Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Adventures of Pete and Pete: Time Tunnel

This is yet another first for ABC Not-Just-For-Kids -- I'm recapping a show I didn't watch when I was younger. Nothing against The Adventures of Pete and Pete; I just don't remember it even being shown here in Australia. And I definitely would remember it, because Big Pete was one of Kevin's brothers in the Home Alone movies. Nothing Home Alone-related gets past me. Nothing, y'hear?!

Don't worry, though, because I've been watching Pete and Pete on YouTube nonstop lately. It's got everything I want in a kids' show -- lots of bike-riding around town, a ranga, an awesome bully and a tale of unrequited teenage love. Let's meet (or remeet) the main characters:

Big Pete Wrigley (Michael Maronna) -- the oldest Pete. He's yet another cool ranga to add to our list, which is awesome, because that's only my favourite tag. Big Pete is usually our narrator, and every week he takes us on a Pete-filled adventure involving Pete. And sometimes, it also involves Pete. Little Pete, that is.

Little Pete Wrigley (Danny Tamberelli) -- the youngest Pete. He's kind of a jaded, annoying brat, so I don't have too much to say about him. Except that the kid who plays him was also Jackie Rodowsky in the Babysitters Club TV show.

Ellen Hickle (Alison Fanelli) -- Big Pete's best friend, and sometimes a little something more. She's such a sweetheart, even I have a little bit of an Ellen crush. Plus, she plays the French horn, and if we've learned anything from Freaks and Geeks, it's that Seth Rogen is hot for chicks who play brass instruments. (That's the lesson we were supposed to learn from Freaks and Geeks, right?)

Joyce Wrigley (Judy Grafe) -- the Petes' mother. She has a metal plate in her head. To be honest, none of the episodes I've seen feature very much of her, except the Mr. Tastee episode where she reveals that she and the boys' father met when he metal-detected her head at the beach.

Don Wrigley (Hardy Rawls) -- the Petes' father. He once found a car buried in the sand at the beach. Again, I'm not very well-versed on the parents yet.

Artie, the Strongest Man in the World (Toby Huss) -- a character I hate and only include here for authenticity's sake. I think he's a meth head or a pedophile or something.

Nona Mecklenberg (Michelle Trachtenberg) -- the slightly quirky neighbour. She's a friend of Little Pete's, and also, she's Michelle Trachtenberg pre-Harriet the Spy, so she gets an 'awesome' stamp from me. Plus, her dad's Iggy Pop. Seriously, Iggy Pop.

Endless Mike Hellstrom (Rick Gomez) -- the all-important bully. It wouldn't be a kids' show without a bully, and Mike really excels at it. I truly buy his commitment as the town badass.

Now let's get this recap started!

It's the last day of daylight savings time in Wellsville. (And, I suppose, the entire east coast.) Apparently every year on this day, the Petes decide to do something legendary with their extra hour, but this time Big Pete has something different up his sleeve -- he's going to ask Ellen Hickle out on a proper date to figure out once and for all whether or not she's his girlfriend or his friend who happens to be a girl. When he tells Little Pete of his plan, Little Pete reacts...well, let's just say he reacts. The words, "Kill me with a brick!" may have been used. This immediately (immediately!) reminds me of the scene Home Alone 2 where Kevin pelts the living shit out of Marv with bricks, which is coincidental because Big Pete was actually in that movie. To be fair, it's less likely to be a coincidence and more likely the fact that I can't stop thinking about Home Alone whenever Michael Maronna's on screen. God, I love those movies.

Big Pete has some narration time where he mentions that Little Pete wants to turn back more time than just an hour. I guess he's not ready to grow up yet, even though I sure would like him to. See, I don't like Little Pete. Not at all, not in the slightest. His antics don't amuse me, and the only reason I tolerate him is because he gets to hang out with cute-as-a-button Michelle Trachtenberg.

Big Pete finally gets up the courage to call Ellen from a tree outside her house. I had no idea cordless phones from the nineties could get reception that far away from its base, but there you go. Big Pete asks her out, and she nervously says yes. Aww, young love, blossoming right before our very eyes!

Meanwhile, Little Pete is getting ready for his trip back in time by wearing a mood ring (?) and eating a lot of riboflavin. (??) Nona's there, so it's okay. She's so cute, except for the tiny coffin she carries around with her. That's a little on the strange side.

In town, Big Pete's friend Teddy is riding one of those mechanical horsie rides they have out the front of stores. He appears to be enjoying it a little too much. Bill apparently bet him a dollar that he wouldn't ride it, but when Teddy asks him to pay up, Bill reveals that he actually said, "one doll hair." Heh. I'm so using that from now on. Sorry,, I actually bet twenty doll hairs on that footy game. Let me just go get my Barbies and settle up. Pete tells his buddies that he and Ellen are going out on a date, and they're not exactly jumping for joy at the thought. The boys decide that if the next car that comes along is a yellow schoolbus, it means the night will be a success. Naturally, Bus Driver Stu takes this opportunity to come by and give Big Pete a ride home. Wow, they're not even in school! Bus Driver Stu really goes that extra mile.

On the bus, Bus Driver Stu reveals that he and Bus Driver Sally broke up again. Dammit. I wish those crazy kids would just work it out. Big Pete begins to wonder if maybe this isn't such a good omen after all.

Little Pete and Nona are walking their bikes along the street, when Endless Mike comes by in his very own Mondale. Same colour as Brandon Walsh's and everything. Nona, who's the new girl on the block and doesn't realise that Endless Mike is who he is, tries to make friends with him. He responds by opening his car door and knocking her and Pete off their bikes. Wow. You know, I've noticed that a lot of bullies on these kids' shows are all talk, they don't really do all that much actual bullying, but shit, you guys. Endless Mike just knocked a little girl to the ground with a car door. That's pretty awful. And awesome. Not that I condone high-schoolers pushing little girls over, but way to actually be a bully, Endless Mike. I like your style. Anyway, Pete hatches a plan to use his extra hour to ruin Endless Mike's life and become a legend.

Big Pete decides to take his life into his own hands and ask Endless Mike if he can borrown his car for the evening. Surprisingly, Endless Mike says yes. He even gives Pete a lift to the drive-in after Pete reveals that he doesn't have a license. I guess Ellen will have to walk there, then. How chivalrous. At the drive in, Endless Mike gives Pete lessons on how to get lucky in a car. It involves fogging the windows up to create a "cocoon of love." The undertones here are subtle enough that they can get away with teaching Big Pete how to Zuko it up at the drive-in without too much trouble. Endless Mike's car even has a 'go' button that make the seats extend all the way back. That's a Quagmire move if I've ever seen one. Giggity giggity, Hellstrom. Giggity giggity.

Date night! Ellen arrives at the drive-in dressed in "a new vest and a nervous smile." Naww, Ellen. They talk for a little while about how weird it is that they're on a date, and do some more nervous smiling. (And vest-wearing.) Then Pete gets a little handsy and starts pulling the yawn-and-stretch move, and Ellen hurries off to get popcorn. Shot down, Pete. He decides that now's a good a time as any to prepare his cocoon of love, and tries to fog up the car windows by breathing on them. It does nothing. Way to breathe, No Breath. He eventually passes out on the car horn.

Nona and Little Pete, who've somehow snuck into the drive-in, attempt to lure the projectionist out of her little projection room to begin Operation End Endless Mike. So far, everything's perfect...except for the fact that Big Pete and Ellen are the ones in Endless Mike's car, not Endless Mike himself. A minor detail, as I'm sure he's not too far away.

Ellen returns with the popcorn and wakes Big Pete up. His recent coma was apparently personality-altering, and he decides to be Casanova all of a sudden. He even calls her "sugar love." Ick. Ellen complains that it's so foggy that they can't see the movie anymore, and he's all, "I know." Ellen suggests that perhaps they take this whole date thing a little slower, and Pete responds by putting on the charm and asking her, "Don't you wanna...know?" Know what, Pete? Is that 'know' in the biblical sense, because if it is...well, that's actually kinda awesome. I can't snark the Bible. Well, I could, but I'm not all that jazzed about the idea of eternal unrest, so...

Little Pete has infiltrated the projection room. He's pretty stealth for a loud, chubby ranga. He's shocked to see his own brother get out of Endless Mike's Mustang and head on over to the candy bar. Oh no! His plan! It's in tatters! TATTERS!

Big Pete returns to the car, and discovers that Ellen rolled the top down and destroyed his cocoon of love. Oh, Ellen. It's like you don't even care about all the trouble Pete's going to to get into your pants. Ten minutes before the movie's due to end, Pete realises that his window of opportunity is closing, so he presses the 'go' button and the two get horizontal. Ellen demands to know what kind of crazy shit Pete thinks he's pulling, and Pete's response? "It's the final test for us, Ellen. You hit the 'go' and then you know." Again with the knowing, Pete, you horny bastard! Ellen yells at Pete for a little bit, and then realises that they're not alone. Oh no, they're not alone.

Endless Mike's all, "Yo, I was in the neighbourhood, thought I'd stop by and see if you two were getting it on in my car." Big Pete is mortified. Little Pete is ecstatic that the victim of his time tunnel prank has finally arrivesd. Endless Mike tells Big Pete that his timing with the 'go' button was "tasty," but he's embarrassed at Pete's pathetic attempt at the cocoon of love. Ellen finally realises that Big Pete has been putting the moves on her the whole time. A little slow on the uptake there, Ellen. What did you think you two would be doing lying down in a car at the drive-in while he calls you sugar love and admires your vest? Ellen runs off, distraught, and Endless Mike slips into the front seat, apparently pleased with the way he ruined Big Pete's night.

Now see that, kids? That was some class-A bullying. It's simply not enough to tell the protagonist you're going to beat him up, or threaten him with a balled-up fist and suggest that his face needs rearranging. This was epic. Endless Mike saw an opportunity to destroy Pete's happiness, and by God, he took it. Endless Mike, you are such a legend, I can't even begin to tell you.

It's midnight, which means what, kids? Time tunnel time! Little Pete sets the clock back to eleven PM and the revenge plan goes ahead. He swaps the movie reel with one of Endless Mike's mother's home movies of him when he was a chubby baby, sitting on a potty doing his filthy baby business. Endless Mike, not happy at being ended, flips out and runs around the drive-in, yelling for people to avert their eyes. I'd congratulate Little Pete on his successful plan...if I didn't hate him so much. (And if I didn't love Endless Mike with an endless passion.)

Over the PA system, Little Pete pores his heart out about how unlike Big Pete, he can't forget his brother on such a momentous occasion. Big Pete remembers that tonight is the end of daylight savings, and Little Pete tells him that he has an hour to do something he's always wanted to do. Naturally, that one thing is Ellen. Not in a gross 'go' button way, though. Just in a let's-sort-everything-out-without-the-aid-of-Endless-Mike way.

Big Pete catches up to Ellen in front of her house and tells her that they can live the hour over again thanks to our good friend daylight savings. Ellen's all, "After what you did to me?" and Pete says, "I know." Hey Pete? Not the best choice of word right there, considering. Pete explains that he got lost in fantasies of the future, but he now realises that he just wants to be her friend again like they had been in the past. Aww, a thematic lesson learned. I love Nickelodeon.

Big Pete and Ellen say goodnight to one another with a friendly handshake. Then Ellen kisses him on the cheek. They they make out a little bit. Then Ellen goes inside and the episode ends with absolutely nothing being resolved, goddamnit! I guess Big Pete and Ellen were always meant for will-they-won't-theydom, but still. I need closure.

Meanwhile, Little Pete is riding his bike like the wind away from a crazed Endless Mike. How shit is Endless Mike's car that Pete can evade him on a pushbike? The chase leads him into the central time zone, so technically Little Pete got his wish and went back in time for more than one hour. That's actually a pretty awesome ending, even if it did involve Little Pete.


  1. I didn't watch much Pete and Pete growing up, but this post convinced me that I've been missing out. I mean, if it's good enough for Iggy Pop, it's good enough for me.

  2. Loved this show growing up. My favorite was the ringing pay phone that traumatized everyone.

  3. Sada -- Pete and Pete is worth getting into, even now, and the calibre of guest stars is incredible. Michael Stipe played a crazed ice-cream man!

    Sadako -- lucky you, actually getting to watch it at the appropriate age!