21 Jump Street Recap: Now I'll Never Be A Teen Model!

To the surprise of many, 21 Jump Street opened this weekend to rave reviews. Heck, even Roger Ebert liked it. What better way to celebrate than to take a look back on the show that started it all? We've already recapped the two-part pilot, but I'm jumping ahead in Season One to one of my favorite episodes, "13 Blown To 35." Why? Two words: MODELING SCHOOL.

Prologue: In a scene taken right from Point Break, a team of agents raid a drug house. In the last room of one of the houses, they find a teenage girl and one agent says, "Do you know who this is? It's Lacey King." Apparently she's a famous porn actress, now living in... what the HELL is this city anyway?

Scene: Interrogation room. Fuller walks in and Lacey knows him because... Fuller used to be undercover in the porn industry. WHAT? Hold that thought. Fuller wants to know who got Lacey into the business because she was fourteen when she started. He'll cut her a deal on the drug charges. Lacey tips him off to a local modeling school which is used to recruit poor unsuspecting girls into the business. So instead of sending some detectives to the school to interview and look for clues, they send their troops undercover.

Scene: The Mall. There's a super hip fashion show happening. Where's Tiffany?

Ioki is of course titillated at the site of the teenage girls prancing for his enjoyment. Perv.

Penhall is also engrossed.

He is wearing a bracelet with spikes and a zebra-print shirt? Oh Penhall, you complete me.

Scene: Fuller's Office. Fuller explains how they will go undercover as aspiring models, and everyone is dubious that the modeling school is a front for a porn production company. But Fuller is adamant. He solemnly recounts his EIGHTEEN MONTHS that he was undercover in the porn industry and how horrible it was to see underage girls coerced into it.

Let's break that down for second. If he was undercover for eighteen months, that means:
  1. He was either an actor or director. Or maybe something less important, like a fluffer? Maybe a key grip for the camera? How does one go undercover in porn? Where did he keep his badge?
  2. As soon as he would arrest someone, his cover would be blown (pun intended) so that means for eighteen months, he filmed a LOT of movies.
  3. Why can't we have a flashback to that time? I'd propose a prequel series.
Anyway, the whole gang is going to audition to get into the school. Ioki is really stoked and actually tries hard, whereas aloof Tom Hanson finds it boring, since his perfect cheekbones and toned tush will make him a shoe-in.

WRONG! Penhall and Hoffs make it. OVER JOHNNY DEPP? PSHAW! Maybe the writers wanted to downplay his hotness. You all know I love Penahll but for a modeling gig? Really? Well, Hoffs of course because this is a girl assignment.

Scene: First Modeling Class. The school is run by a creepy David Paymer and a girl named Nikki, who looks like a poor man's Ali Larter. Penhall tries his best to look uninterested, but manages to look aloof and hawt. As always.

The rest of class:

Wait a minute. I don't want to be mean, so I am just going to assume that this modeling school is extremely progressive and recognizes that beauty comes in all forms.

Their first assignment, I kid you not, is to stand in groups, practicing group photo shoot poses. REALLY? I am no model and am 100% certain I never will be, but that is the dumbest thing ever. Because they will never again model with these people, and the photographer of the shoot will determine the poses. Penhall is incredulous at the stupidity of it all, especially since he is dressed as a Hell's Angel surrounded by mall rats.

David Paymer pays special attention to Hoffs, making fellow classmate Trina extremely jealous.

It's a good thing there are no undercover FASHION police!

Scene: Some creepy back room of the Modeling School. David Paymer convinces Hoffs he wants to do some individual shots of her. She obliges and manages to look fetching in a matching high-waisted jean-crop-top combo.

He tells her she's really "got it" and "reads older." Hoffs suggests a more "adult look" and reveals the valley between her boobs (is there a technical name for that? Guys, please help.).

David Paymer loves it and again tells Judy she is special.

Seems legit.

Scene: Jump Street Headquarters. Hoffs explains her doubts that Nikki and David Paymer are porn producers. Fuller says it's because they made her feel special and she liked that? OUCH!

Fuller and Ioki and Hanson did some digging around into David Paymer and Nikki, and found that they made some adult movies, one called Daphne's Daydream. To conduct official police business, Blowfish the janitor drags a TV over so the whole office can watch and pops in his own personal copy of the movie. Yup, it's Nikki, and the men hoot and holler at the screen.

Look at the size of... that TV!

Hoffs defends the ladies by getting up and getting mad, saying that Nikki was fifteen in the video so they need to stop. Hoffs is now on a mission to crack this case. For the ladyfolk out there.

This is a porno.

Judy is out to lunch with Trina sporting the androgynous model look. Trina says she's DYING to do glamorous shoots and will do anything to make it.

Later, she is shopping with Nikki and confronts her about the porno she did. Nikki explains that she needed to do that so she can make it in the modeling industry. And now she's super successful and runs a modeling school in... what city is this again?

Scene: David Paymer's secret lair. Trina is there, doing a photoshoot with pink satin pajamas and trapezoidal hair.

David Paymer is salivating over his subject. He tells Trina that this look will get her a lot of catalog work. OOH BURN! Trina decides that she should take off her clothes to get more "sophisticated". Off comes the pjs, and the camera clicks away.

Scene: Modeling School. The confirmation of Nikki in the video somehow granted Fuller a warrant to search the modeling school. They bust in frantically, because they may be shooting! a! porn! this! very! minute! They find a lease on a warehouse property and rush to the scene!

Oh my god! They are too late! Trina is already on a very elaborate barn set! The gang BUSTS INTO THE STUDIO AND ARRESTS EVERYONE ON THE PREMISE. Really? Really? Even the hair and makeup gal? Isn't it usually the director or the person responsible for casting the one who should be arrested? And shouldn't a social worker be there to take Trina? Didn't Fuller learn ANY of this during those 18 months? Or was he busy learning the art of gonzo film making?

And did all of this happen IN THE SAME DAY/WEEK? David Paymer was able to get the whole shoot set up within that time? And convinced Trina to do porn within a week? Child pornographer aside, this guy could make a killer doing event planning.

During the brouhaha, Trina grabs the finished reels and runs to the roof. Hoffs chases her and tells her they need those for evidence so they can prosecute David Paymer. Trina wants to destroy them so no one will ever see them. Hoffs sees Trina's heavily-mascaraed-tear-streaked face and destroys the reels herself just as Fuller sees her. Pretty much Hoffs should be fired, but she is LADY so she knows what these LADY situations are like.

Well, lucky for everyone, Nikki decides to testify against David Paymer about how he filmed her when she was only fifteen. Not because she thinks it is wrong, mind you, but because David Paymer was too old to do this barn shoot and she was pissed at that. So, by coincidence, Hoffs is off the hook with no reprimand. IS THERE ANY CASE THEY HAVEN'T MESSED UP?

I need to state the (possibly) obvious, because it irks me. The preachiness of this episode is over the top. Okay, so they were fighting against CHILDREN being coerced into pornography, which of course is admirable. SURE, it does happen, and that is a tragedy. However, it does paint all those in pornography to be shady immoral people who only end up being addicted to crack (like Lacey King) or becoming ruined women. Was this meant as a cautionary tale? Was there an epidemic of girls being lured into child pornography against their will in the eighties?

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