Battle of the Bands

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Battle of the Bands
Episode # 516
Air Date Jan 31, 1982
Briefing None
Title screen

Brief Plot


After slashing some tires, some punks with mohawks break into the van of a band, Snow Pink. While stealing guitars, they accidentally undo the emergency break with one of them, Fido, still in the van. He jumps out as it rolls down the hill. When it reaches the end, it flies over a car and onto the beach. Ponch and Jon chase the punks while Baricza secures the scene of the crime. After chasing them up and down slippery hills, they wind up at the beach under a pier, but don't know which of the punks are the ones they were chasing, so they move on.

Bonnie is at the beach taking a statement from Snow Pink when Jon and Ponch arrive. She's a new wave artist with pink hair.

Back at Central, Getraer, and Harlan give Ponch some ribbing about his singing. Turner comes in with some microphones that some bikers were banging on everything in a cemetery. One is labeled "Snow".

Jon and Ponch go to talk to Snow Pink at Breaking Point and walk in on a rehearsal. They return her damaged microphones but inform her they haven't found her guitars yet. Her friend Duke is screening tapes. He just listened to a group called "Pain" that he doesn't like. After Snow Pink urges him to be more open, he agrees to invite Pain to be in the battle of the bands. What they don't know is that Pain is made up of the same punks that stole Snow Pink's equipment!

On patrol, Ponch spots someone hammering a tire and finds a woman in a bikini who has had her tire slashed. Ponch helps her put on the spare tire.

Later, Ponch and Jon meet up with Snow Pink at her Passion Fashion store. Ponch looks for an outfit for when he performs on stage.

Back at Central, Grossie slam dances against the lockers and tells the history of slam dancing. In the process of slamming himself against lockers, he almost hits Getraer.

Shortly thereafter, Pain is practicing on a rooftop when Jon and Ponch arrive. Just before they're about to go inside, one of the band members throws a bass guitar off the roof and onto a car causing a multiple vehicle accident. After making sure a man's okay, they chase the punks who escape on their motorcycles. One of them hides out in his parents' garage as his mom asks if he had fun. The rest of the punks climb over a barbed wire fence and escape.

At Central, Getraer hands out the schedules and Ponch leaves to get ready for his last performance. Jon goes to try to talk Duke into more security. Duke gets a call asking for tickets and Jon overhears that Pain is playing. He heads inside to visit Snow. She shows off her new outfit and gives him a box with a new outfit for Ponch.

Meanwhile, Pain is practicing. Some of the band members are frustrated that they may not win, so they come up with the plan to trash the place.

When Jon and Ponch meet up again, Ponch admits he's happy being a CHP officer and doesn't want to give it up. However, he's upset that Jon hasn't come to hear him sing. Ponch promises that Jon will get to hear him anyway.

At the Battle of the Bands that night, Pain rips up the bathroom while Snow Pink performs. Soon enough, Pain begins disrupting the audience. When Duke tries to kick them out, they threaten him with a knife.

After locking the doors, Pain performs "I Hate Pain". Punks in the audience start slam dancing as Snow Pink notices her guitar being used by a member of Pain. Outside, Jon finds out the doors are locked, hears trouble, and breaks a window to get in. He discovers Duke is tied up in a closet. Jon tells him to call the police and runs into the concert hall. Pain stops playing and runs away as a riot starts. LAPD officers get the crowd under control with Jon's help on the microphone. As the leader of Pain tries to escape, Ponch rides up causing the punk to spill. The punk threatens to blow them both up by holding a lighter near leaking gas. Ponch blows out the flame and saves the day.

Back inside Breaking Point, Ponch performs "Celebration" on stage in front of Jon, Snow Pink, Getraer, Bonnie, Grossman, Turner, Baricza, and Harlan. When he finishes, the winner of the battle of the bands is announced as Snow Pink.

Great Quote

"Oh Ponch! You were terrific last night!"
-Bonnie to Ponch (regarding his singing)

Guest Stars

Special Guest Star



Fun Facts

Ponch sings
  • This episode has original music and Erik Estrada singing "Celebration".
  • The song Pain plays throughout the episode is called "I Hate Pain".
  • A poster of the album art for Oingo Boingo's "Only a Lad" is displayed prominently backstage at Breaking Point.
  • Spin magazine named this episode as one of the defining moments in punk rock/new wave history.
  • The exterior of Passion Fashion was filmed on Hollywood Boulevard at North Cherokee Avenue. View in Google Maps
  • Pain played on the roof of a store on Yucca Street. The building is now a green and white pizza business, but the design hasn't changed much. View in Google Maps
  • The exterior shots of Breaking Point, the venue for Battle of the Bands, were filmed on Santa Monica Boulevard at (what had been) the Starwood club. It hosted many punk/new wave acts in the '70s and early '80s, but closed in June 1981 and was torn down soon afterwards.


  • The punks open Snow Pink's van by wrapping a chain around the door handle. That's a strange technique!
  • Before the van jumps onto the beach the volleyball players run. How could they be sure the van was going to jump over the car onto the beach?
  • Ponch and Jon must be psychic. Without seeing the punks set the van in motion down the hill, they chase them.
  • When the guitar causes an accident, there's nobody in the crashing white car.
  • After checking one person at that accident, Ponch and Jon leave. They ignore everyone else.

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Preceded by:
"Bright Flashes"
Battle of the Bands
Followed by: