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August 30, 2014

Short-Lived Shows: The Adventures of Pete & Pete

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 9th 2006 9:25AM
Adventures of Pete & PeteRemember the days when alternative music and indie movies were actually alternative and independent? When I was in high school in the late 80s and early 90s, you got beat up for liking Hal Hartley movies, listening to bands from Athens and thinking Crispin Glover was the best part of Back to the Future. Members of Generation X that had taken a liking to punk rock or arty movies had to wait until college to find like-minded folks. This may, of course, be my romanticizing memory at work, but if your glory days were anything like mine, than The Adventures of Pete & Pete was your show.

The Nickelodeon show started out as a series of shorts and developed into a show which ran for three seasons between 1993 and 1996. The show's eccentric cast of characters included two brothers named Pete, their mom, the metal plate inside mom's head, dad, the eldest Pete's best friend Ellen, Artie the strongest man in the world and little Pete's tattoo Petunia. The show followed the kids' adventures in the suburban town of Wellsville.

The show was narrated by the eldest Pete, but the younger, uber-cool Pete stole the show. In his red flannel hunting cap, young Pete took on the International Adult Conspiracy, led his classmates to dodgeball triumph over a team of snooty brats and had a superhero for a best friend. The show's surreal comedic sensibility always gave way to a non-saccharine, yet maudlin core.

The greatness of Pete & Pete was sealed by its countercultural credibility. The show's soundtrack was provided by bands like Magnetic Fields, Apples in Stereo and Polaris. The guest star list was beyond hip - David Jo of The New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Martin Donovan, Debbie Harry, Patty Hearst and Steve Buscemi.

A recent issue of Filter magazine featured a full-length article on the Petes, which some nice soul has uploaded in scanned form to TV.com. In Filter's interview with the show's co-creator Will McRobb, McRobb states that "our big goal was to make the show four things: funny, sad, strange and beautiful...to have those be the informing ideas and nothing else...Anybody who felt like a misfit growing up appreciated the show, because more than anything, the show is trying to say that weird is good."

Lucky for you, you can now give The Adventures of Pete & Pete to some weird kid you love. Seasons One and Two are out on DVD. Rumor has it that we may not see Season Three as it was yanked from Paramount's release schedule earlier this year. A petition for its release is available online.

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Amanda

I thought that Toby Huss (who played Artie) also played Mr. Tastee... Adam West played the principal of Little Pete's school, and Janeane Garefelo (sp) was on it too.

January 14 2007 at 6:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff stiefer

Another guest star not mentioned was Kate Peirson(sp?) from The B-52's (the red head)

another bonus, more obscure guest star was the lead singer of Velocity Girl, Sarah Shannon. VG was one of my favorite indy bands of the 90's.

LOVED Pete and Pete!!

jeffro

November 11 2006 at 2:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patrick Wynne

"But!! Did you know who played the part of Ice Cream headed Mr. Whippy? It was Michael Stipe from REM."

He actually played Captain Scrummy, who sold sludgesicles at the beach in the episode where the Petes and Ellen searched for the missing Mr Tastee, the ice cream-headed guy.

I've never craved a DVD set more than I do the third season of Pete & Pete.

November 09 2006 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liza

the girl from Welcome to the Dollhouse, ahhhhhh what's her name, she was on too. HEATHER MATARAZZO

November 09 2006 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
john

Michelle Tractenburg had a recurring character as young Pete's friend.

November 09 2006 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kerry

I'm with Malcolm -- How could you not mention Michael Stipe as the ice cream man?!

November 09 2006 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liza

i just rented Pete & Pete on netflix! ha. would love to own it though, and hoping Salute Your Shorts will be out on dvd!

November 09 2006 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zach

I watched a few episodes recently and it brought back alot of memories, The soundtrack was amazing, one of the best theme songs of all time.

November 09 2006 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JW

Back in the day when Nickelodeon was the coolest, and MTV actually played music videos. I miss Pete and Pete and who can't forget Salute your Shorts and Are you Afraid of the Dark??

November 09 2006 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
trachein

Loved Pete and Pete and the Adventures of Alex Mack. When is that going to be on DVD. I've never seen it.

November 09 2006 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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