Well it wasn’t exactly the collab we had in mind, but Tiffany Haddish and Awkwafina in a “21 Jump Street” reboot? The comedic potential is limitless.
But let’s talk about the reboot aspect of this. “21 Jump Street” was about two white police officers, who were former classmates, that went undercover as high school students (and tested the limits of suspending our disbelief) to “infiltrate the dealers and find the supplier” of a deadly drug.
But there are elements of “Jump Street” that need to change, including the high school infiltration angle.
Yes, black and Asian people age immaculately. It’s a fact.
Happy 47th Birthday to Ms. Nia Long✨ pic.twitter.com/3SoeJo4g6D
— Blk Girl Culture (@blkgirlculture) October 30, 2017
Happy 50th Birthday to Lucy Liu 💕 pic.twitter.com/XKlkFjYLqF
— MEFeater Magazine (@mefeater) December 2, 2018
And no offense against Ms. Haddish or Ms. ‘Fina, but there’s no way they’re anywhere near passable as high school students. Tiffany Haddish played a teacher in the recent “Night School” and while Awkwafina did play a high school student in Netflix’s “Dude”, that movie was shot back in 2015 when she was in her late twenties.
However, if Awkwafina, Jonah Hill, and Channing Tatum were walking down a high school hallway and I had to play “which one of these is not a narc?” I’d choose ‘Fina.
If they did stick with the high school premise, a possible story line could be Haddish as a teacher while ‘Fina plays the student. Both infiltrate a high school in a classic “good cop, bad cop” routine. In this case “good teacher, bad student” or vice versa.
But that feels lazy, mostly because I just came up with it right now. Also, it would be under utilizing what we have in racial dynamics. Look no further than “Rush Hour” to see the comedic and relational potential of the “fish out of water” story.
Chris Tucker presented Jackie Chan with an Honorary Oscar last night. pic.twitter.com/KGf5TIPjBe
— Briana of Tarth. (@_BrianaJay) November 13, 2016
Instead of an Asian coming to America or an American going to Asia, how about we have two Americans from the opposite coasts who come together to solve a case.
Tiffany Haddish is from southcentral LA and Awkwafina is from Queens, NY. Why not bring those real life elements to the script and give us a buddy cop comedy that explores different cultures in the States?
There are black and Asian-American communities on both coasts that experience life differently and this reboot can explore those cultures with both poignancy and hilarity. Imagine Awkwafina trying to walk Tiffany Haddish through a wintery Chinatown or Tiffany Haddish driving Awkwafina down Crenshaw.
Cameo from Kung Fu Kenny anyone?
— Said Chaou – 周樂 (@zhousaid) June 25, 2018
What if the duo go undercover in their respective districts as small business owners/workers to find out there’s a connection between their businesses and their communities in the form of ::something illegal:: that leads them to… the evil, old, white guy. That idea needs polishing… or scrapping, but the fact is that the “Jump Street” franchise is limiting.
Instead of a trying to figure out how Haddish and ‘Fina will fit into the “Jump Street” universe, how about we give them their own franchise?
We don’t need to see a reboot of a reboot. Most of the great buddy cop duos were made from scratch. “Rush Hour”, “Lethal Weapon”, and “Bad Boys” are just a few. Find a POC writer(s) to draft up an original script with room for improv to let Haddish and ‘Fina run with it.
— Comedy Hype (@ComedyHype_) December 6, 2018
The best way Tiffany Haddish and Awkwafina can subvert the “Jump Street” tropes is to not do it, and to do something fresh and original because that’s what made them stars in the first place.
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Written in VA. An MFA graduate in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.