More importantly though, this extended cameo scene gives the series something it never had: closure for Hanson and Penhall. In the TV show, Penhall got a proper send-off but Hanson just disappeared after the fourth season with no explanation. The two’s friendship and partnership were a huge part of the show and the fact the two never got to say goodbye made it feel like the show never had the true conclusion it needed. Here we finally get it.
The two are shot multiple times by the gang, drawing fire from Jenko and Schmidt, and lay on the ground near death. Hanson turns to Penhall and delivers a pitch perfect death monologue.
“Doug, I know sometimes I was a jerk to you when we were undercover. I just didn’t feel good about myself. All that stuff I wore like the bracelets, the rings, the tight pants. It was just so that people would think I’m cool. The only approval that I ever needed was my best friend.”
Like a lot of moments in the film that draw on the original series, this has multiple meanings. It’s of course a joke at the expense of the dated fashion in the original series but it also functions as a motivator to further drive Schmidt’s arc. More importantly though, this is the closure Hanson and Doug needed. The two were often at odds with each other in the show, Hanson starting off as more by the book, and Penhall more goofy. Over time they slowly grew so close they were the most important thing in each other’s lives. It’s especially poignant when you remember that Hanson’s father had been killed before the events of the show. The fact he only needs the approval of Penhall speaks volumes about their friendship.
This continuity continues into 22 Jump Street, although only in a small joke during the end credits, which feature a barrage of possible sequel titles including “Jump Street Generations.” This supposed sequel would feature Jenko and Schmidt teaming up with original series characters Ioki and Booker, played by Richard Grieco. This, in a delightfully roundabout way, suggests that seeing Dustin Nguyen on a TV screen in the first film was actually Ioki on some kind of deep cover assignment. That or he simply rejoined the force after getting into acting. Whatever the case, it’s a far more interesting conclusion for the character than simply being written out with zero explanation like he was in the show.
It also should be noted the brief appearance of Booker with Jenko is taken from a longer deleted scene from 22 Jump Street, which featured an extended joke about why Booker/Grieco never should have left Jump Street. As much as it’s mainly a joke about Grieco’s career, it does give context to the Booker character and his spinoff series. Especially the fact that Booker’s now a campus security guard, paralleling his leaving the police and working for a private company.
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