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File:Chips 3187.jpg

Jon and "Ponch"


Shawn: Dude, CHiPs was gonna come on like 20 minutes. What was I supposed to do! It was The One With... the freeway crash where the car used the empty car-carrier trailer as a ramp and flipped in mid-air!
Gus: That happens in like every episode.

Psych, "And Down the Stretch Comes Murder"

CHiPs was a 60-minute comedy/drama on NBC about two California Highway Patrol (CHiPs) motorcycle officers. The series ran for six seasons from 1977 to 1983. The stars of the show were Francis "Ponch" Poncherello (Erik Estrada) and Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox).

Each episode of the show featured chase scenes and a series of accidents, many of which were choreographed scenes of cars flipping over and catching on fire. Throughout the entire run the two main characters never drew their weapons, the only police series which can claim that distinction.[1]

Though Ponch and Jon are best friends on the show, the actors playing these two roles were known for their deep mutual dislike.

Tropes used in CHiPs include:
  • Big Fun: Officer Grossman ("Grossy") fancies himself a comedian.
    • In one episode it doesn't go over well because he tells a racist joke. The same joke is a hit when told by a black comedian.

"If you see a black guy driving fast, he's been shot at."--the punchline.

  • Cartwright Curse: In one episode Ponch finally finds true love. After the climax, Ponch and his girl have a picnic in the park... where she gets hit by a drunk driver. The episode ends with the girl dead in Ponch's arms.
  • Da Chief: Sgt. Joe Getraer
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Throughout six seasons, neither Ponch or Jon drew his weapon.
  • Do Not Pass Go[context?]
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Almost every episode. Unique in which they'd freeze on one character laughing over something, then another character reacting laughing and freezes, and so on.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: in most episodes, one or more car will flip or explode.
  • Everything's Better with Motorcycles: The show was about a motorcycle highway patrol squad.
  • Friends Rent Control: Initially averted by Ponch living at a mobile home in a trailer park. Later played straight when he moved into a fancy apartment by the marina. This led to jokes among fans about Ponch being on the take from criminals.
  • Hollywood Police Driving Academy: though Ponch and Jon avert this one themselves, the rest of the CHP (and for that matter everyone else on the freeway) turn it Up to Eleven at least once an episode! (see Idiot Ball, below)
  • Hot Pursuit: Once Per Episode
  • Idiot Ball: Watch enough episodes and a viewer might come to the conclusion that (a) California Highway Patrol officers are complete morons, or (b) the show was written by former police officers from around Los Angeles out to make the CHP officers look like complete morons.
  • Sorry, Billy, But You Just Don't Have Legs: An episode involved the younger brother of a CHP officer who'd been killed in the line of duty. He started posing as a cop in his brother's old uniform. When caught by Ponch and Jon, he protested that he couldn't join the CHP himself because he was color blind.
  • Weaponized Car: In one episode, Ponch and Jon took on 'the Stunt Car bandits'.
  1. Yes, even Barney Fife drew his weapon. And put the bullet in.