Was there a show more ahead of its time, more under-appreciated, than Nickelodeon’s Adventures of Pete & Pete? Freaks and Geeks, you say? Okay, maybe. But Pete & Pete is surely up there, and growing from a string of one-minute shorts aired on Nickelodeon during commercial breaks into a full-fledged 22-min series, it featured some of the most unique, quirky characters and stories on TV (back when being “quirky” was still a good thing). Even though it aired on Nickelodeon, and followed a set of young redheaded brothers, it was far beyond the traditional kiddie fare, attracting guest stars like Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, Janeane Garofalo, Chris Elliott and Bebe Neuwirth, and could be viewed as one of the first single camera, laugh track-free comedies. Perhaps you could even say that Pete & Pete paved the way for shows like Arrested Development. But, let’s not get off to topic, that’s a discussion for another day. Right now it’s all about Christmas.
Pete & Pete often traded in holiday-themed episodes, including Valentine’s Day, Halloween and New Year’s Eve (my favorite would be “Time Tunnel,” set during the Autumnal Equinox, which is not technically a holiday but worth including because of the Pete’s commitment to time travel, something that really hit home with me (make sure you consume plenty of riboflavin!)). Surprisingly, it took them until the third season to tackle Christmas, presenting us with “O Christmas Pete,” in which Little Pete (Danny Tamberelli, before he lost his boyish charm and went on to join All That), in typical Little Pete fashion, attempts to keep Christmas going year-round and battles the evil garbageman, a typical Pete & Pete villain (they loved to utilize their civil servants).
Sidenote: About 7 years ago, after a Yankee game, I swear that I saw Danny Tamberelli outside the stadium. I yelled “Little Pete,” but he did not acknowledge me in the slightest. As a result, I’m positive it was him.
Seriously though, Pete & Pete is probably the best thing ever to air on Nickelodeon (and that’s no small feat (see: Rocko’s Modern Life, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Clarissa Explains It All, Roundhouse, to name a few)) and probably deserved to be on network TV. And you can quote me on that (seriously, please quote me, I could use the traffic).