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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Godspeed, My Vikings!

Like I mentioned yesterday, The Adventures of Pete & Pete is now out on DVD, and believe me when I say this, I had to tromp all over Creation to find it.

I even went down to Harbison, and by the end of the night I'd checked Manifest, Best Buy, Circuit City, Suncoast, and Barnes & Noble, and they all told me the same thing: Yeah, it came out today, but we didn't order any.

Quick Memo to Suncoast Motion Picture Company: When you're looking at the upcoming DVD releases you need to order, and you have a chance to order The Adventures of Pete & Pete, do it. Don't order three frigg'n copies of Clarissa Explains it All Season 1 instead. That's just fucking ludacris.

A normal man might've given up at this point, but in matters of DVD acquisition, I'm even more determined than the US Postal Service. Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night will sway me until I've indulged my rampant consumerism.

So I turned to my last resort: The Super Wal-Mart that makes up a full third of the SMT. Say what you will about Sam Walton's evil empire, they come through for you in a pinch. And six bucks cheaper than it would've been elsewhere.

So why did I go through all the trouble? Simple. The Adventures of Pete and Pete is unquestionably one of the best children's television shows ever made. Fact.

For those of you who haven't seen it, allow me to sum it up. The show is about two brothers, both named Pete, and they have adventures. Big Pete narrates the stories and has a best friend named Ellen and a nemesis with one of the best names in television history: Endless Mike Hellstrom. Little Pete, who was far more bitter and subversive, had a mysterious tattoo named Petunia, a personal superhero called Artie: The Strongest Man in the World (who was weakened by the power of the Whammy Bar); and, in the later seasons, a girlfriend played by a young Michelle Trachtenberg, whose father was played by Iggy Pop.

Yes. Iggy Pop.

Aside from the fact that it was phenomenally well-written and well-acted, the guest stars were one of the best things about the show. Aside from Iggy, who was a regular in the third season, the show had appearances from Michael Stipe, LL Cool J, Bebe Neuwirth, Chris Elliot, Selma Blair, Janeane Garofolo, Patty Hearst, and Adam West. And if that's not enough for you, maybe you should check out the New Year's special, which features an appearance from some newspaperman called Hunter S. Thompson.

That oughtta be sufficient enough to silence those of you that claim to be buying the Gilmore Girls Season 1 for the Norman Mailer appearance.

I was eleven when the show premiered as a series of one-minute shorts between shows on Nickelodeon, and I was immediately enamored with it. It was the kind of children's show that not only didn't talk down to the viewer, but applied a kid's sense of logic to the world at large. It was a great influence on the way I thought and the way I'd eventually write, and any description would fall far short of what it actually is. Take, for instance, the episode descriptions on the DVD box:

Valentine's Day Massacre: Big Pete's got love on his mind... and the guilt of having just accidentally killed the school mascot, Edna the Squid.

The Nightcrawlers: Little Pete protests his early bedtime by vowing to stay up for eleven straight days!

Don't Tread on Pete: Big Pete has exactly 18 minutes to cram for a test he forgot about on the Revolutionary War. In the meantime, Little Pete wages his own war against his gym teacher.

Even the majesty of the English Language fails to capture even a fraction of how mind-blowingly awesome that show is. So I'll just give you a bit of dialogue from one of the shorts:

BIG PETE: Ever play Stocking Head Freeze Tag? It's pretty much like regular freeze tag, except everybody wears stockings on their heads. Once when we were playing, we forgot to unfreeze my brother Pete, and he stayed out all night. He looked so majestic, I didn't know what to do. So I invited Ellen over for pudding.

ELLEN: Hm. Maybe you should use him as a human sundial. That's what they do in Africa.

See? You need to own this. And you need it now.


Blogger Philip Looney said...

Pete and Pete was indeed awesome. I never got to see too many of the full length shows, but I fondly remember the shorts. The mysterious tattoo was great. And he had to wear a flannel shirt all year to hide it.

5/18/2005 8:24 AM


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