21 Jump Street Recap: The Gang Goes Punk

Look, I understand that when this episode, "Mean Streets And Pastel Houses," was written, there was no Wikipedia, so they couldn't fully research what "the punk movement" was all about. But I assume there were books on the topic. Or maybe SOMEONE they could have consulted? All I am saying is wow, they got it wrong. Real punks would be really insulted, and punks are rarely insulted.

Wow, really?

The Greek Chorus of pre-credit interludes shows us two rival hooligans taunting each other in the cars. Somehow someone hangs out a window and falls out of the moving car and is badly injured. One of the cars is all "oh shit" and speeds away.

There is a rash of vandalism in the city, from two groups called "Klean Kut Kids" and "Your Friendly Neighbors," who are rival misfit gangs. Instead of say, doing patrols in an unmarked car to catch the culprits (thus saving the city millions of dollars in salary), they send our Jump Street Squad undercover into the seedy underbelly (if a seedy underbelly was an abandoned grocery store warehouse). Because, well, you just do. Penhall assumes it's going to be him, because he's badass.

Fuller shoots him down, because punk is more than just a look. He needs someone cerebral and who can get into their minds, like Hanson. Penhall doubts Hanson can do it, because he's such a dorkus maximus. Well, Hanson proves him wrong by showing up at a punk show, headlined by the Klean Kut Kids (also the name of the gang, for those of you paying attention).

It's a pretty badass scene, the singer exuding more glam rock than punk, but who's keeping track.

Hanson arrives in his plaid bondage pants and spiked hair, looking like he wandered in from a Good Charlotte drummer audition circa 2001. He checks out the band and after about five seconds, suddenly the FEELING washes over him and he's totally at one with the punk experience. Exhibited by his slamdancing. Either that or he's really constipated.

He does a massive stage dive and he's CONVERTED. Yeah man, punk is a feeling, a way of life. He GETS it.

The next day at school, Hanson buddies up with the leader of the punk kids, really just a nerdy guy who wears a sleeveless leather jacket over his nerdy clothes. Hey! It's the driver of the car in the beginning? NerdPunk is actually a mellow guy who likes school and studies a lot. The gang also includes a young Jason Priestly:

And this kid who I instantly recognized from the third Nightmare On Elm Street, because my mind remembers those sorts of useless things.

NerdPunk takes Hanson to a diner after school to meet Lancer, who is the singer of the Klean Kut Kids (or the KKK, see what they did there?) and Lancer is spouting off stupid stuff he thinks is about "sticking it to the man" and anarchy. Except no writers looked up the accurate meaning of anarchy. This guy is at least 25, why is he hanging around these high school kids?

Penhall also shows up in a duster and a ponytail, as Hanson's lame stepbrother. He is totally killing their punk vibe.

The gang hangs out at night and wreaks havoc.

Pink anarchy signs are so badass!

And they are out past the town's curfew, and Hanson tries to get them to go home, but they refuse and the police force goes apeshit and releases the K-unit. Well, that escalated quickly. Hanson has a slumber party at NerdPunk's house and asks why he is involved with these guys, and it turns out that NerdPunk has been friends with the other guys since childhood and is just looking out for them.

Hanson never checked in with Fuller. You don't ever want to piss off Fuller.

The next day Hanson convinces the punks to join in a game of football with some jocks on the lawn (he should send that guy to make peace treaties in the Middle East!), but Lancer shows up to laugh at them for it. Just then a police cruiser shows up and tells Lancer to stop jaywalking. Lancer acts like a defiant ass and tries to assault one of them and they handcuff him, all the while Lancer laughing as if he's stuck it to the man. Call me square, but they were being patient with him until he TRIED TO ASSAULT THEM. Not very anarchist.

Later on that night, the gang is out ready to cause trouble and Lancer shows up telling them they should retaliate against the police. He gets them in a frenzy and tells the group they should go blow up a police station. The rest of the crew are way into it (and easily brainwashed) as Hanson tries in vain to convince them not to. He calls Lancer out as to why he needs to have all these high school followers. Finally, NerdPunk tells everyone it's a bad idea and they should just go home. And they do.

WHAT? Crisis averted that quickly? What was the point even? Is this about unruly teenagers? Police oppression? Cult leaders? I don't know.

Hanson tells NerdPunk he dun' good, and reveals his cop status. NerdPunk is not angry, and is quite relieved. He gets the obligatory sympathy hug from Hanson.

As they sit enjoying a cup of coffee, NerdPunk confesses that he was the one driving the car when the other kid got injured. "Dammit. You know I have to arrest you, right?" asks Hanson, mostly upset he has to arrest a kid he was planning on taking under his wing. NerdPunk says he knows. In a poignant moment, Hanson gives him a few more moments of freedom, allowing him to enjoy his coffee and the smell of the night air before he accepts his fate (which will probably be a date in juvie court and probation).

So, really? What was the point of this? The punk lifestyle is seductive, yet dangerous? Honestly, kids gathering to see a punk show in an approved venue is not the worst that can happen. Maybe don't trust anyone who is an adult yet likes to influence the minds of teens? Be cool, stay in school? The greatest form of rebellion is EDUCATION!? Pretty baffling.

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