The Adventures of Pete and Pete was an unusually inventive television program produced by the children's cable network Nickelodeon
Productions. Critically acclaimed, it was created by Will McRobb
and Chris Viscardi
and focused upon the often-surreal lives of two brothers with the same first name, gutsy cap-wearing Young Pete
and more nervous, adolescent Older Pete
, who also narrated most of the episodes. Other characters included Mom and Dad, Older Pete's best friend and occasional love
, Young Pete's best friend Nona
, villains Pitstain
and "Endless" Mike Helstrom
, and one of the most bizarre characters ever depicted on mainstream television
, Artie, the Strongest Man in the World
. (One glimpse of Artie introducing himself, flexing his muscles in his striped long underwear
, is enough to cause me to collapse in laughter.) The show was also known to boast impressive cameo
s, by everyone from John McLaughlin
of The McLaughlin Group
to Iggy Pop
in a recurring role.
Pete & Pete had very strong writing and often focused on themes much greater than you would expect to be covered in a kids' TV show. Often incredibly zany, the goofier Young Pete episodes were well balanced with the more contemplative coming-of-age stories that focused on Older Pete.
The Adventures of Pete and Pete began as a series of promo spots for Nick, and the first episode, "What We Did On Our Summer Vacation," was originally a half-hour special created on the strength of the commercials.
Nick cancelled The Adventures of Pete & Pete in 1996. I believe, but am not certain, that it may still be in reruns on that channel. It is certainly a high water-mark in the annals of American television. New episodes may no longer be in production, but in many ways the series can be seen as the spiritual forefather of the recent Fox hit Malcom in the Middle, right down to having extremely cool theme and incidental music (by Polaris in P&P). In addition, elements of the Petes may be seen in the 1999 movie Snow Day, written by McRobb and Viscardi and starring Chevy Chase and Chris Elliot.
Farewell, and may the Pete be with you.