There's no denying that "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" was one of the greatest television shows ever to emerge from the Nickelodeon channel. Well, you could deny it I suppose... but I'd then be forced to politely ask you to leave this site. Politely ask you with a hammer that is. Anybody who grew up watching this series knows there was something very simple, yet very special about each episode. Narrated by the older brother Big Pete Wrigley (Michael C. Maronna), the episodes were a surrealist vision of suburban life as seen through the eyes of a child. It could be a tale about the simplest of problems, but when seen through the eyes of these two brothers, the problems take on far more epic proportions. Little Pete Wrigley (Danny Tamberelli) is always getting into problematic situations, but what can one expect from a little kid with a tattoo of a woman in a red dress named "Petunia" on his forearm? There's plenty of other quirky characters in the show, and out of all of 'em, I don't think any were quite as memorable as the neighborhood superhero Artie, the Strongest Man in the World (Toby Huss). He's a weird skinny guy who always wears and striped shirt and has powers such as moving an entire house by an inch or hiting a golf ball 300,003 yards. The show was also known for having a variety of cameos from celebrities including Steve Buscemi, Chris Elliott, Debbie Harry, Janeane Garofalo, LL Cool J, Michael Stipe, Selma Blair and more.
What's perhaps most impressive about the show is how it's really held up over the years. A lot of shows I used to watch when I was younger are certifiably painful to view nowadays. When I was in middle school, In Living Color was all the rage and we kids couldn't get enough of it. Now I can't even make it through a single episode. With Pete & Pete, however, that's simply not the case. If anything, the show is even better now because all the great metaphorical tales and surrealism have taken on new meaning. In a nutshell, they don't make 'em like this anymore.
Today I'd like to take a look at one of my favorite Pete & Pete episodes. On paper it probably wouldn't sound like one of the greatest ones due Artie not making an appearance in it, but it's a fantastically sentimental look at Halloween in the suburbs and the tribulations some kids go through just to bring in a decent candy haul. So without further delay, let's dive into the episode known as... HALLOWEENIE!
It all starts out with Big Pete's narration about why Halloween is so special... for one night, bedtimes disappear and you can change your identity to anything you'd like, all in the name of Halloween. As he discusses this, we're treated to a collage of Halloween visuals including trick-or-treating, costumes, candy, ghouls, autumn leaves, and more.
Unfortunately, Big Pete has lost his love of the holiday refering to Halloween as "The ultimate dork holiday. Halloween is for Halloweenies." His little brother is a true believer in the holiday and can't understand why Big Pete is no longer into it. Now Pete is now asking himself if it's even possible to regain his Halloween spirit. Today's story is about his quest to answer that question and how it could potentially destroy Halloween in their wonderful little town (the fictional Wellsville) forever.
Big Pete explains that Halloween is more than just gettings loads of candy for his little brother, it's about the chase for something much grander: Immortality. You see, there was a feat (simply refering to as "The Record") in which two amazing trick-or-treaters visited 374 houses in one night. From that day forth, they were legends and both Big Pete and Little Pete always tried to break the record, until Big Pete eventually gave up on Halloween entirely. Nona F. Mecklenberg, who has always been Little Pete's best friend, offers to replace Pete's big brother this Halloween to help him on his quest for trick-or-treating immortality. She even shows her support with a rendition of Little Pete's tattoo (Pentunia) on her arm cast.
But as his big brother explains, to Little Pete, Halloween is a holy day, and gutting a gourd is his special way of thanking the gods of Halloween. And man, is he ever serious about it. It's like watching a surgeon going to work on a patient... Little Pete demands suction, and mom hands him the nozzle of an industrial vacuum cleaner to suck out all the pumpkin innards while laughing jack-o-lanterns dance in his head.
True believers in Halloween still need assistance in their celebrations, and Crossing Guard Frank Gulcher is there to help as he continues to abide by "the code of the crosswalk" as he calls it. He's on special assignment today though, Halloween duty, and he's taken out his urban assault vehicle (ie: his bike) to protect Sector 17 - which one can only assume is Pete's neighborhood. As Pete and Nona work on their smog-belching jack-o-lantern, he warns them to buddy up when they go out trick-or-treating, because "they" are out there. "They" being the dreaded Pumpkin Eaters.
Well, perhaps it's spelled "Pumpkin Eterz" if the shaving cream graffiti on that car window is indeed their callsign. Either way, the identies of the members of this gang are unknown to this day, but every year, they ruin Halloween for tons of believers, leaving nothing but destruction and chaos in their wake. As you can see, they've all but demolished Wellsville in the past. Smashed pumpkins, shaving cream, toilet paper, candies and sad trick-or-treaters literally cover the streets. It's a grim sight indeed.
Riding through the night on their bikes as the fog seems to follow them wherever they go, the Pumpkin Eaters wear oversized jack-o-lanterns atop their heads to conceal their true identities. Big Pete refers to them as the "Dark Knights of Halloween". Little Pete, has much more disdain for them and describes the Pumpkin Eaters as "Gut Buckets!" while gritting his teeth.
The real shocking news is that Crossing Guard Frank Gulcher informs Little Pete that if they don't find a way to stop the Pumpkin Eaters this year, it will be the last Halloween for Wellsville.
As Big Pete and his best friend Ellen walk through the neighborhood, they discuss how this may be the last Halloween. Pete says his little brother is taking it as if somebody punched his soul - as one should. A world without Halloween is a world that I want absolutely no part of. That's not how Big Pete feels any longer though... he makes a bold statement about how he hopes it is the last Halloween, because he's sick of it. Moments later, it's as if fate was listening, for the two of them come upon an alley filled with smashed pumpkins. It's a virtual graveyard of smashed pumpkins, except for one that just happened to survive.
As Pete picks up the lone surviving pumpkin, he describes how he once believed that smashing them was so senseless, yet now he understood, because he hated Halloween. As the voices in his head encourage him to "do it", Pete finally gives in and smashes the last pumpkin. He walks away with Ellen, staring at his hands in a state of shock as if he just commited a serious crime.
What he's unaware of is the fact that the leader of the Pumpkin Eaters was watching when he did this and is now convinced that Big Pete could become a future member of their evil anti-Halloween gang since he "tasted the dark side".
Some of you may recognize the leader of the Pumpkin Eaters. His name is Rick Gomez, and I used to love his little bumper spots on MTV back in the day in which he played a crazed patron talking about how he would drink up all the grease until his heart explodes. Ah memories...
Anyway, this night was the night before Halloween, also known as Devil's Night, and the Pumpkin Eaters had it out for Little Pete and Nona. They ambush the two and cover them in shaving cream, but even worse, they smash their jack-o-lantern masterpiece while screaming "Weenie!". Crossing Guard Frank Gulcher does his best to chase the criminals down, but they escape into the night.
Big Pete then confesses that he couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible for what happened to his little brother, musing that the Halloween gods had cursed him for destroying the pumpkin earlier that day. But the ambush on Devil's Night wasn't even the worst of it, for the very next day, Nona's father told her that he'd have to be an idiot to let her go out on Halloween with a gang like the Pumpkin Eaters roaming around. And yes, her father is none other than Iggy Pop. Upon hearing the news that she can't go out for Halloween, Nona slams the door on him as he declares, "Love hurts".
Yes it does Iggy Pop... yes it does.
Little Pete is crushed by the news, because he knows it's impossible to break "The Record" without two people to carry all the candy. Big Pete then shows what a good brother he is and offers to go with Little Pete, despite his personal lack of love for Halloween.
When she hears that Big Pete is going out trick-or-treating on Halloween, Ellen reminds him of what happened to Ned Richmond last Halloween...
He was a 15-year-old who went trick-or-treating and the Pumpkin Eaters caught him, hung him upside-down and made an example of him. Now nobody hangs out with him, and to further demonstrate how his social life has been obliterated, they show that his photo in the school yearbook is on a page all by itself. That's right, not even the photos of other kids want to be near him now. Once a Halloweenie, always a Halloweenie.
Apparently, despite the fact that everybody hates the Pumpkin Eaters gang, if somebody is caught and humiliated by them, then that person is frowned upon forever. In this town, the children have their own Scarlet Letter to bear... the letter W.
Big Pete ignores his fears about becoming a Halloweenie and decides to go trick-or-treating anyway.
According to Little Pete, if the two of them actually break the record, they would become legends like Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. Naturally, it's only fitting that they decided to dress like astronauts for this particular Halloween, and Big Pete admits he was particularly relieved that the helmet came with a visor which covered his face from public view. Little Pete was also relieved, because he could relieve himself in his space suit in the name of science. I'm guessing Big Pete is thankful his little brother didn't ask to do one of those two-person costumes, like a horse, because Little Pete would've probably pissed all over him if that were the case. Then again, if it's in the name of science, I suppose it's ok. You can pretty much do anything you want as long as you proclaim that it's for scientific reasons.
As they set off late in the afternoon that Halloween, Little Pete was dreaming of the ultimate Halloween glory, while Big Pete couldn't help but dread what the Pumpkin Eaters would do if they caught him.
There's still more of "Halloweenie" to see!
Click here to continue onward to page 2!
I wasn't allowed to watch in Living Color, but Pete & Pete is is my top 3 greatest shows of ALL TIME! This is by far favorite episode after "Nightcrawlers". I'm happy that you took one of my suggestions for your site. Thanks again!
Originally Posted by Mockery
Glad you enjoyed the write-up and thanks for sticking with the site for six years or so. As for horror movie moments, while this isn't really the place to be asking about them, the simple fact is that I'm way busier these days and there's less help at the moment. First off, I wasn't the only one "churning them out several times a week" as you said, the other writers did them too when I was working on larger pieces. Max Burbank has been absent the past two months, and Protoclown has been all but gone as well. That leaves just me and Dr. Boogie to write most of the articles on the site this season, so I've been busy working on larger pieces like this rather than the smaller Greatest Horror Moments articles to give everybody the most bang for their Halloween buck. I also have a new show, Doc Mock's Movie Mausoleum, that airs live every Friday night and we've been doing Halloween episodes all month long, so that eats up plenty of my time each week as well.
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