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Home » Culture and Criticism

21 Jump Street: "Don't Pet The Teacher"

Submitted by on December 11, 2009 – 8:00 PM8 Comments

kylestone"Shut Up, Penhall" Count: 1 0! It's a Christmas miracle!

Nighttime at a high school whose physical plant is modeled after the Taj Mahal. A synthesizer plinks disapprovingly as a mysterious hand pink-spray-paints the phrase "Weintraub bites the big one" in varying sizes in the principal's office. As the mystery tagger moves on, the camera pans in for a close-up on a framed newspaper article: "KYLE STONE TAKES GRAYHOUNDS TO 1971 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP." "Gray-hounds"? Also, this is poor dummy-newspaper work even for vintage TV: the spacing of the headline is all dicked up, the banner has a bunch of dead space in it, and you can't see it in the photo, but if you pause the DVD, the dummy text is two different articles, neither of which is about sports.

Our anonymous graffiti stylist pays this no mind, however; he's too busy lurking facelessly into the typing room (drink!) to steal himself a few state-of-the-art Selectrics; shooting some forbidden hoops in the gym; creepily leaving a red rose on the desk of one Miss S. Chadwick; and wearing crazily high-waisted jeans — seriously, the rise on his Wranglers is, like, 23 inches.

At Jump Street, Jenko gives the team the brief: South Central High School has a theft problem. Four B&Es in the last four months, but no signs of forced entry, so the administration thinks it's an inside job. Jenko hypothesizes a Steve-Sanders-esque legacy-key situation, adds that Miss Chadwick has a stalker, and dumps the file on Hanson. In lieu of having an actual subplot, or any lines, in this episode, Hoffs contents herself with peering into the file as Hanson asks after suspects. Jenko likes a kid named Jeffrey Stone for it; he's basically a fence, selling concert tickets, records, electronics, you name it. "How do I get close?" Hanson asks. Jenko, sounding exasperated: "Ask him to a rock concert, I guess." Weirdly dated phrasing for that character; yeah, most of his phrasings are dated, but in a hippie way, not in a Mormon way. See: Jenko's next lines, which exposition that Ioki is taking the sergeant's exam and conclude with, "Ayyy, I can dig it, man."

On the way to SCHS the next day, the Hansonmobile catches a flat. Of course Hanson doesn't have a jack, and of course an age-appropriate young lady stops to offer help; she doesn't have a jack either, but she does have a can of puncture seal (which she hands him with a mocking "Welcome to the '80s" — drink!), and a handful of clumsily flirtatious lines. The young lady is played by Leah Ayres, who did a lot of one-shots on TV back in the day; she's the actress they got when they couldn't afford Lori Loughlin. Anyway, Hanson is picking up what she's putting down, in spite of the hubcap-sized Mandee's earrings threatening to eat her head, but you've seen TV before, so you can probably guess that her parting line is, "Susan Chadwick — I'm in the book under auto repair." Hanson is on his way to an assignment that, at least in part, directly concerns the physical safety of a Miss Chadwick, but does not add the two things together at this time, because he is an awesome detective.


SCHS hallway. A janitor patiently scrubs at the graffiti while a kid in a half-spiked, half-mullet hairstyle a la mid-decade John Waite jokingly accuses the janitor of painting the graffiti, then tries to sell him a "compact-disc player." Drink! The janitor, Albert, glares at John Waite Hair — a.k.a. Jeffrey Stone, Jump Street's best suspect — as he retreats; the two clearly have a prior, and unfriendly, relationship.

In the principal's office, Weintraub is semi-accusing Jeffrey of the break-in and graffiti. Jeffrey smart-alecks that it's nice work, but he's more of a performance artist: "You know, like hanging upside-down with a hammer in my mouth, over dried [sic] ice?" That reference could not be any more eighties; drink, and drink deeply. Jeffrey snarks that he needs a hall pass — he hates to miss Chadwick's English class — but Weintraub orders him to sit down, and asks how he's spending his nights, since his first- and second-period teachers never see him. Jeffrey is smirky but noncommittal in response; Weintraub glowers, whips the red rose out of his desk, and says Miss Chadwick found it on her desk. Jeffrey suggests asking Merlin Olsen (drink!), that perhaps an FTD Cupid has gone rogue. Weintraub Reefer Madnesses, "You're a smart kid, Stone. Don't screw up your life over a few kicks." Jeffrey's like, whatever: if you have proof, have me arrested; otherwise, I'm out. Weintraub sighs and writes Jeffrey a hall pass, then offers the tone-deaf suggestion that, for excitement, Jeffrey might instead try out for the basketball team: "Your brother loved it." Yes, just the ticket for a boy who lives in the shadow of his older brother's basketball triumphs, and who is also by all appearances kind of runty. Jeffrey: "Yeah, did him a lot of good. Maybe I can get lost in Cambodia too."

Hanson wanders the halls, looking for the right classroom. Off-screen, Miss Chadwick blathers about imagery in contemporary poetry. Guess whose room Hanson is looking for? Thaaaaat's right, radio listeners: Miss Chadwick's class. Staring at her from the doorway, Hanson looks like he might wet himself; Miss Chadwick spots him and comes to the door, flirtatiously noting that he might have called first. Hanson agrees that it's embarrassing, since he's…a student. Miss Chadwick looks ill.

But she manages to introduce him to the rest of the class, and as he's finding an open seat, a distraction arrives in the person of Jeffrey Stone, who makes a grand entrance with an unfunny monologue about how he's tardy because aliens abducted him or something. Jeffrey sits down behind Hanson; Miss Chadwick asks the class to read a poem in preparation for discussing it, but Jeffrey uses the time to start a bidding war between Hanson and some other kid for Van Halen tickets. Hanson has won the seats for $70, but the failure of everyone involved to whisper even a little gets the attention of Miss Chadwick. Jeffrey, forced to put the tickets away, avenges himself by announcing to the class that Miss Chadwick has a secret admirer. Shot of Hanson, cranked around in his chair and listening really hard. The class "oooh"s as Miss Chadwick, who apparently started teaching three hours ago and therefore doesn't know that you can't show any weakness, looks around like a hunted bunny. Jeffrey looks her up and down ickily.

Hallway.Jeffrey catches up to Hanson and gives him the Halen tix for free: "It's kind of like how a bank gives away free toasters — you know, new customers and all?" Drink — and I wish banks still did that. I'd take a few fees on my checking account if I got a blender out of it or something. Jeffrey tries to sell Hanson a CD player, and when Hanson passes, he invites him to a bar for a drink. "What's the matter," Hanson asks, "doesn't a hotshot like you have any friends?" If he does, he probably doesn't use PE-teacher argot like "hotshot," Hanson, but Jeffrey doesn't notice, saying that it depends on what he's selling. He adds that, if Hanson needs an ID, he's "got a department that handles that, too." Fine: heh. Hanson smiles in disbelief. Jeffrey moves closer to share that most of his fellow students are just suckers "waiting for the prom"; Hanson needs Jeffrey to sensei him before he ends up "buying some dog a corsage."

Elsewhere, a teacher in a red suit assures Miss Chadwick that students have had crushes on their teachers since time immemorial, then advises Albert on the hanging of a banner. Albert turns to beam down at them, and (spoiler!) it's right around here that I figured out he's the culprit. Anyway, Miss Chadwick says it's more than just a crush, she can "see it in [Jeffrey's] eyes," and now he's burglarizing and red-rose-leaving and whatnot…Red Suit sighs that Miss Chadwick's class is the only one Jeffrey bothers going to, and if he's switched to another class, Red Suit is afraid he'll stop showing up to school at all. Red Suit muses that Jeffrey's a bright kid who took his parents' relatively recent divorce pretty hard, and it's "too bad Kyle isn't here; he'd have been a good influence. Handsome boy, very popular — you'd have liked him. All-American, wasn't he, Albert?" "Yes ma'am," Albert dead-eyeses. "Basketball state championship my senior year." Miss Chadwick and Red Suit joke about Miss Chadwick's own schoolgirl crush on her biology teacher, and Red Suit takes her leave.

stephen_tobolowsky_bob_bishop_heroesMiss Chadwick comes to the table where Albert is standing to rummage in her handbag, and Albert, who is polishing a gigantic disco ball (?), talks some shit about St. Kyle, saying he "wasn't such a hotshot" and that both Stones are "mouthy." Miss Chadwick's like, ohh…kay, and Albert smarms that if "that little punk" gives her any more trouble, he'll handle it. Not all that fearsome a threat coming from a guy who looks like Stephen Tobolowsky.

Miss Chadwick is heading to her car when Hanson pulls up and Kim Carneses, "I've got something for ya" — it's a replacement can of puncture seal. He didn't want to still owe her come midterms. She says, "Thanks a lot for…you know," and they stare at each other for four days, and there's endless meaningful banter about how it's inappropriate, he's "just a kid in [her] class with a flat tire," blah. Miss Chadwick says she didn't figure Hanson for a Van Halen fan. "I didn't figure you for a teacher, either." YES, HANSON. WE KNOW. Hanson takes his leave; Miss Chadwick looks after him wistfully for a week and a half, then heads to her own car, where she finds another red rose on the driver's seat. Dun.

Casa Stone. In front of a roaring fire, a middle-aged man makes out with a twentysomething woman who's wearing Isotoner slippers. Jeffrey, himself wearing a shit-eating grin, comes into the living room, passes under the…bust of Frederic Chopin? Not sure who the sculpture represents, but whoever it is, he's crammed into a top corner of a bookcase and he doesn't look too happy. Anyway, Jeffrey flops down in an armchair to turn on the TV and flip channels as annoyingly as possible. Stone Sr. doesn't appreciate the intrusion, presumably, although his line readings come straight off the set of a Cymbalta commercial so it's kind of hard to tell. The chippy glares (or has something in her eye) from under a teased mane of hair. Stone Sr. asks if Jeffrey has any money. Jeffrey asks if Stone Sr. spent all of his "on replacement pajamas." Ha? The chippy gets even squintier as Stone Sr. calls Jeffrey a "wiseacre" (hee), and expositions that he's going out of town next week and thought Jeffrey might need money for food. Jeffrey takes some cash, then tells them not to wait up, addressing the chippy with, "Remember: tomorrow's a school day." Burn! The chippy looks congested. There's a little "where are you going"/"out"/"out where"/"anywhere but here" back-and-forth between the Stones before Jeffrey bounces.

At a poorly-lit club, extras in Cosby shirts do the Molly Ringwald dance from Sixteen Candles while Hanson looks around for Jeffrey. The Red Redding of South Central HS is at a table with a mug of beer, doing various ticket and electronics deals with the Koosh-ball-coiffed clientele. Hanson thinks the club "stinks — so finish your beer and let's hit the road." "I don't drink," Jeffrey shrugs, packing up.

First stop on the Jeffrey Stone Night Drive: Miss Chadwick's apartment. Chadwick, wearing the sort of cheap-looking robe-and-peignoir set only modeled by television characters, flips through a magazine as Jeffrey peers through her blinds and growls, "She likes to read in bed." Hanson is all, ew, you spy on her? "A man's gotta have his hobbies," Jeffrey says, pulling away.

Where to next, Hanson asks? Jeffrey says he's the one driving "this tour bus," which Hanson also thinks stinks, so Jeffrey suggests "someplace with a view," namely…

…the school's roof. Jeffrey gives Hanson tips on how to break into the office from the vent system. Hanson wants to know what the hell they're doing up there. "Gettin' away from down there," Jeffrey says — stuff like "adult paranoia, state championships, senior dances…Cambodia." Okay, not that Kyle wouldn't factor into Jeffrey's life at all, but he graduated in '71; Jeffrey is class of '87.I can hang with the idea that Jeffrey himself may have proceeded from some kind of empty-nest/replacement issues between his parents, although that timeline doesn't quite work either, provided we assume Jeffrey is 17 — but that would generate more angst at home than at school, you'd think, and even then, how likely is it that anyone would still make comparisons to a brother that much older? This backstory actually has potential; it just didn't get thought through.

ROCKER TEQUILABack to our hero, holding a golf umbrella on the rainy roof while Jeffrey lights a Marlboro and gives him good-natured shit for reselling the Van Halen tickets. Hanson: "How'd you know that?" Jeffrey snorts that Hanson has never listened to Halen in his life (true — and, given that the episode takes place in the Van Hagar era, a solid choice on Hanson's part), adding that he knows people: "That's my talent. Some guys are good with…basketball. I'm good with people." Jeffrey doesn't mind that Hanson sold them, though, musing that maybe they could go into business together. Then Hanson has one of those patented 21JS leading-the-witness lines about how small-time sales like Jeffrey's would "bore" him. Jeffrey doesn't take the bait. It's possible that he just didn't hear Hanson, though, since the next cut is to…

…Penhall, umpiring an in-office game of baseball and calling a strike on Ioki at deafening volume. Ioki, wielding a patrol baton as a bat (heh), immediately argues the call. I tell Penhall to shut up, but then he pretends to kick dirt on Ioki while rhubarbing, "Billy Martin Billy Martin," which is actually legitimately funny, and DeLuise didn't oversell the line for once. "Shut up, Penhall" rescinded! A first! Jenko winds up to throw another pitch, paired with a quiz question on the municipal code, as Hanson clomps in. Ioki swings, misses, gets most of the question, and has to listen as lieutenant's pet Hanson answers the rest of it in full. "I was getting to that part, Hanson," Ioki grumps, then goes on to remind the viewing audience that the Japanese perfected the game of baseball. Interesting; that's a reference I would expect a present-day audience to be aware of, an '80s audience less so. "Yeah. Sushi and baseball both, right?" Penhall cracks. But didn't the Japanese invent…so if the…you know what, forget it. It's obviously the only other Japanese thing the writers could think of, and on top of that, I keep forgetting we're supposed to assume Ioki really is Japanese at this point in the series.

Jenko asks how the concert went. Hanson does a callback to the fact that he's never listened to Van Halen in his life, and goes on to say that he thinks Jeffrey's their guy: he's a loner, "part-time junior vampire," hangs out on the school roof and spies on Miss Chadwick. "Any priors?" Jenko asks, continuing to pitch while Penhall flexes on him. (Penhall is wearing a sleeveless shirt, and while he is the diametric opposite of my thing, I have to say, nice guns.) Hanson says no, "just a felony-sized chip on his shoulder," but Jeffrey thinks Hanson's a "player" so Hanson's rolling with it.

At a restaurant, Miss Chadwick grades papers while sharing her table with a mangy shrimp salad. Hanson sends over a drink, then follows it over to take a seat at Miss Chadwick's table. Man, that acid-washed jean jacket is bad. Miss Chadwick tsk-tsks him for buying her — or anyone else — a drink, but it's a Coke, and he bought it for himself. Isn't it sort of a weird spot to grade papers, Hanson asks? "Not when you consider that most of them were written at a Twisted Sister concert," Miss Chadwick "jokes." Drink. Then they have to talk EVEN MORE about how they shouldn't hang out or be attracted to one another because of the teacher-student relationship, before Miss Chadwick says, "I bet you're gonna grow up to be a biology teacher." Henh? "I am grown up," Hanson smolders. He tells her to relax, he's not hitting on her, then leaves the table and a full Coke behind — then comes BACK to object to the biology-teacher thing and start eating her salad without asking first. God, whatever.

SCHS. A series of moody, significant shots of the deserted gym, and especially the basketball hoop. The "mystery" burglar turns on the scoreboard, and the sounds of a fantasy crowd cheering him on swell on the soundtrack as Burgly McGee prepares to win the game at the buzzer…then chonks the ball off the rim, because he sucks. As he heads into a nearby classroom, he's shot from the armpits down to preserve the non-surprise we will feel when the Albert in the first act goes off in the third, so we spend the bulk of the tracking shot looking at his crotch, and the fashions of the time did not leave nearly enough to the imagination. Dressesleft O'Stealigan begins gather up all the adding machines in sight (drink), steals some calculators for good measure, and leaves another rose for Miss Chadwick.

The lady herself is getting a ride home from Hanson, and says she had fun. She's about to get out of the car, but stops to say that something about him "doesn't fit." "Maybe you don't have all the pieces yet." Blah blah banter Hanson asks if she has a date to the prom, and she says, "Seven years ago, thank you," which, if you think about it, doesn't exactly count as turning him down. Hanson watches her inside, then pulls out of the foreground to reveal Jeffrey lurking in his car in the background of the shot. You guys! I think Jeffrey did it! …No, I don't.

Ioki, who has finished his baseball game, is now cramming for the sergeant's exam with a Marilyn poster on the wall behind him, while eating a Twinkie. I'm not sure I get how Americanized he is. Maybe if he were frenching a bald eagle? He tells Hanson he's already passed the written; he has his oral exam (hee) on Thursday, and then he's Sergeant Ioki. Also, Jenko wants to see Hanson — SCHS got hit again last night, and the thief lifted two grand worth of desk calculators.

maryk2Jenko's office. Jenko is doing hammer curls with a dumbbell the size of a manhole cover. His workout attire is awesome: a Lions sweatshirt, tucked into mint-green boxing trunks and accessorized with a jump-rope around the neck. Hanson apologizes; he didn't think Porfirio Burglarosa would hit again so soon, and he thought he needed to give Jeffrey some room. Jenko grouches that now the suits downtown have gotten an earful from the SCHS principal, who's set to hire an outside security firm thanks to Jump Street's "crackerjack detection" — and that kind of talk endangers the unit. Jenko softens to ask what exactly Jeffrey got up to the night before, and Hanson has to admit that he spent the evening flirting fruitlessly with Mary Kay LeChadwick instead of keeping an eye on their prime suspect. Jenko is unamused, saying that Hanson is welcome to have a personal life as long as it takes place during his two weeks' vacation each year; he snaps that, if Hanson thinks he still has a case, it's time to go pick up Stone.

Miss Chadwick is discussing Chekhov while wearing a red half-zip sweater the size of my first apartment and what looks like a LifeCall button as a necklace. Perhaps you can tell me which is sadder: that I can remember all the words to "The Mrs. Fletcher Rap," which Mr. Stupidhead and I made up 20 years ago to make fun of that exact ad; or the list of modern poets behind Miss Chadwick on the blackboard, which includes one "E. Pounds [sic]." (I bet "T.S. Elliott" is on there too, but I'm unpausing before I have to live with that knowledge.) Principal Weintraub and Albert approach the classroom and call Miss Chadwick out as Hanson sits up straighter to try to eavesdrop.

In the hall, Miss Chadwick says Jeffrey isn't in class. She admits to receiving another rose on her desk that morning, but says it's just a harmless crush. "'Harmless crush,' the guy's a thief," Albert gracelessly misdirects before Weintraub tells him to stow it. Miss Chadwick follows them down the hall to Jeffrey's locker, saying it's not fair to just search it that way, and Hanson, running up unsolicited behind the group, adds that it's not only unfair, it's illegal. He's told to butt out, but he says he can't. Moving between Albert's bolt-cutters and the locker, he blares, "Don't do this!" Any time you want to identify yourself as a cop, there, Hanson — aaaaaany time.

Finally he busts his badge out and cites the statute. Miss Chadwick glares. Weintraub wants to know why he wasn't notified that Hanson was a police officer."Because then it wouldn't be undercover," Hanson snarks. This coming from a guy whose idea of effective undercover work is "I know we met like five minutes ago, but I know a guy WHO STEALS CARS, JUST LIKE YOU ALLEGEDLY DO." After an angry pun involving student bodies (boo), Weintraub again orders Hanson to open the locker. "Not without probable cause," he sighs, but the extremely reliable and objective testimony of Albert takes care of that — he saw Jeffrey's car in the parking lot last night, and caught Jeffrey himself lurking in the halls. Nobody asks what Albert himself was doing there, or why he's wearing ladies' Jordaches. Not that I really want the answer to those questions either, since it probably involves masturbating somehow.

Just then, the bell rings. Hanson and Weintraub continue to argue over whether Hanson's going to arrest Jeffrey, and then Jeffrey rolls up, insults Weintraub, and offers to trade him front-row Halen tickets for a stack of signed hall passes. Hanson badges Jeffrey and tells him to open the locker. Jeffrey smiles all "touché" and calls Hanson a "narc blossom" (heh), but consents to open his locker, if only to embarrass Hanson for presuming him guilty. But guess what turns up in Jeffrey's locker, set off with a minor-chord guitar sting?The calculators. Jeffrey's like, "Oh, please," and gives Hanson shit for enjoying putting him in cuffs; Miss Chadwick looks pained. Albert watches impassively as Jeffrey accuses the grown-ups of not even trying to set him up effectively and Hanson reads him his rights.

Police HQ. Jeffrey asks his father if it matters that he didn't do it, then thanks him for bailing him out. His father grunts that, if he weren't leaving on business the next morning, he'd have let Jeffrey spend the night in jail. Jeffrey reiterates he didn't do it. Stone Sr. tells him not to lie, and Jeffrey says that he doesn't lie to Stone Sr. — why should he bother, when Stone Sr. never listens to him? Stone Sr. is more perturbed that Jeffrey got caught than he is that Jeffrey is a thief. Stereotypical '80s-anti-establishment "yeah, it's about the bottom line" daddy-issues rhetoric from Jeffrey as they climb into Stone Sr.'s Jag.

lord_byron_coloured_drawingHanson visits Miss Chadwick to try to explain: he was only doing his job. Miss C isn't having it, saying he humiliated Jeffrey and ripped him off emotionally. Yeah, while in part trying to protect you. Hanson follows her inside as she accuses him of trying to impress her with the gift of a CD player, bitching that he spelled "Lord Byron" wrong in his card. Et tu, Ezra Pounds? Shut up, Miss Chadwick. Hanson didn't give her the gift or the card, which she found on her doorstep when she got home. He also tells her that Jeffrey used to spy on her — but that Jeffrey couldn't have given her the disc player either, because he sold out of them two nights ago and spent the afternoon at central booking. Then who did? Hanson doesn't know. "And all the roses?" Hanson wishes he had given her those; I think they're too on the nose, but the comment gets a smile out of Miss Chadwick. She asks if he goes from school to school picking up his English teachers. He mock-accuses her of picking him up by the side of the road. They mack. "Boys didn't kiss like this when I was in high school," she says, although they've been kissing for all of three seconds by that point. "Good thing, you never would have graduated," Hanson goobs. Nice ego.

Miss Chadwick turns out the lights, but something about the exchange lights the bulb over Hanson's head, and he turns the lights back on to pace around and theorize: if Jeffrey didn't give her the CD player, maybe he didn't give her the roses either. Uh…huh? Didn't we establish this already? "Which means maybe I busted the wrong guy," Hanson intenses. Yeah, and maybe you ESTABLISHED THAT ALREADY in a conversation youuuuu JUST HAD.

School. The "anonymous" hand of The Burglar Of Seville reaches into a trophy case for a champion's trophy. From a shadowed doorway, Jeffrey snaps, "That's my brother's trophy, Albert." Albert remains expressionless. "Keep your hands off it." Albert claims he was "just cleaning it." Jeffrey tells him to do the windows and take the trash out, but stay away from Kyle's stuff. What is Jeffrey doing there? Well, he might ask Albert the same question, adding that Albert probably thought Jeffrey was in jail, but Albert doesn't know what it's like to have a rich father. Albert blinks sadly as Jeffrey goes on to say that Albert is "a lousy basketball player" — just as bad as when Albert played with Kyle. See my previous comments; unless Jeffrey has seen home movies of Kyle's games, there's no way he could remember that firsthand. Jeffrey accuses Albert of setting him up, expositioning that he's seen everything Albert's been doing because he hangs around school at night: "It keeps me away from out there."

Albert denies everything, and Jeffrey says he didn't really care until he got busted for it, but now he's going to rat Albert to everyone — including Miss Chadwick. That gets Albert's Irish up; he bellows, "Don't you tell her anything, Kyle!" "'Kyle'?That's my brother's name, you tardo," Jeffrey says. Yeah, we got it. We are not tardos (…"tardoes"?), and put all of this together weeks ago, but Jeffrey forges ahead: doesn't Albert remember that Kyle's the one who got Albert bumped to the bench? Albert brandishes the trophy and says that if Jeffrey tells Miss Chadwick anything, he'll kill Jeffrey. Jeffrey laughs at this, saying Albert can barely mop. Albert swings at him with the trophy, but Jeffrey dodges, says Kyle told him Albert had bad moves, and takes off down the hallway, without explaining how he remembers that exchange if, as seems likely, Kyle disappeared when Jeffrey was three or four years old tops, and was probably in-country and not available for chats with his toddler brother for a year or two before that. And would not have used terminology like "bad moves" in the second place.

Albert, possibly offended by this violation of the logical timeline, chases Jeffrey to the stairs, which they both tumble down unscathed, and then into the gym, where he pins Jeffrey down by the neck and screams at him all Kyle-this-Kyle-that until Hanson materializes with gun drawn and orders Albert to drop the trophy. Albert slowly lowers the trophy; Jeffrey scampers away; uniformed cops file in as backup, but keep a respectful distance lest Albert have a self-pitying monologue to deliver. And so he does. Cue the phantom cheering from before, but this time it's punctuated by the sound of a buzzer — and booing. "NOOOOOOOOOOO!", Albert wails repeatedly. The camera pans in on him going all decompensating and twitchy under a rain of remembered Bronx cheers. "The guys who are good players," he quavers, "they get the girls." Hanson grimaces and uncocks his gun. "They get a chance to win. They get a life. The guys who are on the bench…they stay there forever." Jeffrey's expression, which seems to say, "That's sad, but…therapy, fella," mirrors my own.

The uniforms at last cuff Albert and lead him away. Jeffrey thanks Hanson, who asks about the provenance of the other stuff: "Stolen?" "I bought it," Jeffrey admits. "Why?" "Why not?" An actual answer as to your motivations would be more enjoyable for this viewer, frankly, but let's assume that Jeffrey enjoys his rep as an outlaw even if he isn't one in fact. Jeffrey then claims he wasn't spying on Miss Chadwick; he was trying to get up the nerve to ask her out. And he couldn't have done that at home, or at a coffee shop, instead of leering at her from his Datsun? Jeffrey guesses Hanson beat him to it; he's impressed. Jeffrey owes Hanson good seats the next time Springsteen comes to town. "You got it," Hanson says, punching Jeffrey paternally in the arm. "I'll see ya." Not going to take his statement, then? Take him downtown to get the bail refunded? [tap tap] Is this thing on, Officer Hanson? No, Hanson leaves Jeffrey alone to retrieve Albert's Basketball Of Broken Dreams, tell Kyle that "this one's for you," and sink a nothing-but-net shot to the cheers of the phantom crowd.

Parking lot. Ioki and a bespectacled dweebus face off for a parking spot and collide. Ioki calls the dweebus "lizard breath" and shouts, "You got a driver's license or something?" 1) This makes no sense, insult-wise. 2) It looked to me like the dweebus was turning right into the space, and Ioki was turning left — which means it was the dweebus's right of way, and Ioki is in the wrong. But the dweebus is cowed, and retreats, allowing Ioki to park without retrieving any insurance information.

Would you like to guess who is Ioki's examiner for his oral exam?Correct. Ioki gulps as Dweebus holds up a photo ID and snaps, "My driver's license." Wah wah.

Chadwickhaus. Miss Chadwick answers the door to find Hanson proffering a red rose. Wouldn't you go with one of the myriad flowers her creepy stalker didn't leave on her desk, Hansonova? He offers to buy her a drink. Miss Chadwick suggests they just stay in, and shuts the door in our faces so they can finally Do It in private.

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  • Jaybird says:

    I do believe "They mack" will replace "They fight" in the Recap Hall of Fame.

  • Jen S says:

    Awesome. I forgot just how much we were spoon-fed Idiot Plots on this show–it seemed so deep and relevant when I was eleven!

  • Rachel says:

    Burglar of Seville. Love it! These 21JS recaps are so much fun.

  • GeorgiaS says:

    If I'm remembering correctly (having watched this again a few weeks ago), Hanson also arrests Albert without charging him. And seemingly has no evidence against him.

  • RJ says:

    After a truly horrible, horrible weekend – you had me at "A synthesizer plinks disapprovingly."

    This was my first smile in 3 days, and believe me, I appreciate it!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Georgia: Nobody reads Albert his rights, either. Maybe someone in the phantom crowd yelled them out and I just didn't hear, but for a guy who's made the butt of procedure jokes, Hanson doesn't seem to observe it, like, ever.

    @RJ: Glad I (and Casio) could help!

  • Holly says:

    …how likely is it that anyone would still make comparisons to a brother that much older?

    Probably not THAT likely, but you never know. When I was in high school, I had a fearsome bio teacher who had been there long enough to have taught the parents of several kids in my class. She would frequently remark on this (i.e. "when I had your father in this class, he sat in THAT DESK, and he was a MUCH BETTER STUDENT"). Granted, she could totally have been making up the "that desk" part, but she wasn't making up the "had your father in class" part.

    Comparisons to older siblings happened with a few of the older teachers, too, though I take your point that Kyle is so much older than Jeffrey as to be practically a different generation — but I think it falls into the "comparison to your parents" category above.

  • Satan Mayo says:

    That was a thousand dollars' worth of desk calculators!

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