Monday, February 22, 2010

Jumpstreet: Potentially the Funniest Scripted Funeral

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

I wanted to talk about this scene, but I realized that there wasn't any one part of the previous piece where it would fit. It perfectly encapsulates the bad fashions, bad direction, hamfisted acting choices and really stunningly ill-conceived writing of the show. Plus, it's not often that a viewer can go into a show's cold-open on a funeral and come away with as much bafflement and unintentional humor. Take it away, Jumpstreet:

Just some stray thoughts, occurring more or less chronologically with this terrible scene:


Someone I know just got killed by a drunk driver. The best way to go to his funeral is completely exposed on a piece of machinery with no safety apparatuses whatsoever, while crying.

Imagine being the crewman working the camera as Peter DeLuise sat on a trailer being pulled down the road while he was pulling faces like, "Rebel... rue... rock and roll... regret... get all of those in there."

"Okay, now think, Pete! You can nail this. Cry... but not too much. You can't motorcycle while crying. Don't get too blurry, but you should feel bad. Kind of a mixture of rage at the cosmos and frustration that you're not at one with it. Consider that all existence is but a blink of awareness between two protracted periods of unconsciousness of which man is ignorant: the eons that existed before his birth and those that will stretch ineluctably after his death. The body is a vessel of consciousness, but we have no assurance that consciousness is a thing itself, independent of the meat that carries it. Speaking of meat, what if someone made a sandwich that nobody could eat? Oh, Jesus, focus on the sandwich. Harness the sandwich."

Officer Hoffs meets Unfreed Willy. You know, when someone I know has been killed, the first thing I think is, "I can only understand this by communing with an animal whose species is literally named Killer. Looking at this whale is like looking into the force that robbed me of a friend. This is also why I've been doing nothing but listening to Danzig. He's the Killer Wolf." Picture me touching a pane of aquarium glass wistfully. There is also piano.

Someone had to arrange that whale's staring into that glass so Holly Robinson could look at a whale and touch glass. Think of the manpower that made those 20 seconds happen and then remember that someone died of something stupidly fixable in the span of time you were thinking about that.

Johnny Depp's scene has been cribbed entirely from the Top Gun scene where Maverick hurls Goose's dog tags off the carrier into the Indian Ocean. All it's missing is the theme song. Left unanswered is how a guy who joined the Jumpstreet squad just a few weeks/months and about five episodes before has wound up with the badge of his captain, instead of the captain's family or anyone who cared about him for more than a cup of coffee. Imagine joining the diplomatic service and losing your boss in a terror attack after about 12 weeks and hurling his passport into a fucking lake or something while his family was waiting for the body to come home.

Ahahahaha Dustin Nguyen does karate in a white double-breasted suit for no reason. "I'm wounded! I can only channel my feelings through the art of the empty hand." The directions for this scene were: Tom Wolfe and Harland Sanders occupy the same body and battle each other for control of the emotions of one man.

"Since I've been a cop, on the force for the past 22 years, I can't remember the number of times I've stood here and done this. But I remember every one." So I guess what I'm saying is that my memory is razor sharp for every time this has happened, except arithmetically. Like, I know every bone I've broken in my life and remember each one indelibly, but if you told me to linearly start adding them, I'd be too overcome with the pain of it. As a cop, there's just some math that doesn't add up.

"Like it was my son's first communion." All cops are catholics. Even in Metropolis, the biggest city in Evergreen State.

"GOTTA FINISH THE RIFF." Ahahahaha. Someone wrote that. Someone was paid money to write that. "Remember one thing, my brothers, when a song starts, whatever happens in the breakdown, someone's gotta finish the riff. You've gotta make the fill, even if you're marching to a different drumbeat. The heart of rock 'n' roll is still beatin'. From what you're seein' now, you gotta believe 'em. Now, I might not still be breathin', but you gotta take another little piece of my heart and move on, baby. When the rhythm of your life changes, you've got to know that it's your turn to take the lead. Even if it means goin' solo. Take Woodstock of your life. Don't fadeout."

"AND I THINK IT'S A FREAKING TRAGEDY..." It's a good hallmark of bad writing when you find people who know that they're incapable of writing profane words for a network show and then have to rely on substitute-profanities to provide weight to a moment, despite the fact that a similar moment in real life would almost never see someone being profane. Almost anyone eulogizing a friend and colleague feels inundated with grief, yet rarely does this translate to a bunch of f-bombs in reality. Standing at the foot of a grave and dropping a "freakin" on a TV show is analogous to being the best man at a wedding in real life and saying, "You two fucks are so shitting perfect for each other, goddamnit." Translating it to, "You two freakers are so shootin perfect for each other, dang," doesn't make it more appropriate or even sensible. It just makes it broadcastable.

Ahahahaha: letting someone see me cry would shame me too much, but really obviously whipping out inappropriate aviator shades and shoving them on my face will fool everybody.

"Yeah, I know Jenko wouldn't have wanted us to get all angry over it. He would've... rapped to us... about the balance of the cosmos..."
(pounds right fist over heart, kisses two fingers, points them up to heaven)
"Big ups to Biggie, man..."
(is somehow a police commissioner)
The only way this whole sequence could have been funnier is if the dead guy had been named "Captain JNCOs."


  1. See, Ioki is apparently Chinese, and white is the Chinese color of mourning. At you. And he practices Tai Chi or something so he can focus his fake grief better for the funeral scene.

    This clearly did not work well.

  2. Ahhh, but in the pilot, he says that his full name is Harry Truman Ioki, and that his parents named him after the man who destroyed his homeland. Thus, there's no reason for him to know karate, Tai Chi, whatever. He's totally assimilated up until the point that the writers need him to know something "Asian."

  3. Why is trusting in the Wikipedia guten idea is not:

    # In season 2 ("School's out") are Doug and Dorothy having diner and Doug is offered a bottle of bear. They say it is a German ale but in fact it is Grolsch a Dutch beer.

    Ak! Ak! Ak! Der socialisenhabben writer sees open container of Goldenlacheneater.

  4. I can never get through the opening credits of 21 Jumpstreet without Kansas firing up in my mind and hearing "Dustin Nguyne, All we are is Dustin Nguyne..."

  5. This is late, but did you notice how "Asian" the music got during Ioki's awesome Tai Chi (I have to admit that I was hoping he'd get up on one leg for the crane) moment?

    (Verification: RIPLIT, which is good, because I like to rip lit)


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.