Truman Ioki (Dustin Nguyen). All of which tends to make Officer Hoffs stand out as pretty unnecessary aside from being a female role-model while also being safely "The Other." Girls could look at her and think, "I can be a cop," but they could also think, "Tom Hanson might flirt with her, but at the end of his dating career, he's marrying a white girl like me." Hoffs was probably just empowering enough to make girls feel positive while being just black enough to not seem threatening to idle dreams related to pairing off with the subject of a Trapper Keeper cover.

It probably doesn't help that she's not bringing the female version of Depp's level of hotness, or even Nguyen's. Holly Robinson's probably a really nice lady, but she wasn't operating on the No-Questions-Whatsoever level of desirability that producers usually shoot for with a single female lead. She's by no means ugly, but having a squad full of police and having one girl already smacks of tokenism and dismissiveness; having her be sort of a weak link in the looks department really points up how inessential she was. Granted, some of the appeal for guys is meant to be supplied by the (overwhelmingly) white high school girls and young teachers seen week-to-week. But the overall structure says, "Boys not needed." It's like if you tuned into Beverly Hills 90210 and still had Jason Priestley, Luke Perry, Ian Ziering and that ratfaced choad Bryan Austin Greene, but the only girl cast member was Gabrielle Carteris. Or Tori Spelling. The message is pretty clear.


5. It's almost entirely devoid of humor.
Not that it doesn't try. Most episodes end with lighthearted banter that's clearly meant to be funny but comes nowhere close. The attempts at humor are written, played, blocked and shot with more contrivance than the earnest confessions about drug use or the stray cast-delivered Public Service Announcements about something that occasionally follow an episode. You can't watch comic-relief scenes without expecting them to suddenly freeze-frame with all the actors in mid-guffaw as an errantly thrown baseball breaks the "swear jar" that everyone was carping about. Or something.

What suggests a sea change in television more than anything else, though, is the slowly dawning realization that you've watched an episode for 15 minutes or an hour or even two without ever laughing at it on its own terms. Because this is the 1980s and because this is a serious show, it's usually not trying to make you laugh at all outside of the opening and closing scenes. It represents the last vanguard in a broken schema of television whereby dramatic shows are important and funny shows are not. Retrospectively, the creators' choices appear especially foolish, because even M*A*S*H went from maudlin to irreverent, while Hill St. Blues and St. Elsewhere managed to leaven timeless drama with comic set-pieces. Moonlighting and Jumpstreet were contemporaneous, but aside from sharing fashions and a few references and set-design shortcuts, they might as well come from different planets.

The blame falls on writing that coasted through an era where it was less prized. Look at any list of "must-see" shows from the 1980s, and easily 80% of them will be dramas. That's because drama's relatively easy, and comedy's relatively hard. Murder someone, and it's scary. Kill someone, and it sucks. Marry someone, and it's happy. Betray someone, and it's chilling. Look at the shit that people celebrated at the time — Falcon Crest, Dynasty, Knots Landing, Dallas — and you see a list of dated and cheap soap-opera garbage that runs off those basic rules. Remember, viewers at the time weren't really flocking to St. Elsewhere, while Hill St. Blues got badmouthed for being too preachy, and Moonlighting's meta-narratives and self-awareness were blasted as too intellectual. (No, really.) It wasn't until the early 1990s Simpsons showed up and blew the doors off TV writing and made concepts working on multiple levels the default that people started demanding something like emotional and conceptual multifariousness.

Jumpstreet's basically a PSA with feathered hair, and the earnest one-notedness of it dates it more than anything else. The jokes aren't there to make anything more complex; they're there to simplify. See? Everyone's happy. D'oh!—even elite cops make mistakes. Drama is A-story stuff; comedy is B-story. Jokes are the things someone wrote to pad length before the ad break. This is a world where people work with each other every day in the toughest of situations and don't have even a shred of black-humor observations about them, because that would mean interrupting the seriousness of them. When the bad shit goes down, it always matters. Always. When bad shit isn't going down, hey, let's party — no sad faces here. Humanity is a coinflip. The intro and outro are all l'allegro; the middle acts all il pensoroso. Nothing could be more natural.


The Pilot — Liveblogging History
So what? There are a lot of things about the show structurally that are funny and horribly flawed, but what about the execution? As said above, that's even funnier. Without even intending to, just by tweeting funny things that occurred to me, I wound up inadvertently liveblogging the two-part pilot and first episode of the series. Here's what I learned (all observations more or less in synch with the events unfolding in Pilot Parts I and II and the first episode):

We open on: dickheads. As of 1987, all children are snotty. Not accidentally or because of a bad mood. Just because. Like, at no point have teenagers noticed that sometimes being polite to (or tolerant of) their parents nets them politeness or tolerance or more indulgence in terms curfews or privileges. It is time to go to war on the adult world. What is wrong with these kids? This generation is more out of control than any to precede it!

Oh, hey, look. Black people. They're the most terrifying people on the planet because they apparently are the same ones from the Thriller video, only they're armed. They seem to really hate white America, but mostly because they want something from the bratty teenager who was just mouthing off to his dad.

Note: when crazed and terrifying BLACK PEOPLE from the Thriller video want something from you, always treat your dad like shit. This will do something.

Officer Tom Hanson and his older partner are called to the scene! The teen daughter wants to get with Hanson, thinking they're at about the same acceptable age range for doin' it. Also, Hanson fails to reach the teen son... because he's a cop. Foreshadowing???

Officer Tom Hanson proves he looks too young to be a cop by overreacting to some hoodlums' taunts and then turning his back to them and getting jumped. No cop who looked older than he does would ever have gotten jumped by turning his back from a group of hard criminals and taking his gun off them. Stupid pretty-guy!

Officer Tom Hanson has to prove he's got what it takes to make it as an undercover high-schooler by buying some drugs off a guy who looks like a level-one end boss from a Nintendo game made by The Parents Television Council about how one toke turns people into Ratso Rizzo from Midnight Cowboy. I don't even do drugs — apart from the senatorially friendly ones like booze and cigarettes — and this makes me want to buy a bong and ship it to a kindergarten.

This whole buy/bust is fantastically scripted. They're making it seem like buying drugs involves an arcane science known only to a precious few. I can only guess that the complexity and threat level is intended to frighten kids away from trying it themselves by suggesting that they'd probably get killed while in the process of screwing up the lingo anyway. While in the "cop van," the hippie Jumpstreet captain warns Hanson about how a previous undercover cop got burned with some bad fake drugs — a bag of oregano or something else equally comical. Apparently this is a show fueled primarily by Aqua Net and urban legends.

I can't stress how funny this drug buy is. It couldn't be written more hysterically if the writers had never seen drugs in their lives. The whole thing goes down with enough throatily suspicious dialogue to make a prisoner exchange at Checkpoint Charlie in the mid-1970s come off like swapping out an oversized pair of jeans that you got as a Christmas present at The Gap.

Yet, despite the prep work and the importance of it all, somehow a trained beat cop manages to buy a Ziploc filled with two unwashed wool socks. And he sniffed the bag ahead of time. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

Someone makes a joke about being a Republican. Hanson shoots back, "I am a Republican." Excellent work, 1980s teen show. Nothing gets the ladies wetter and the rebels hotter than looking up to the hairsprayed mop of a dude who's a proud Republican. Reagan drew mad pussy. Mad, mad pussy. Schlafly, Thatcher, Nancy Reagan: it's Morning Wood in America, bitches. Raisa Gorbachev, tear down those panties. Seriously, what is the fucking point of that? Hanson's already shown himself to be a fish out of water, so making him ideologically opposed to the more rebellious, socialistic attitude of politically aware teens — the people watching this fucking show — seems dumb as hell.

Captain Whippie-Dip Uranus has a poster of Jimi Hendrix on his Official Counterculture Police Captain wall. It is of Hendrix at Woodstock. Hanson cannot identify the man in the picture, drily noting that he was five when Woodstock happened. Again, I understand what they're going for — making Depp appallingly unhip — but at the same time that they're delegitimizing their own premise by having a cop so unhip that he probably can't relate to the kids he's going to police, they're writing so badly that even 12-year-olds watching this the first time were probably a little annoyed. It's completely stupid that Hanson would not only fail to recognize an iconic pop-cultural figure in an iconic pop-cultural image, but it's even dumber that he somehow still has enough knowledge of the pop-cultural event that he can date what year it occurred (1969), cross-reference with his birthdate (1964) and make a mediocre quip about his age (5). It's makes about as much sense as this exchange:
MOON UNIT: Whenever I think of courage, I think of ol' George here. (taps painting above him)
TOM HANSON: Who?
MOON UNIT: That's George Washington.
TOM HANSON: I've heard of him, but I don't know anything about him.
MOON UNIT: That's the classic painting of him crossing the Delaware River.
TOM HANSON: I'm sorry, I was -188 at the time.
MOON UNIT: What?
Then again, maybe I'm reading it all wrong. Maybe this exchange and the number in the show's title were subtle signs that these guys were elite members of the triginometripolitan police, playing a different variable every week but with one constant goal: to solve for x, where x=crime!

Ahahahaha. Okay, remember how I mentioned above that Tom Hanson is the lamest person alive? He is. Another reason why the Hendrix ignorance is a curious writing choice is that Hanson apparently spends hours of his off-duty time sitting on his bed and thinking about his dead father while soloing to himself on saxophone with all the ripping lustiness of Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street." This is also another reason why it seems like this show was written in an all-Causasian world: if Tom Hanson weren't walking a beat, he'd probably be auditioning to follow one in Spyro Gyra.

Really nowhere else to mention this, but this show probably couldn't be made in today's more paranoid parental landscape, because just the pilot alone has had two scenes and one conversation that intimate the threat of statutory rape. Putting hot dudes with guns and the ability to buy beer into a high school is basically like issuing them all-access passes to a limitless pussy party.

Speaking of which:
HANSON: (trying to dissuade a girl from coming on to him) It was me who gave [another girl] the cold sore.... I think I'm a carrier. Wounded in action during the sexual revolution.
Not only is the show written like fictional PSA, it's bad at it. By 1987, the "sexual revolution" had been over (and won) for over a decade. Not only that, but we're into at least Year #5 of the name (and established existence) of AIDS and at least Year #3 of widespread knowledge of it (the famous case of Ryan White was hotly debated and even taught in schools by then as a lesson in tolerance). But screw it — instead of being spooked about sexual activity as the sort of thing that can make you die (as a lot of people were at the time), let's just make some dated joke about The Herp. That's what we're all worried about, right? The Herp? I'm sure it sounded great in the writers' room, amongst the group of old and poorly socialized people to whom the joke applied.

First time I've laughed at all at something even quasi-intentional:
HANSON: Gimme a light [beer]. (bartender offers a cigarette lighter) Yeah, I've seen the commercial. BUD LIGHT.
Nobody under 30 has any idea what this means, but there was a series of Bud Light ads in 1986 or 1987 where people would walk to the bar and ask for "a light" and then be offered something illuminating or on fire or generally bright. Then the voiceover would caution that not specifying "Bud Light" could result in getting any number of horrible results. It's a good example of how dated and shitty the comedy writing on this show is, but it's an even better reminder of how tremendously unfunny a multi-million-dollar ad campaign for a giant company was. Advertising copy writers are sometimes incredibly funny (John Swartzwelder, who's written more classic Simpsons episodes than you can even think of, came from this world), but even the ones who aren't dullards have their work trampled on and destroyed by idiotic clients and moronic management that sinks creatively to the level of their clientele.

I know I've mentioned this before, but it's amazing how every non-cop black person in this is meant to be the scariest motherfucker on planet earth despite looking like Rockwell or Billy Ocean or Michael Jackson, complete with massive ovoidal sunglasses, leather jackets with rolled-up sleeves and intimidating moves so spastically choreographed that all they're waiting for is a high-five and a "hee hee heeeeee!" followed by a spin move and jazz hands.

So far, Hanson's been confronted in the parking lot and almost been humiliated before getting in a fight, been confronted in the halls and almost humiliated, been confronted in the parking lot again and almost humiliated before getting in another almost-fight. I realize now people who went to high school in the 1980s must have been scared shitless of fellow students because of television. I know people who started freshmen year in the late-1980s and expected some kind of high-schoolish Bosch torture of wedgies, swirlies, fights, gang violence and mockery from girls, coming from all corners. There's a peculiar insistence in these schoolhouse dramas on the idea that all children not only hate their parents but mercilessly loathe and prey upon each other. The disparity between the drama and the reality must have occasioned incredible stress and relief and later laughter. It's easy to forget that some people didn't sleep the night before their first day of high school not out of general anxiousness but out of serious fucking fear.

Now that I think about it, kids in the mid-1990s didn't fare much better. I know a few people who grew up in exurban collectives of cul-de-sacs and deed-restricted communities who nonetheless expected that at least some part of their high schools would look just like 187/Dangerous Minds/Boyz in the Hood, and that black kids as a rule had declared some kind of permanent schooltime war against whitey. Flash forward two years, and these people were riding around town in busted-ass old Delta-88s, with radar detectors and amps in the trunk, going too fast while passing joints around the car, listening to The Chronic over and over with their erstwhile "black foes" in the backseat telling them to hurry their ass up otherwise they wouldn't be able to make the showtime for Die Hard 3.

Ahahaha FOLEY IS GOD. Everyone's .38 sounds only slightly quieter than Omaha beach. I can't imagine what might have happened to a veteran who walked through the TV room when a grandkid had this playing. Also, in a strange emasculating twist, the massively-haired Asian cop has a tiny nickel-plated girlyish gun.

Okay, so it turns out that the SCARY BLACK PEOPLE from the very beginning of the episode had a cunning plan: they wanted to get the snotty teenager's dad's car and sell it and also get more money from the snotty teenager's dad. Their way of doing this was to intimidate the snotty teenager. When this didn't work, they (in the FIRST SCENE OF THE SHOW) broke into the teenager's and dad's house to... intimidate the teenager. While giving up identifying details to the teenager and the dad. Let's break this down:
- I want things from person A.
- I will use leverage on Person B to get it.
- Person B fails to give me the things I want from Person A.
- I will break into the house of Person A.
- I will stand in front of Person A.
- I will risk Person A identifying me.
- I will yell at Person B in front of Person A.
- I will hope that being scary as fuck will change someone's mind about Person A's things.
- I will hope that the person whose mind changes is Person B's.
- This will get me things from Person A, who is in the room next to Person B, who will get me those things from Person A.
Making fun of how retarded this tactic is would have been a lot less humiliating a few years ago, before I discovered that I live in a country that apparently thinks invading a country Osama Bin Laden isn't even welcome in, in order to make Osama Bin Laden feel bad, is a stone-cold winner. If you told me right now that George Tenet ran every crime syndicate on Jumpstreet, I would probably just ask him for Depp's autograph.

Resolution! All the tension drains away as the perp is caught. But, wait! Is all resolved?
HANSON: I really like Hoffs [Holly Robinson]. What's her deal?
MOON UNIT: Forget it. You'll never make the weight!
Note: this burgeoning romance is buried by the first regular episode of the series. I have no idea if it ever came back, but the point is clear: through three or four regular episodes, sexy whiteboy Tom Hanson's eye has already wandered to young white teachers and away from the interest expressed in the pilot.

Just when you think it can't get any better, the episode ends on a freeze frame of Captain Moon Unit's surprised joy after Hanson screws the mouthpiece onto his DAVID SANBORN sax and asks to jam with the old-dude hippie band.

Stray observations from another couple episodes:
The first non-pilot episode features a no-name guest star actress in the role of a Polish exchange student from behind the IRON CURTAIN. Now, obviously the writing is terrible. She goes from uptight apparatchik-type to liberated party girl in just a span of minutes, showing the American audience how easily even the most indoctrinated of communists will be seduced by Western amenities and culture with the slightest exposure to it. True to form, there's a cheap joke about her knowing more about American government than the civics teacher, and we eventually learn that her easy seduction by Western delights actually comes from being so well educated that she already knew that America would be better for her. But what's most striking is how shitty she is at acting. Look, acting hasn't changed a whole lot since the 1950s; it's not like America figured it out in the last 15 years the way it figured out that coffee shouldn't taste like hot asshole. The show's writing might represent an incredibly sub-par era, but Depp himself proves that good people could take dross and make it workable. This chick wouldn't make it to an elimination round in a high-school drama tournament. She'd doing THEES VERY AWKVERD POLISH AK-CENT, and she's dropping it mid-word every time a troublesome syllable comes up. Every single time she starts talking about LIEF BECK IN POLELINT, it's fucking hysterical.

At the end of an episode featuring cocaine use, the (supposedly) teenaged leads walk down a high school hallway and deliver an abusively written PSA about how "cocaine can really screw you up," after which the number 1-800-COCAINE flashes on the screen. This number no longer works. FUCK.

EDIT: I just found the video. Oh, my God:



Seriously, though: Peter DeLuise? Future headliner. Prove me wrong.

There's apparently a Jumpstreet movie in the works, penned by Jonah Hill. You know that unattractive fat guy in all those sort-of funny movies by people like Judd Apatow who says not-funny things like "pussy," "shit," "dick," "Jew," and, "You pussy, I fucked you and have your shit on my Jew dick"? That's him. This is gonna be as awesome as the script for The Equalizer that I'm imagining French Stewart getting to any day now.

The end credits serenade us with the blistering sax sounds that we can only assume come out of Tom Hanson's sweet horn. They also show a white woman's red-lacquered nails turning the pages of a high school yearbook. Who's in it? We can't tell. What high school? We can't tell. Perhaps it's emblematic of the fact that no member of the Jumpstreet gang can claim a past anymore, nor an alma mater. They are cast to the winds, to different districts and schools, blown about by obligation, dedication, copness. They're the faceless heroes. If only the producers had had financing enough to erect an unmarked black obelisk, a tribute to all the people they were... who never were.

Jumpstreet.

Please also see, "Jumpstreet: Potentially the Funniest Scripted Funeral."

1 comment:

Et tu, Mr. Destructo? is a politics, sports and media blog whose purpose is to tell jokes or be really right about things. All of us have real jobs and don't need the hassle that telling jokes here might occasion, which is why some contributors find it more tasteful to pretend to be dead mass murderers.