Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Some Thoughts About Pete. And Pete.



When we were kids, my brother and I loved the Nickelodeon show "The Adventures of Pete and Pete". Maybe I am remembering it wrong, maybe only I loved the show, but love it I did. Pete and Pete started as just these one minute spots on Nick to keep kids' attention spans focussed in between shows. There's a word for this, but I don't know it. Actually, I know the word but I have no idea how to spell it, so I'm going to skip it. I most remember the show as part of "SNICK" the Saturday night Nickelodeon line-up. I'm pretty sure that at various points SNICK included the Petes, Ren and Stimpy, Roundhouse, and Who's Afraid of the Dark?. Our parents went out a lot; I remember Saturday nights as a babysitter, SNICK, and some damn good television. I was alway partial to Pete. And Pete.

So I was very excited to see the Pete and Pete DVDs on Netflix and I just watched the first one. Initially, I was a little disappointed. Then I thought, oh wait, I'm no longer an eleven year old girl. Watching the episodes and listening to some commentary from the show's creators and director, I was finally able to uncover what made this show so great, even though in the present day it was kind of boring me.

Unlike a lot of shows for kids which are extra heavy on expository set-ups, much of the show is never explained. Weird aspects like why the brothers are both named Pete, how Little Pete got his Tattoo, and what the hell is up with Artie, the strongest man in the world, are not only never explained, they are never held up as being anything other than totally normal. I think kids really appreciated the change for more traditional programming and also enjoyed making up their own stories to explain Wellsville oddities. A major theme in the episodes is vague and nebulous world of adults and their constant encroachment on kids' rights. In this show kids and adults aren't played off against each other to acheive a cheesey moral resolution; the world is depicted as "us" versus "them". Also the use of great grungey and indie rock music made kids feel like they weren't watching some dumb baby show.

Why do you care about this? You don't, but I moved to New York almost exactly two years ago to pursue a career in children's television and while that has fallen by the wayside, I still think about these things.

Here's another story. When I was at Smith, there was a rumour going around that Little Pete from Pete and Pete was a student at Hampshire. Very few people cared- I was one of them. Apparently, some girls from my house made friends with some Hampshire guys including Little Pete. One night they told me, "Guess who is coming to dinner? Little Pete." I was wicked excited. It was a Thursday night, Candlelight dinner at Smith when we really ate by candlelight. It was dark. I was too shy to go up to the table where Little Pete was supposedly. Not shy, but just certain I would say something really obnoxious and loud, which is how I spent my first two years at Smith, anyway. I heard later Pete never showed.... Ved, do you remember any of this?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my God. I liked that show. I haven't thought about Pete and Pete for years. And I totally agree with you about what made it good. They're sort of the same reasons I love Calvin and Hobbes.

Don't give up on children's television Nance. It needs people like you.

-MuppetLover

Cupcake said...

ML- I always said you had taste. We have a hot date when I get back from Northampton. Let's try one of our local restaurants, I haven't really sampled all that ProHo has to offer.

lebrookski said...

i remember the little pete rumor and i also loved pete and pete. good times

A said...

I do remember this night and Pete never showed. Funny that, Teddy was usually so reliable...

Cupcake said...

Of course, of course Teddy was behind this!

Candicissima said...

I went to HS with Big Pete. He was a really nice guy.

dacey said...

i got to see Little Pete perform with his (cover) band a few times while i was at UMass. i heard that he was opposed to being called "Little Pete" which i never really understood.

Cupcake said...

Hmm. Seems like everyone has gotten to meet at least one of the Petes except me. Candicissima, maybe you could set me up with Big Pete? Oh wait, that's just a carrot you dangle in front of me without ever really meaning to follow through.

diz, if I were Little Pete, not only would as go by, "Formerly Television's Little Pete", I would actually get Petunia tattooed on my arm.