The Adventures of Pete and Pete: Halloweenie

This 1990s Nickelodeon show is one of my favorite shows of all time. Few have ever done suburban surrealism quite so well, and I can think of very few shows, movies or books that influenced me as much as a writer - when I'm stuck on a project, one of the best ways to get started again is to watch some episodes of this. In the DVD commentary, they say they wanted the show to be "funny, sad, strange and beautiful" and that it should have a sense of "ragged glory." I want ALL of my work to be like that. I framed that phrase above my desk. I've even thought of getting those words as a tattoo. Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, the creators, are real heroes of mine. The original 60 second shorts alone qualify as some of the greatest television I've ever seen. My favorite is "What Would You Do for a Dollar," which, regrettably, wasn't on the DVD releases. Nickelodeon rarely airs shows quite this good anymore (nor did they back then, despite what some nostalgics will tell you), though I DO dig Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Fun stuff, that.

But, all praise aside, this show was hit-and-miss. The first two seasons had some brilliant episodes and some not-so-brilliant ones, and the third season really only had one particularly great episode. And this Halloween episode, despite being from the show's "golden era," isn't one of my favorites. Some fans of the show think its the finest episode; maybe I just have my hopes too high from the inviting combination of Pete, Pete, and Halloween. That said, it's still better than the vast majority of Halloween episodes reviewed on this site, and should be considered essential. Certainly it's among the top "halloween episodes" of ongoing series, particularly "kids" shows.

In this episode, Big Pete has decided that he's too old for Halloween, while Little Pete is attempting to break the world record for trick or treating. This all leads to a big showdown with The Pumpkin Eaters, an anti-Halloween gang led by Big Pete's biggest rival, "Endless Mike" Helstrom, who are trying to recruit Big Pete to join their number and start smashing pumpkins. Brilliant, but maybe not as brilliant as episodes like "Yellow Fever" and "Sick Day."

The episode, however, was based on a 60 second short, in which The Petes, plus Artie (The Strongest Man... in the World), take on Hat-Head, a solitary pumpkin smasher whom Big Pete compares to Mussolini and Darth Vader. The short opens with a funeral for Little Pete's smashed pumpkin, after which, all of the non-evil kids in the neighborhood munch candy corn for energy and "track Hat Head's trail of destruction all the way to the state line" where they turn their arch-enemy into a jack-o-lantern. It's brilliant stuff. Sixty seconds of surrealism that's all heart.

Part 1 (the only part I could find online):


Thomas Deutsch said...{%22order%22%3A%22default%22%2C%22range%22%3A%22a%22%2C%22query%22%3A%22Pete+%26+Pete+%22%2C%22numResults%22%3A20%2C%22rlmax%22%3Anull%2C%22rlmin%22%3A0%2C%22sId%22%3A%223690379928065096704%22%2C%22veohOnly%22%3Atrue}&searchId=3690379928065096704&rank=15

C-Man said...

Poor Pete


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