On Friday, the creators and entire principal cast of The Adventures of Pete and Pete reunited for one of the first times since the show ended in 1996 which, in case you forgot how old we are, was nearly 20 years ago. The show featured the first-ever live performance of The Blowholes, the fictional supergroup created for the episode about little Pete’s favorite song, featuring Marshall Crenshaw (aka the meter reader), Syd Straw (Ms. Fingerwood!) and little Pete. And it was Kreb-tastic! Here’s them covering the show’s theme, “Hey Sandy” (for which Straw is reading the lyrics off a sheet of paper):
Among the revelations at the reunion:
-Toby Huss (Artie) was the guy in the Mr. Softee suit.
-At one point, Iggy Pop went up to Hardy Rawls (Dad Wrigley) and said “That guy who plays Artie, he’s kind of a weirdo, huh?”
-Alison Fanelli was the only non-blonde, non-monotone actress to read for the part of Ellen. She handed in a resume on a piece of notebook paper with a picture attached. They hired her because of her cute unprofessionalism.
-While filming one day, the crew couldn’t find little Pete on set. Turns out he was in Iggy Pop’s trailer learning to play bass. He was about 12.
-Ms. Fingerwood was originally named something else (which I can’t remember, sorry!), but Nickelodeon deemed it too dirty. So they went with Fingerwood, which was less dirty somehow?
-All the cast and crew commented on how funny it was to see the gang all growns up: “It’s weird to see the Petes drunk on beer,” Straw told the crowd.
-The creators, buoyed by the burgeoning indie rock credentials of the show wanted to use a Pixies song (probably Wave of Mutilation, they said) in one episode. But they didn’t get to use it because it was too damn expensive.
-All the guest stars came through connections the show’s crew had to the downtown manhattan art scene in the 90s.
-Ellen is still totally crushable.
-Nick opposed the use of “blowhole” as one of the show’s standard insults. But as it was just officially defined as a fleshy hole for breathing, they had no grounds to stand on.
-Toby Huss IS a crazy bastard. And it’s great.
And now, let’s reflect why this was such a BFD:
I’ve revisited Pete & Pete a few times over the years, especially as the DVDs were released a few years ago, but it probably never really hit me until last week just how much of an influence it had on own strange maturation. I had grown up watching Nickelodeon, and Pete & Pete landed in that pocket of television where Nick was experimenting with the idea that it was OK to be weird, that it was perfectly acceptable to not want to be a grownup, to live in that world where the gross aesthetics of Ren and Stimpy and the slimy sounding names (like Slurm and Fingerwood) were perfect projections of the kid imagination, before it had been corrupted with pop culture and over-education. Continue reading