While watching a documentary on the early years of the cable network Nickelodeon, I was reminded of one of my all time favorite shows, The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Sure, there’s a whole ton of shows that Nickelodeon produced during this period that probably did more toward defining me as a human than I should admit, like Hey Dude, Salute your Shorts, and You Can’t Do That on Television, and if I’m being honest, I don’t know that Pete and Pete necessarily impacted how I interact with people, but it is most definitely the show that has had the most lasting impact on my thoughts.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, the basic concept is that this is a show that follows the adventures of two brothers, both named Pete, as they navigate childhood and, more importantly, growing out of childhood. They’ve got their own superhero, Little Pete has a tattoo of a dancing girl which nobody knows how it got there, and, well, these kids lived their summers like I envisioned every kid who wasn’t as weird and awkward and lonely as me did. But…cooler.
There was an episode dedicated to trying to locate the missing mascot of a ice cream company, where they would track sightings of him all across the nation, which, I’m remembering from memory instead of looking it up so I could be wrong on the specifics, but I remember this being such an amazing piece about, well, holding on to your childhood. There was an episode where their superhero had to say goodbye so he could go be a different kid’s superhero because Little Pete didn’t need him anymore. There was an arc between Big Pete and his best friend as they realized they were in love with each other and worked through the idea of dating.
This series told these incredibly big stories that I didn’t even realize how big they were and how much they really tried to work through some of those iconic childhood issues through this lens of absolute absurdity until much later in life. Every time I remember this show exists, I spend a crazy amount of time thinking about every single piece of it I can and thinking about how I should probably spend the next week binging through all the episodes.
And the music! There was so much amazing music in that show which really make the show stand out as something special.
But more importantly…Nobody ever seems to talk about it. I know it had some lasting power, as my wife, who is five years younger than me fully remembers the show, but for whatever reason, it almost feels like some weird dream that the world forgot about.
Possibly because it’s impossible to watch without pirating it off of youtube or some other such obnoxious way. It’s not a part of our world anymore, not through reruns, not through anything outside of if you know about it, remember it, and hunt it out specifically.
Which is really sad to me, because this show might be the best thing that has ever been written. And it looks like it’ll be lost to time.
If you haven’t seen it, you should probably hunt it down. If you have seen it, do you remember it nearly as fondly as I do? I might need to find a group of people to talk about this show with. Maybe as I watch through all the episodes on Youtube…
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