Whether it be how they spent their summer vacation, fighting over the family bowling ball, or trying to pass shop class, the Wrigley boys lives are anything but ordinary. Like many Nickelodeon shows of it’s day, The Adventures of Pete & Pete is one that stands out in the minds of the kids who grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Big Pete and Little Pete deal with every day problems in a distinctly “Pete way.” The show would gain a following not just among kids but with teens and adults alike with his usage of music by Indie Rock band Polaris, outlandish comedy, and slew of guest stars like Steve Buscemi, Janeane Garofalo, Iggy Pop and Selma Blair.
When it began in 1989, Pete & Pete was a series of one minute shorts that would air during the commercials of the regular programming on Nickelodeon. Created by Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, it showcased the outlandish lives of Pete and Pete in their hometown of Wellsville. Wellsville as it turns out is much like Springfield on The Simpsons in that it doesn’t really exist but mirrors many real life cities and towns, including those in New York and New Jersey.
Big Pete Wrigley (Mike Maronna) is the shows narrator and the brother often portrayed as having difficulty dealing with growing up. Pete and his best friend Ellen (Alison Fanelli) are often show as having been friends since they were little, but also with some romantic tendencies towards one another. Meanwhile Little Pete (Dan Tamberelli), is the brother often shown as going against the norm and fighting to keep his older brother from growing up. Little Pete is often seen in seasons one and two with his own personal superhero, Artie: The Strongest Man In The World! (Expertly played by Toby Huss) Meanwhile, parents Don and Joyce Wrigley (Hardy Rawls and Judy Grafe) try to keep the sanity while dealing with their own quirks like the plate in Mom’s head and Dad’s obsession with his lawn as well as his competetive driving.
Throughout the series, the boys deal with problems all kids face (and some that aren’t even physically possible) in ways that entertain and even teach kids lessons without them realizing it. Big Pete is almost constantly being tortured by school bully “Endless” Mike Hellstrom (Rick Gomez) but even on occassion they join forces to help one another, even if it does end in failure. For Little Pete, bullying even takes form in the villainous Papercut who is the master of making dangerous paper mache weapons. After losing his best friend Artie, Little Pete learns to stand up for himself and fight his own battles even though it means he doesn’t need his own superhero anymore.
The music in the Adventures of Pete & Pete also plays an important role in the series. The bulk of the music came from the band Polaris, which was actually Indie Rocker Mark Mulcahy’s Miracle Legion. They would appear in the opening credits infront of the Wrigley’s house playing the opening theme “Hey Sandy” and would also appear in the episode “A Hard Day’s Pete” as the garage band who introduce Little Pete to music. Other artists and bands that would have their music featured on the show would include Lucious Jackson, Drop Nineteens, Nice, and the Apples in Stereo.
In 2005, Nickelodeon would release season one of the Adventures of Pete & Pete on DVD, with season two released later that same year. Season three was scheduled for released in early 2006 and even went into production until it was shelved “Indefinately.” Aside from a short return to reruns in 2002-2003, The Adventures of Pete & Pete returned to air reruns with TeenNICK’s “The 90’s Are ALL THAT” block. Many fans hoped that this return to the airwaves would see the third and final season of the Adventures of Pete & Pete released so that the series can be complete for the longtime fans but to no avail. Among other shows from that time period, Clarissa Explains It All season one was also available on DVD. Hey Dude! was released on DVD on July 19, 2011 and many other shows are available on ITunes like Salute your Shorts. Shows like The Secret World of Alex Mack and many of the Nicktoons are available through Hulu and other streaming services.
For the past few years Pete & Pete, Danny Tamberelli and Michael Maronna have done a weekly podcast called the Adventures of Danny & Mike that is available of ITunes, spotify, and more! Topics range from early episodes of the guys doing strange tasks like ghost hunting, to Pete & Pete reunions and most recently discussing their love of peanut butter and date sandwiches. The guys are about to undergo a Three State brewerey tour (which I’ll be attending in Orlando) that includes live audio commentaries, Q&A, and more. So put on your flannel hat, your red and blue striped shirt that’s a bit too small, put on your Kreb of the Loom undies, and find your slider pen with Endless Mike chasing Little Pete in it and be prepared to bite my scab, blowhole!
PETE loves The Adventures of Pete & Pete & it still irks his nerves that season 3 wasn’t released. He can watch it nonstop & still be entertained. When he was younger he had a crush on Ellen & had no idea who Iggy Pop was or why him calling a kid a “Stooge” was funny. Bus Driver Stu Benedict is his favorite character (except for Artie but that doesn’t count.) He wrote this article because his friend Deb told him it’d be a good idea. Hopefully it didn’t disappoint.