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"The Adventures of Pete & Pete: The Coolest By Far"

From CMJ New Music Monthly Magazine, March 1996
By Scott Frampton

Ask Danny Tamberelli, the younger of the two Petes on Nickelodeon's The Adventures of Pete And Pete, who is his favorite guest star, and he'll answer, in a response so quick it cuts off the end of the question, "Iggy Pop."

"By far, he's been the coolest," the 13-year-old reiterates with a reverent nod. And he's right, in more ways than he knows. Iggy Pop, thanks to a recurring role as a neighbor girl's father on the quietly subversive Pete and Pete...., may be the coolest thing to happen to kids TV since Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

"The fact that ten-year-old kids now consider Iggy Pop to be Nona Mecklenberg's dad—versus lead singer of the Stooges—I think that's pretty great," says prodcuer Will McRobb. "And I guess our thinking is, in some small way, they'll grow up and be changed because of it." While the effects of gently surreal moments like Patty Hearst popping up as a bouffant-helmeted uber-mom or Iggy crooning to his daughter at a high school hop for a chance to take the girl for a turn on the dance floor are not likely to surface immediately in the pre- and early-teen audience (tests on my ten-year-old niece have proved inconclusive), McRobb and partner Chris Vixcardi's efforts to pack each show with off-beat humor, obscure references and unlikely cameos make Pete and Pete the most honestly "alternative" program on television. The immediate upshot of this is that the show is a lot of fun for adults (wouldn't you like to see Adam West chewing scenery again? Silent comedy genius Bill Irwin as a "slightly effeminate real estate agent"?), as well as the kids who tap into the show's uniquely pre-adult sense of logic, but it's also a public service for young viewers generally offered nothing more outre' than Mark-Paul Gosseler's wedge-cut—the pop-culture cool, indie rock equivalent of Davey and Goliath.

McRobb continues: "I think the kids are not going to get a lot of the references, and it doesn't really matter. Our goal is to put as many adult references in the show as we can as long as they don't alienate the kid viewers. And we do that with the music, and we do that with the cameos, land we do that with our humor. It provides texture.... We write the show for kids, and we'd never do anything that would distance them from the show, but as long as all these things that we like fit and don't interfere with the part of the show that a kid will like and enjoy, then we'll go as far as we can. Iggy Pop, Patty Hearst, whatever music that we might have. All that stuff, even though a kid might not get it—there's just something about it that I think it's good that they are exposed to."

"Syd Straw Plays With the Skeletons in Her Closet"

From Rolling Stone, 16 May 1996, p. 25
By Jim DeRogatis

... Other labels were slow to come knocking, so Straw channeled her energies into acting, landing the role of Laurel in the PBS production of "Tales of the City" and portraying Miss Fingerwood on Nickelodeon's subversive kids' show "The Adventures of Pete and Pete." "That was a nice job to get, because the producers said to the director, 'For the role of the math teacher, we want someone just like Syd Straw,'" Straw says. "I didn't even have to audition, which is my favorite way to win work." (The show is directed by Katherine Dieckmann, who has made videos for R.E.M. Other rockers who've appeared include [Michael] Stipe, Iggy Pop, and Mark Mulcahy of Miracle Legion.) ...

Twin Petes

From SPIN Magazine, November 1994, p. 28
By Jonathan Bernstein

There's something weird going on in the neighborhood. It's called The Adventures of Pete & Pete.

Strip-mining suburbia for surrealism is hardly a fresh pastime, but the lunacy behind the lawn sprinklers has rarely been portrayed better than it is on Nickelodeon's The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Minor hiccups in the lives of deadpan Pete Wrigley (17-year-old Micheal Maronna) and his pit bull of a little brother, Pete Wrigley (12-year-old Danny Tamberelli), evolve into mind-bending scenarios. "Our best shows take the mundane and make something mythic out of it," says co-creator and executive producer Will McRobb. Such as when Big Pete's stint as a range boy on his father's driving range causes him so much anxiety he dons a bear suit and discovers the beast inside himself. Or when Little Pete finds Polaris (Miracle Legion in a poppier disguise) playing in the garage. He's sufficiently moved to start his own band. "Yeah, the Blowholes," confirms Tamberelli, "with a teacher, a meter man, and one of my friends." Of course, the teacher was Syd Straw and the meter man was Marshall Crenshaw. Their appearances---along with cameos by Micheal Stipe (as Captain Scrummy the ice cream man), Juliana Hatfield (as Emma the lunch lady, who warns Big Pete away from the meatloaf), and John McLaughlin (as himself, who moderates a dispute over who will inherit Rolling Thunder, Dad's bowling ball)—can't help but add to the show's cult cachet.

Guest stars, however, are merely subordinate to the exploits of the Petes, two brothers who esperience weirdness in perfect harmony. "It's more of a bit, happy love-in at the Wrigley household," mutters Maronna. "Another suburban myth."

Seventeen Guys to Watch in 1995

From Seventeen, January 1995, p. 51

Michael Maronna: Like a cross between Northern Exposure and The Wonder Years, Nickelodeon's The Adventures of Pete and Pete is a hip and slightly surreal look at growing up. Each episode is narrated by 17-year-old Michael Maronna (the elder of the two brothers Pete), last seen in the two Home Alone movies. As if his cute factor weren't enough, Michael plays one of those rare TV boy characters whose best friend is a girl.


Disclaimer: The articles here have been reproduced without permission, but have been fully attributed.