The Adventures of Pete & Pete

pete & pete

The Adventures of Pete & Pete‘ was an American children’s television series produced by Wellsville Pictures and broadcast by Nickelodeon than ran from 1993 to 1996. 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.

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.’ He has a tattoo on his left forearm, ‘Petunia,’ a woman in a red dress who Pete can make ‘dance.’

The show featured music by such artists as Luscious Jackson, Nice, Drop Nineteens, Racecar, Chug, Poi Dog Pondering, Syd Straw, and The Apples in Stereo. The music of Stephin Merritt can also be heard throughout the series, including songs from his projects The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths, and The Gothic Archies. Polaris, a side project of Mark Mulcahy’s Miracle Legion, served as the show’s ‘house band,’ providing the theme song, ‘Hey Sandy,’ 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.

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 many guest stars that appeared on ‘Pete & Pete’ include: Selma Blair, Janeane Garofalo, Frank Gifford, Debbie Harry, Patty Hearst, David Johansen, LL Cool J, Bebe Neuwirth, Larisa Oleynik, Vincent Pastore, J. K. Simmons, and Michael Stipe. 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.

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