Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Johnny Kitties: Celebrating Johnny Depp--21 Jump Street, Season 2

What is Johnny Kitties? See Johnny Kitties: Celebrating Johnny Depp for all the details. 

From Splice magazine, 1988 
Source: DeppImpact.com 
I think it was during Season 2 of 21 Jump Street that I went bonkers for Johnny Depp. The Sunday night show became the highlight of my week, and I bought every teeny-bopper "Johnny Magazine" (i.e., any magazine featuring Johnny--which was all of them) I could find in our little Ohio town. As soon as I got home, I'd read it, tear it up, and cover my large bedroom closet's fold-out doors with Johnny's photos. 

©TV Guide magazine
Can you imagine how I felt when I found him on the cover of our copy of TV Guide? I loved getting TV Guide in the mail every week and reading its articles about all the stars and shows, so it wasn't unusual for me to ask as soon as I got home from school whether it had arrived. Here's how the conversation went between Mom and me that week: 

Me: "Did we get the TV Guide today?" 
Mom: "Yes. DON'T tear it up! You have to wait till the end of the week! I want to read it. We have to use it."  
Me, upon finding it: [Gasp!!!]
Mom: Remember what I said!

Jump Street's on a Roll
Season 2 of 21 Jump Street may be my favorite of the series. By then, all of the actors on the show were making the characters their own. The cast chemistry was golden. Johnny was most often paired with Peter Deluise, who he later said was his closest friend on the set. Watching their scenes together, you can tell! They had lots of fun working together and coming up with characters and back stories for their undercover assignments.

During Season 2, we all learned more about the personal lives and backgrounds of the show's characters, from the arrival of Penhall's high school sweetheart, Dorothy, to Ioki's harrowing escape as a teenager from Vietnam. Tom Hanson, who seemed a little more relaxed and cooler, had his own set of problems. In this season alone, he revealed the story behind his father’s death, was kidnapped, had a slight midlife crisis, considered quitting his job, witnessed his girlfriend’s murder, and got shot! Some of that was in consecutive weeks! 

No wonder I fell so hard for this guy: He needed several hugs!

The show continued to tackle difficult subjects, including AIDS, drugs, alcohol, weapons, and racism. Guest stars included Christina Applegate, Peter Berg, Mindy Cohn, Jason Priestley, and Ray Walston. Watching these episodes now, I found some that I knew entirely by heart, specific scenes and images that are still--after all these years--clear in my head, and moments that will remain there for at least another 20. There's no getting rid of them now. 

Here, The Kitties explore some of Season 2 episode highlights: 

Johnny Kitties: Celebrating Johnny Depp--21 Jump Street, Season 2 (1987-1988) [October 22, 2010]
  • Episode 24. Christmas in Saigon: This exciting episode delves into Harry Ioki's past as a Vietnamese refugee, a story based on actor Dustin Nguyen's real-life escape during the war. How intriguing it was to find out that Harry Ioki wasn't who he said he was! As he retells his childhood story, we relive his horrific memories. On the lighter side, everyone spends Christmas dinner at Sal's house where we meet his wife Rosa (Mindy Cohn) and their four kids. [Kitty Note: Welcome, Lily, who is thrilled to take the role of Rosa. Mindy Cohn reprises her role once more in episode 27, "Chapel of Love."] Also in this episode, Hanson brings his girlfriend Amy home to meet his mom. (In one of the episodes that I nearly remembered by heart, Orpheus 3.3, Amy is tragically killed during a convenient store hold-up, and Hanson--who feels he could have saved her--nearly drowns in guilt. That episode is stellar but too sad to highlight in the kitty tribute.) 
  • Episode 25. Fear and Loathing with Russell Buckins: In this episode, Hanson meets up with one of his childhood friends, who takes him on  road trip to crash the wedding of an old flame. During this trip, Hanson reveals a rebellious side--something he missed out on growing up. He gets a tattoo, wrestles a bear, misses a court date, considers quitting his job, and--as depicted here--crashes into a cow. 
  • Episode 26. A Big Disease with a Little Name: Considering the time, I think it's fantastic that 21 Jump Street featured a story about AIDS. This is another episode in which Hanson is confronted with his beliefs, mortality, and the direction of his life. He does a lot of soul searching this season! For some comic relief, we're treated with the arrival of Doug Penhall's high school sweetheart, Dorothy, played by Peter Deluise's then-real-life-wife Gina Nemo. Dorothy appears in a few more episodes before she leaves Doug for good. They reminded me of The Honeymooners while it lasted--always arguing, but clearly in love. 
  • Episode 27. Chapel of Love: It's Valentine's Day, and the Jump Street crew have no plans. Instead, they play poker and recount their worst dating stories. Judy shows up late to the game, having just returned from her worst date. This episode is really funny and entertaining until you get to Hanson's story. After dropping him and his date off at a Valentine's Day high school dance, Tom's father--also a policeman--went on patrol with his partner. During a stop at their usual coffee shop, he is shot and killed by a startled burglar! 
  • Episode 28. I'm OK, You Need Work: This week, Hanson goes undercover--without telling anyone--in a drug rehabilitation center to help one of the kids he busted during Season 1. Sadly, the kid dies during a lone escape attempt, and--for being a troublemaker--Tom is drugged up and nearly sent to a state institution to be "lost in the system." Luckily, Captain Fuller figures things out and comes to his rescue. Oh the drama!
  • Episode 32. Raising Marijuana: I didn't remember this episode when I watched it this time around. (Johnny's not in it. Is that why?) It's not a favorite, but it marks the first time that Harry Ioki lets loose and takes on a fun undercover character. Although usually paired with Judy Hoffs, he was teamed up with Penhall for this one. They play geeky Siamese twins with matching clothes, moles, and hairdos.
  • Episode 35. School's Out: During the last episode of the season, the Jump Street program is under threat to be shut down, so everyone is out looking for a back-up job. Judy Hoffs got the best one--to her great dismay--as Officer Milk Carton. On a field trip while teaching grade-schoolers about street safety, she spots a thief running out of a convenient store, orders the kids to stay put, runs him down, and saves the day. Thanks, Officer Milk Carton! (Holly Robinson in this costume is one of the images that has always remained in my head! Do you think she'd be pleased with that?)
What are your favorite episodes from Season 2? 

Tune in next month to catch highlights from Season 3 of 21 Jump Street. (Johnny is getting antsy.)

Did you miss the Johnny Kitties' tribute to Season 1? See it here! 


Anonymous said...

Wow, where do I begin. I have to say one of the most stand out episodes of the second season is Orpheus 3.3. Johnny Depp delivers a really amazing performance there.

Melissa Connolly said...

I agree absolutely! That's an episode I've pretty much remembered by heart since it first aired. I couldn't figure out how to include it in my drawing, but it's one of my all-time favorite episodes and makes clear that Johnny is bound for greatness.