Pete and Pete
Am I the only person in the world to own the DVD of this show, and to occasionally reflect upon the bizarre genius that was once broadcast on Nickelodeon? I was 13 at the time it came out, barely young enough to watch Nick without being considered a complete nerd. This was also the only show I could watch and bond with my five year-old brother.
(Above: Young Pete and Artie, the Strongest Man in the World)
But seriously, how many children's television programs are based upon two red-headed brothers named Pete, the younger of which has a mysterious sailor's tattoo of a woman on his arm he likes to call "Petunia" and make dance by shaking his arm? And how many shows are genius enough to attract cameos by Debbie Harry, Michael Stipe, LL Cool J, the redhead from the B-52s, and Iggy Pop?
The young Pete (shown above), was fantastic because he was like Pee-Wee Herman or something, you could live vicariously through him because he committed acts you dared not attempt: wearing adults' clothes that dragged to the floor, striking against bedtimes by staying up for nearly a week, taking dynamite with you to go trout fishing. But it was the elder Pete's narration that made the show so enchanting and at times poetic.
And how about the summer vacation episode, where Mr. Tastee disappears and Artie battles it out with killer bees from the Yucatan Peninsula and the dad discovers a '78 Cutlass Supreme on the beach using a metal detector and the whole family hops in and they drive it home?
Mr. Tastee: I have to go, kid-os. I'm an ice cream man. I'm what the summer is: fireflies, thunderstorms, butt sweat on a hot car seat..
And what about the kick-ass music by Polaris? I've spent years trying to track this band down because they were so f**ing good. Here is the intro to the show, complete with Polaris. Enjoy:
Linda J. Bilmes of Harvard University is a former assistant secretary of commerce, and co-author with Joseph Stiglitz of *"**The Three Trillion Dollar Wa...
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