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February 22, 2012 5:57 AM   Subscribe

An oral history of The Adventures of Pete and Pete
posted by timshel (29 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
"I do not believe you can catch me for I am super freaky."
posted by weinbot at 6:16 AM on February 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also: Great article, wonderful show.

I'm all smiles right now.
posted by weinbot at 6:17 AM on February 22, 2012


I believe Pete and Pete and Calvin and Hobbes are the two biggest factors in how I became who I am today. The gratitude I feel is beyond words.
posted by timshel at 6:24 AM on February 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Based on a previous MeFi thread on P&P (which I never watched, being the wrong age at the time), I downloaded a bunch for my kids. The tween/early-teen set love it. So...thanks!

(That said, also based on a MeFi thread I downloaded Doug and it was roundly panned.)
posted by DU at 6:44 AM on February 22, 2012


Just came here to post this. So so so so so so soso so sososososososososooo good.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:54 AM on February 22, 2012


Though I'm 41, hence missed watching P&P as a kid, I did watch as a childless adult mainly because I never really stopped watching children's TV. Brilliant.
posted by signal at 7:04 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe Pete and Pete and Calvin and Hobbes are the two biggest factors in how I became who I am today. The gratitude I feel is beyond words.

I feel very similarly! I wrote a comment about Apocalypse Pete back in July.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:06 AM on February 22, 2012


I'm so into this Pete & Pete resurgence right now. It vindicates me in a basic way I didn't realize I was missing. Like getting to finally sit at the cool table. (The feckyeahpeteandpete tumblr currently has a playlist up (autoplay warning) of some of the finest music from the show, if you want to make your ears happy.)
posted by Mizu at 7:44 AM on February 22, 2012


Loved this show! There is a guy at my gym who looks just like Artie, and it cracks me up every time.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2012


Because of the way programming on AFKN (the military TV channel in Korea, as it was called at the time), worked, you rarely got shows on time. Studios were basically offering their shows up to be shown on condition of it not being for profit (so no TV commercials advertising cereals and toys and whatnot). Because of that, we were always about a year or two behind on shows. Also some shows would be shown for a season then you wouldn't see it for a year or two, or never again. We didn't even have real seasons. Things would just be shown in huge chunks at a time until they just ran out of stuff to show. Ina way it was cool because I probably was forced to watch a lot of different things I wouldn't have if I had all the American channels in the world to watch. For example, as a kid I had a deep appreciation for the original Mission Impossible, Kojak, Quincy M.E. and other shows that would randomly get shown late at night to fill gaps. With only one channel and X availability, the kids shows was probably the biggest victim for the type of seemingly arbitrary programming shuffle that happened.

I remember one day on my after school television watching randomly catching an episode of Pete and Pete and I was hooked. Sadly, I was only able to catch handful of episodes before it seemed to also disappear off the air mysteriously like many other of my favorite shows like Eerie, Ind.

Besides the fact that I had a big crush on Big Pete and the cool theme song, I think the thing that struck me most about that show was it felt so real, even with that certain dreamy quality as mentioned in the article. Some elements just seemed off-kilter and fantastical (like Artie, for example), but at least to me, that's how the world seemed to be when you were a kid. The most minor happening is a great adventure. People and things took on archetypal proportions, like that one teacher you hated or the weirdo neighbor that every kid in the neighborhood had some crazy story about how they got to be that way.

The kind of hijinks Pete and Pete got into ran more true to me than any other "realistic" portrayals. I didn't really identify with soap opera-like romance woes and friendship dramas. For me, the things that stand out were like episodes of Pete and Pete. Like the time my friends and I fought a "war" against an incoming invasion of caterpillars from a nearby housing development. To us it was an epic battle of what seemed at the time, like an hours-long battle against a swarm of tens of thousands of caterpillars. None of the adults believed us, and even now looking back, I doubt if it happened exactly like how I remember it, or maybe it did and I'm just cynical now too. Or how a neighbor and I used to see if we could spot UFOs. I wasn't super into extraterrestrials and all that, but just sitting around comparing notes from UFO and cryptozoology books and freaking out because we were sure we saw a weird blob of light floating around was fun.

So in a way, that the show kind of just seemed to fizzle and disappear off the air like it did for me when I watched it makes sense because for the longest time it was one of those "Wait, did that happen or not?" memories that you have a lot of from when you were younger.

It's one of those shows where I go back now and watch again, and while I enjoy it, it's a little bittersweet because I don't connect with it the same way I did all those years back. The show's cinematography had an slight fuzzy haziness to it at the time that oddly I remember now as feeling a lot like how things looked and felt to me at the time. Apparent even more so when I try and remember things from then. Now I don't seem to feel that anymore, but just hearing "Hey, Sandy" will jog happy memories like some kind of time travel incantation.
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


My kids watched Pete & Pete when they were too young to really get it. I say "My kids watched..." when really it was me watching it while my first two young sons spit up formula on my shoulder. I absolutely loved that series - I was 20 or so when I first caught it, and I still remembered being young, and Pete & Pete just nailed all the weird geeky little things I was guilty of as a kid. I remember being irritated that we didn't have shows like that when I was growing up and feeling like an utter misfit.

Like kkokkodalk said - hearing "Hey, Sandy," jogs happy memories, and makes me all perky and happy, no matter how long its been. In fact I think I may put it on my ipod so it can shuffle in when I'm not paying attention and make me grin.
posted by routergirl at 8:12 AM on February 22, 2012


I still maintain that Pete & Pete is the most accurate depiction of New Jersey ever to appear on screen. The first Harold and Kumar film comes close, though.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:20 AM on February 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Where's my third season DVD set, damn it!
posted by Rangeboy at 8:22 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, there was a P&P reunion last fall in LA; video here. It was organized in part by Marah Eakin, who's been doing the P&P writeups at the The Onion AV Club's TV Club. There's another one in New York this Friday.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:29 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rangeboy, I was just about to post that video. I highly recommend watching the whole thing, even though it's about 90 minutes. The story of where "Pipe!" came from alone is worth it.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 8:34 AM on February 22, 2012


Just chiming in to echo the love for Pete and Pete. It was a great show, made even cooler by an amazing list of guest stars, from Janeane Garofalo to Marshall Crenshaw.
posted by Gelatin at 8:58 AM on February 22, 2012


Don't. Eat. Metal. DON'TEATMETAL!
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:57 AM on February 22, 2012


Don't. Eat. Metal. DON'TEATMETAL!
Billy West, too!
posted by timshel at 10:05 AM on February 22, 2012


I hope Adventure Time has the same kind of influence as Pete & Pete.

That's a world I'm looking forward to living in.
posted by pokermonk at 10:32 AM on February 22, 2012


I had to dig up this quote from Quiz Show:

“You know, I just had the strongest memory. Coming home from school, going to the fridge... ice-cold bottle of milk, big piece of chocolate cake. It was just the simplicity of it. I can't think of anything that will make me feel that happy again.”

I was around ten years old when Pete & Pete started airing, so I wasn't yet at the point where I had taste in things — just vague feelings of “like” or “dislike.” I certainly couldn’t have explained what I found so appealing about the show.

And then, maybe ten years later, I started tracking old episodes down. The Digital Archive Project had all the episodes, and though getting them required saint-like patience with p2p programs, it ended up being worth it when I watched the first one and found myself awash with wistful warmth.

Accidental nostalgia is the best kind — when a sensory trigger dislodges an oddly-shaped memory from the recesses of your mind. For me, at least, Pete & Pete can testify that the weirdest stuff is also the best at producing this feeling. Re-watching it (as I do from time to time) is like cleaning underneath the bed of my soul and finding all the things I’d forgotten I remembered.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:49 AM on February 22, 2012


I love Pete and Pete, and back in the day I was an evangelist and promulagator of the show through various methods before the DVDs were available. I first downloaded terrible quality rips from Kazaa, and made sure those copies were available. I upgraded to better quality rips when those became available. I hunted down all the episodes, the commercials, the shorts from disparate sources on the web, put it in a folder with music, the Polaris album, art, whatever I can find. I shared on my campus hub as even better quality arrived, proselytized, and evamgelized. By my reckoning, most people on campus had my copies, and I made sureany people on campus had it.

I bought the DVDs as soon as they were available, and stopped sharing then. I want a third season DVD. Hell, of they made a full series boxset, I'd get it in a heartbeat, rebuying what I already own, and turning my previous discs into permanent lending copies.

Needless to say, I love Pete and Pete. There was a period where Pete and Pete was required watching for potential girlfriends at the end of a date. Of they liked it, they were a keeper. If not, it was not to be.
posted by X-Himy at 11:03 AM on February 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


as above, navigating by Pete and Pete and also Calvin & Hobbes wth a liberal dose of Daniel Pinkwater has led me to the enlightened, glitter-bedecked wheelbarrow-riding existence I currently enjoy

also the first time i did mushrooms i came down watching Pete and Pete and that was basically the most perfect experience a late adolescent could ever have, plus i totally thought all the bushes in the show were secretly weed

pete and pete is a reality show from earth prime man
posted by beefetish at 1:01 PM on February 22, 2012


“This is your driver, Stu, with an update on our new onboard regulations: passengers will refrain from KILLING MY SOUL.”
posted by savetheclocktower at 1:42 PM on February 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pete & Pete is something I'd mention to people for a long time, to see if they remembered. It's like....

You know Sturgeon's Law, that 90% of everything is crap? Well that's true, but it only accounts for a certain base level of quality. Really, 90% is too small a figure, the percentage of things that are really worthwhile, as opposed to the time-spending, makeshift, job-keeping, plain-braining things that fill the airwaves, is much much bigger than 90%. Sturgeon's Law, it seems, applies to itself too. That 10% of things that aren't crap itself has a 10% of things that's actually pretty good, and a 10% of those things that's wonderful, and so on. Pete & Pete rests about four of five levels up that ladder.

Historians will learn far more about us from watching a single episode of Pete & Pete than full runs of a hundred meaningless sitcoms, reality shows, or whatever. In the ruthless file compression scheme used by the human brain, most television reduces well into a concentrated beige paste, but Pete & Pete takes up space.

As the article mentions, part of how it got made is the fact that Nickelodeon had that kind of ethos in its early days, a lot like Cartoon Network's early days in fact, and MTV's, where they created a lot of new things that get fondly remembered over time just because they had to to fill up space. And as the article mentions, the show was lucky enough to get started at Nick while that was still going on, but unlucky enough to be there when they were beginning to discard it. I think these changes often come at a bright young early network when some of the early executives who care about the channel's mission are pushed out and replaced with people for whom it's just another job. (The word is that Cartoon Network's current period of suck came about as a direct consequence of someone high up getting fired over that ridiculous Moonenite LED "terrorism" scare when the Aqua Teen movie came out.)

Anyway, here are some of my favorite moments from The Adventures of Pete & Pete:
1. Being told that riboflavin is the vitamin of time travel.
2. Artie saying "I do not believe you can catch me, for I, ah-ha, am super-freaky."
3. Most of the episode where Young Pete hears a song once, realizes he will never hear it again, and spends the rest of the episode in a desperate attempt to affix it in his memory.
4. Young Pete, who the whole episode has been coming up with ever more creative ways to mess up pitchers on an opposing little league team, wearing a suit and standing before a board bearing a picture of a horse with a pointer, explaining to the pitcher: "And that is how you make a colt into a gelding." The ball lands in the parking lot.
5. As referenced in the post title: "All is pipe!"
6. "Drink that... it's milk."
7. From that same episode, the most surprising cameo of the show's long, storied history of surprising cameos: John McLaughlin of The McLaughlin Group, as himself! On his set! Bye-bye!
posted by JHarris at 2:10 PM on February 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying that everything Cartoon Network does is great, but any network that is putting out both Adventure Time and Regular Show is doing something right.
posted by X-Himy at 3:30 PM on February 22, 2012


Except in the past they had been known to air, at once: Dexter's Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo and several other great shows, AND Space Ghost Coast to Coast, AND Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry and many other classic cartoons, AND Cartoon Cartoons on top of that. And they had Toonami, although admittedly it was sometimes awesome sometimes meh.

There was once a time when, if you turned the TV to Cartoon Network, there was a better than 50% chance you'd happen upon something worth watching. From those days they have gone way downhill.
posted by JHarris at 5:11 PM on February 22, 2012


Mike Maronna, the guy who played Big Pete, is now apparently a Hollywood electrician.
posted by eugenen at 6:04 PM on February 22, 2012


Well at least he's still finding work. He always seemed like a good guy. Danny sort of became one of Nick's house stars for a while, but Maronna appeared maybe in a commercial or two then vanished. His is a more subtle talent I think, one of delivery and inflection.
posted by JHarris at 1:13 PM on February 23, 2012


Mike Maronna also starred in the Nada Surf video for "Whose Authority" back in 2008.

Seeing Older Pete all grown up riding his bike the way I ride my bike was very moving.
posted by helicomatic at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


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