November 28, 1993 (1993-11-28) – December 28, 1996 (1996-12-28)
The Adventures of Pete & Pete is an American children's television series produced by Wellsville Pictures and broadcast by Nickelodeon. The show featured humorous and surreal elements in its narrative, and many recurring themes centered on two brothers both named Pete Wrigley, and their various interactions with family, friends, and enemies.
The show was created by Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi and began as minute-long shorts in 1989 that aired in between regular programs. Owing to the popularity of the shorts, five half-hour specials were made, followed by a regular half-hour series that ran for three seasons (1993–1996) and continued in reruns until around 1999. The N (now TeenNick) aired reruns of the show between 2002–2003. The first two seasons were released on DVD in 2005; the third was planned for 2006 but was indefinitely postponed.
Jason Ankeny of Allmusic called the series "the greatest children's show ever," while IGN called it "One of the most well-written kids shows ever."
Pete & Pete is set in the town of Wellsville, USA (the state is never explicitly mentioned). An allusion to its location comes during "When Petes Collide", when the Petes' father runs four hours to the Canadian border to get rid of his bowling ball, Rolling Thunder. Portions of Wellsville were fictionalized for the purposes of the show; Glurt County, mentioned in "Yellow Fever" and "The Good, the Bad and the Lucky", does not exist in any state.
In addition to the 34 regular season episodes, 5 specials and 26 shorts, the movie Snow Day was originally written by McRobb and Viscardi to be an extension of the television series, but Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures were not interested in a feature at the time. The film was eventually made by series director Chris Koch in 2000. However, by this time the principal actors had aged into adulthood. The characters were renamed and recast, but series regulars Chris Elliott, Iggy Pop and Damian Young make appearances.
Danny Tamberelli (top) as Little Pete and Mike Maronna (bottom) as Big Pete.
The show's primary narrator, Big Pete often acts as a voice of reason in contrast to the strange occurrences and people around him. Typical sibling rivalry aside, he and his brother are best friends. He plays trombone in the school marching band.
Four years younger than his brother, Little Pete is often engaged in struggles against adults and other authority figures. He is also known to make irrational decisions in response to problems, like selling the house because his brother hung out with a girl instead of him, without taking responsibility for it. He frequently uses insults like "jerkweed" and "bite my neck hair."
A tattoo on Little Pete's left forearm depicting a woman in a red dress. It is frequently made to "dance" and gets its own credit in the show's opening sequence; the origins of that tattoo were originally given in a long forgotten Pete & Pete short, wherein Little Pete gets the tattoo as a gift for his mom on mother's day, for which he is initially punished, but ultimately is accepted. Another's origin, one of a sailing ship on Little Pete's back is unclear.
The Petes' mother, usually just called "Mom", has a metal plate in her head from an accident she had as a kid. It can pick up radio stations—and, in the case of little Pete's "WART Radio", it can also broadcast them.
The plate in Mom's head, like Petunia, gets its own opening credit.
Usually known as "Dad", Don is the Petes' father. He and Joyce met when the metal detector he was using on a beach led him to the metal plate in her head ("What We Did On Our Summer Vacation"). He is an extremely competitive driver, particularly during the family's excursion to Hoover Dam ("King of the Road"). Dad is known for being stubborn most of the time and his favorite hobbies include caring for his lawn ("Grounded For Life"), and fishing, particularly for "Old Bob", a legendary striped bass ("On Golden Pete").
Ellen is Big Pete's best friend; though romance develops between the two on rare occasions, Pete generally sees Ellen as "a girl and a friend, but not a girlfriend". Over the course of the show she demonstrates some obsessive tendencies. In the pre-season 1 shot "The Dot", as well as the season one episode "Day of the Dot" she attempted to achieve "Perfect Dotness" due to her placement "riding the I" in the Wellsville marching band's show. Later that season she became fixated with metallurgy while in shop class. In season three she was fanatical at getting an A in Mr. Slurm's driver's ed course and near the end of the season getting a pizza on time to Endless Mike as a delivery girl. She played French horn in the band. Ellen is also a huge fan of Greco-Roman wrestling, and has vast knowledge on the subject as seen in the episode "Pinned" where she tries to coach Big Pete.
Little Pete's personal superhero, who is very eccentric but quite powerful — for example, he can skip stones on Neptune, move an entire house by an inch, and hit a golf ball 300,003 yards. Artie is also one of the few adults Little Pete seems to have any respect for. His catchphrase is "For I am Artie — the strongest man ... in the world!" His trademark word "pipe!" aggravates the adults of the community, and his favorite scent is the air let out from a car tire. He left the show after the 2-part episode, "Farewell My Little Viking". His spot in the opening credits would later be replaced in the third season with Nona's.
Theodore "Teddy" L. Forzman (Dave Martel)
Teddy is one of Big Pete's three friends (the others being Ellen and Bill). Teddy is kind of a dork and seemingly always in a good mood (except when affected by the mind-controlling substance Orange Lazarus). He is in the marching band with Pete and is known for bringing up odd facts and then remarking, "what, you guys didn't know that?". He also loves to exclaim "Excellenté!" while raising his finger and give "soul shakes" (an elaborate handshake punctuated by hissing "Soul!") to friends.
Bill Korn (Rick Barbarette)
Bill is Big Pete's friend, who has a knack for practical jokes and sarcasm. He was renowned for getting Teddy to shoot milk out of his ears and getting Bus Driver Stu accused of kidnapping a busload of kids. He also admitted to once eating snot in the episode "Field of Pete". (This character did not appear in the third season.)
Little Pete's best friend. Her middle initial "F" stands for Frances, but she wants to change it to Frank, Fahrvergnügen, or Forklift. She wears a cast, not because she has a broken arm but because it causes an annoying, itchy feeling on her arm which she enjoys scratching. Nona took Artie's place in the opening sequence for Season 3. She also had a brief crush on Little Pete once or twice in the series.
A neighborhood kid and Little Pete's friend. She stays awake by pulling her pigtails.
Monica Perling (Maris Hudson)
One of Little Pete's friends, Monica is the resident Kreb Scout (Girl Scout in season 2) who is ready for anything. Her unfortunate luck with pets has given her a reputation as the "Girl Scout of Death", and she even has a graveyard for them. She has excellent hearing. Supposedly, this is because one of her ancestors married a bloodhound.
Wayne Pardue (Justin Restivo)
Also known as "Wayne the Pain". First appearing in the third season, Wayne was one of Little Pete's friends. But as his nickname implied, he was quite annoying. He frequently spouted expressions like "Geez Louise" and "Super Genius!" and also had a crush on Monica (as seen in "Dance Fever").
He was in several episodes as a friend of Little Pete. He served as the drummer of Little Pete's band, The Blowholes, and was a member of the Nightcrawlers, staying awake longer than anyone other than Little Pete and Artie.
Libby Hurley (Winnie Zhang)
Appeared in the "Nightcrawlers" episode as a friend of Little Pete. Libby was adopted from China by the Hurley family. She stays awake via solar powered sneezes.
"Endless" Mike, mortal enemy of Big Pete, gets his nickname for reasons unknown (though it is speculated that it came about because he is perpetually repeating the same year in high school. It is also stated that his nickname is derived from the fact that "his hatred of Big Pete is endless". Another theory is that it is supposed to coincide with an anagram of his last name, making Mike an "Endless Hellstorm"). "Endless" Mike reigns over shop class, has a car, and loves Neapolitan ice cream. Although his relationship with older Pete is often antagonistic they have joined forces on rare occasions, such as when Pete commissioned Mike to expel the family who bought his house, or borrowed his car to go on a date with Ellen (although both of these collaborations failed). In the episode "Halloweenie", he is the leader of the Pumpkin Eaters who are bent on ruining and destroying Halloween even though their reasons for hating the holiday are never explained. His family may own an exterminating business, as he is seen wearing a shirt with a "Hellstorm Exterminators" logo on the breast pocket in the episode "Time Tunnel". Also in Time Tunnel, "Endless" Mike hates Little Pete for embarrassing him at the drive in theatre by showing everyone home movies of him as a baby and chases after him in his car.
"Hat Head" (Chris Leveille)
The first bully to pick on the Petes; he appeared on several spots in the first and second season. Hat Head is often foiled by Artie, the Strongest Man in the World. He was played by Chris Leveille, a Connecticut native.
"Open-Face" (Jason Late)
One of Big Pete's enemies. A boy who is always shown eating open-faced sandwiches, even in church. Ellen dated him briefly in one episode.
Fran "Pit Stain" Jones (Eric Kushnick)
Little Pete's mortal enemy, in season 3. He has a glandular disorder that gives him huge, smelly armpit stains. Pit Stain loathes Little Pete for giving him his nickname, which even teachers call him by. He is in love with Nona. He is also often seen with his goons, "Hairnet" (Helen Davidson) and "Drawstring" (Yull Neri Borda). Drawstring was later replaced by "Nightbrace" (Robert Whitfield). During episode 3.07, "The Last Laugh", Little Pete and Pit Stain worked together in a mastermind prank on Principal Schwinger and the "Up With Personal Hygiene Singers".
"Paper Cut" (Christopher Conte)
Little Pete's mortal enemy in the season 2 episode "Farewell, My Little Viking" (parts 1 and 2). A boy who grew up in a copy shop and is covered with lacerations and scars from paper cuts as a result. "Paper Cut" can fold paper into hundreds of origami shapes including makeshift weapons. As with the rest of his motif, he always picks "paper" when playing rock-paper-scissors. "Paper Cut" originally started off as one of Artie's mortal enemies and enjoyed making life miserable for the helpless students by making them throw rock. However during his first rock-paper-scissors match up with Little Pete, he defies "Paper Cut" by playing scissors and enrages him. "Paper Cut" becomes his enemy and gets into a heated conflict with him. He makes it his personal mission to destroy Little Pete in the rematch. Unbeknownst to both him and "Paper Cut", when Artie returns with Mr. Wrigley, Little Pete defies him again by throwing his own weapon. Soon the students join him and run "Paper Cut" out of Wellsville.
The principal of Little Pete's school. Schwinger loathes Little Pete and always tries to stop his pranks, to no avail. He has a strange love of personal hygiene and creamed corn. Johnny Earwax, the lead singer of the "Up With Personal Hygiene Singers", was a personal friend of Schwinger's until a prank masterminded by Little Pete and Pit Stain made him and the singers mistrust Schwinger.
Lifeguard Mike "The Urinator" Uplinger (Christopher Cooke)
The lifeguard at the Wellsville swimming pool and a mortal enemy of both Petes that appeared in ("Splashdown"). He was able to convince Big Pete to take charge of the situation by throwing Little Pete and his friends out of the pool and to save adult swim. However, Little Pete defies Uplinger by going through with the Atomic splash and orders Big Pete to start banning his brother right away. Big Pete turns against him and join Little Pete with the adults in the pool. Uplinger was chased out of the pool by everyone after Monica exposes him as "the Urinator" for his inability to hold in his bladder properly with a chemical known as Wee Wee See.
The mysterious ice cream vendor who symbolizes summer for the neighborhood kids. He never removes his mascot costume head and is very reluctant to let his customers get close to him. When the Petes' attempts to strike up a friendship causes Tastee to flee, they spend a summer tracking him down with the help of Ellen. His ice-cream truck is named the Tastee Mobile. It is suggested he also used to be married to a blind millionaire who calls him "Leonard".
Stu Benedict (Damian Young)
An eccentric and emotionally unstable bus driver who drives both Petes to school, often while nursing wounds from a relationship with fellow bus driver Sally Knorp while shouting out quotes such as "Passengers will refrain from KILLING MY SOUL!" However, Stu does play protector to Little Pete in season 3 episode "The Good, The Bad and the Lucky", and puts Pit Stain and his gang under bus arrest.
Frank Gulcher (Jim Lally)
A crossing guard who defends the crosswalk with his life, abiding by "the code of the crosswalk". Once failed to save Little Pete's pet lizard Gary from death by oncoming traffic.
The many guest stars that appeared on Pete & Pete include:
Selma Blair — Penelope Ghiruto, school bus passenger from whose name Big Pete can make 27 words. ("Das Bus")
Elizabeth Bogush — Dian Senski, love interest of Big Pete, annoyed by his too-close friendship with Teddy. ("The Trouble With Teddy")
Jude Ciccolella — Mr. Slurm, high school shop teacher with a claw for a hand. ("Tool and Die")
Ellen Cleghorne — Bus driver Sally Knorp, on-again, off-again girlfriend of Stu Benedict. (Appears in "Day of the Dot" and "Yellow Fever," though she is mentioned in other episodes)
Marshall Crenshaw — "Lightning" Mel Ratner, a meter reader who joins Little Pete's band. ("A Hard Day's Pete")
Martin Donovan — crossing guard Kenneth G. Keegan who passes messages between Big Pete and Ellen in "Apocalypse Pete"; also Smith ("Smitty"), a security guard whom Little Pete and Petunia distract in "Space, Geeks, and Johnny Unitas."
Richard Edson — school janitor and field chalker Mr. Beverly.("Valentine's Day Massacre")
Chris Elliott — Meterman Ray, a meter reader who foretells Little Pete's future. ("Sick Day")
Gordon Gano — Mr. Zank, the first of many substitute math teachers. ("X=Why?")
Ann Magnuson — Eunice Puell, mail carrier and object of Little Pete's affection. ("Crisis in the Love Zone")
John McLaughlin — himself, devoting a portion of his show to support Big Pete's bid for Dad's bowling ball. ("When Petes Collide")
Miracle Legion — the four-piece version of Polaris that Little Pete sees in a garage ("A Hard Day's Pete"). Polaris, in turn, was Miracle Legion minus guitarist Mr. Ray.
Bebe Neuwirth — Mail Lady McGintee, a mail carrier whom Little Pete comes across on his sick day adventure. ("The Call", "Sick Day")
Larisa Oleynik — a nurse who rushes Little Pete through the hospital. ("Dance Fever")
Vincent Pastore — Plays Vincent Park, a neighbor and bowling agent who is impressed with Artie's bowling skills and gets him to sign a bowling contract.
Geoff Pierson — Mr. Perfect, dad's competition on a family trip to the Hoover Dam. ("The King of the Road")
Kate Pierson — mysterious blind millionaire Mrs. Vanderveer. ("What We Did on Our Summer Vacation")
Suzzy Roche — PEO MacMillian, meter maid and Inspector 34's love interest. ("Inspector 34")
James Rebhorn — Supervillain John McFlemp, who rallies the neighborhood to get rid of little Pete's superhero Artie and turn him into a respectable and conservative adult. ("Farewell My Little Viking" (parts 1 and 2))
Sarah Shannon — a grocery store employee who gives Little Pete a label from an expired can of tapioca pudding. ("Sick Day")
J. K. Simmons — Barber Dan, who refuses to talk to Big Pete. ("Saturday")
Michael Stipe — Captain Scrummy, ice-cream vendor known for the Sludgecicle. ("What We Did On Our Summer Vacation")
Golden Brooks — Heather, captain of the tennis team and Big Pete's love interest. ("Crisis in the Love Zone")
Syd Straw — math teacher Miss Fingerwood. Played bass in the Blowholes. ("A Hard Days Pete")
Liza Weil — Margie Corsell, a girl for whom Big Pete abandons his brother ("35 Hours"). Weil also played a bully in "Yellow Fever", with her mother Lisa as a teacher in the same episode.
Brittany Whittington — the Kretchmars' daughter, another member of the family that moved into the Wrigley house. ("35 Hours")
Matthew G.Cliff — "Chalkface", the name Little Pete gives to short-lived neighborhood villain Roger SanGreko. Often seen in the background of episodes sporting a lime green hoodie with a purple lizard on the chest. He is given the name due to his fair skin and constant body odor that is easily mistaken with the scent of classroom chalk. ("The Call", "Dance Fever")
One widely reported guest appearance — Hunter S. Thompson's, in "New Year's Pete" — has been described as "apocryphal" by show creator Will McRobb, who has said the Hunter Thompson listed in the credits is instead a similarly named extra.
Polaris, a side project of Mark Mulcahy's Miracle Legion, served as the show's "house band", providing the theme song and many other tunes heard throughout the series and even appearing in "Hard Day's Pete" as a local four-piece playing out of a garage. Some of the Polaris' music from the show was released as a CD, Music from The Adventures of Pete & Pete, including the theme song "Hey Sandy".
Music from the show was also available in 1995 on a promotional cassette single, titled Happily Deranged, available by sending in UPC symbols from Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats. This cassette includes the Polaris songs "Hey Sandy", "She is Staggering", and "Coronado II". The cassette includes a short introduction and closing read by Big Pete. Robert Agnello was the writer and creator of numerous pieces of music for Pete and Pete. He wrote most of the Blowholes music such as: Marmalade Cream, Summer Wind, Piledriver and You Color my World. He also wrote One Lousy Dance which was sung by Iggy Pop and the Garbageman theme sung by David Johanson. A lot of the small music sound bites were performed by Agnello and his band Lamb to Slaughter.
The show also used music from standard production music libraries.
"Ballata Per Un Pistolero (Ballad of a Gunman)" A notable Western theme in the style of Ennio Morricone, it was used whenever there was a showdown between characters, for example Little Pete and the ringing phone in "The Call".
"Snick Vol. 2: Nick Snicks the Family" — Includes the same lineup as "Friendship". The Pete and Pete shorts are "The Burping Room", "Mom's Plate", and "The Punishment".
"Classic Petes" — Includes the episodes "What We Did on Our Summer Vacation" and "Apocalypse Pete", plus the bonus short "Artie's Workout". (with an accompanying "Petunia" Tattoo)
"School Dazed" — Includes the episodes "Day of the Dot" and "Tool and Die", plus the bonus short "StareMaster" (with an accompanying "Magic Motion Eyeball Card").
"Farewell, My Little Viking" — Includes both parts of the story, edited into one long episode. Also includes the short "Artie, the Strongest Man in the World".
Nickelodeon DVDs are released through Paramount.
May 17, 2005
All 8 from season one
"Valentine's Day Massacre" "What We Did On Our Summer Vacation" "Apocalypse Pete" "New Year's Pete"
"What We Did on Our Summer Vacation" "Day of the Dot" "The Nightcrawlers"
November 1, 2005
All 13 from season two
"Space, Geeks and Johnny Unitas"
"Halloweenie" "Yellow Fever" "Farewell, My Little Viking" (both parts)
was originally scheduled for release February 28, 2006. However, after the merger between DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures, the third season was removed from Paramount's schedule.
All 13 from season three
According to co-creators Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi the season three DVDs were actually pressed and are sitting in a warehouse. In a LA Times article they discussed the situation. McRobb said, " The same thing goes on with the mythical third season on DVD. They put out the first two and everyone's thrilled, and the third one doesn't come out, and no one has ever told us why. And they made it, it's in the warehouse.". Viscardi added, " It's packaged, it's recorded, we did commentary tracks with a bunch of the cast, there's all these special extras on it. They pressed them, we saw it. Nothing."
The Adventures of Pete and Pete ran on Nickelodeon from 1993 until 1996, and in weekend reruns for several years thereafter. The show ran in reruns on The N from 2002 to 2003.
The Adventures of Pete and Pete was one of the series mentioned as a potential future series that would air on The '90s Are All That; Despite images of the show appearing in the often-shown The '90s Are All That commercial promos, no episodes of the series have aired on the block, nor are there any immediate prospects for airing the series (the block downsized its programming variety in March 2012). Licensing issues in regard to the extensive amount of music used in the program have been an obstacle in clearing the series for reruns. However, the 1989 shorts have aired to coincide with the show's 20th anniversary.
In late 2011 and early 2012 a series of cast and crew reunions took place in Los Angeles and New York City respectively. Tamberelli, Syd Straw and Marshall Crenshaw performed a rendition of theme song "Hey Sandy" in addition to other Pete and Pete compositions. Creators McRobb, Viscardi, along with Michael Maronna, Hardy Rawls, Judy Grafe, Alison Fanelli, Toby Huss and Director Katherine Dieckmann were all in attendance.
The 2011 Los Angeles reunion was billed by the Cinefamily as the "KrebStar Film Festival," a reference to the show's own brand. Additionally many products from the show were available, including Krebex, Kreb Scouts, KrebStore 24 and Krebgate Toothpaste. Staff members also handed out "performance-enhanced" Orange Lazarus.