Nickelodeon's Best '90s Show Is Erased From Existence

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By Sean Thiessen | Published

Alison Fanelli
The Adventures of Pete and Pete

Every once in a while, a brilliant coming-of-age show comes along – then disappears. Fans of shows like Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared know the pain, and so do fans of the 90s Nickelodeon classic The Adventures of Pete & Pete. From 1993 to 1996, this zany show about two brothers with the same name was a Nickelodeon staple, but now the show is nowhere to be found.

The Adventures of Pete & Pete was a classic Nickelodeon series that now isn’t streaming on any service.

The Adventures of Pete & Pete stars Danny Tamberelli as “Little” Pete Wrigley, a mischievous child, and Michael Maronna as “Big” Pete Wrigley, his teenage brother. Maronna, who keen observers may recognize as Jeff McCallister, Kevin’s redheaded brother in Home Alone, narrates the series.

The Petes have all kinds of zany suburban adventures in this surreal series, thanks largely to the bizarre supporting cast of The Adventures of Pete & Pete. The boys are joined by their typical suburban parents, with an understanding mother and a competitive but easily vexed father.

The Petes’ Mom has a plate in her head from an unspecified childhood accident that allows her to pick up and transmit radio stations, but it has no effect otherwise. The plate gets its own title card in the show’s brilliant opening credits sequence, as does Petunia, the tattoo of a sultry woman in a red dress on Little Pete’s forearm.

Artie
Artie in The Adventures of Pete & Pete

The Adventures of Pete & Pete also has an amazing supporting cast with plenty of friends and foes. “Big” Pete’s best friend is a smart and obsessive girl named Ellen, played by Alison Fanelli. “Little” Pete has his friends, too, but the wackiest is his hero and the only adult he respects, Artie, the strongest man in the world.

Played by the fully committed Toby Huss, Artie is “Little” Pete’s own personal superhero. He runs around town in tights and would probably appear to be a lunatic if he didn’t actually perform feats of superhuman strength and speed.

The main antagonists in The Adventures of Pete & Pete are “Endless” Mike Hellstrom, “Big” Pete’s nemesis, “Hathead,” a kid whose hair looks perpetually flattened by a hat no one ever sees him wear, “Open Face,” “Pit Stain,” “Paper Cut,” and Principal Schwinger, played by none other than Adam West.

Chris Viscardi
Adam West in The Adventures Of Pete & Pete

Together, this wacky cast populates the fictional town of Wellsville, a suburban town on the same level of ambiguity as The Simpsons’ Springfield. Created by Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, the show began in 1991 as a series of interstitial shorts that played between shows on Nickelodeon, but the concept caught on and was picked up for a series in 1993.

The full episodes saw the brothers experience the challenges of growing up and a loss of innocence through a series of delightful misadventures that made The Adventures of Pete & Pete a cult classic.

So… Where is it?

According to the series’ creators, DVDs for Season 3 were produced and are sitting somewhere in a warehouse, but they never went to market.

The series ran for three seasons and was syndicated until 2004. In 2005, the first two seasons of The Adventures of Pete & Pete were released on DVD, with the third scheduled for release in early 2006. But that never happened.

According to the series’ creators, DVDs for Season 3 were produced and are sitting somewhere in a warehouse, but they never went to market. The holdup was apparently a result of a DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures merger, but McRobb and Viscardi never got a clear answer about the fate of those DVDs.

Now, the series is also absent from streaming platforms. Many Nickelodeon TV shows from the 1990s are available on Paramount+ or even Hulu. Still, The Adventures of Pete & Pete remains mysteriously absent from the streaming lineup, and there is no clear answer as to why.

What The Cast Of Pete & Pete Is Doing Now

It is possible that the show will one day see a resurgence if Nickelodeon ever decides to dust it off its shelves and release the show to streaming. Until then, fans of The Adventures of Pete & Pete can scour the internet for DVD copies of the first two seasons or catch up with Pete and Pete themselves on the podcast The Adventures of Danny & Mike.

The pair reunited with the creators and cast of The Adventures of Pete & Pete in the early 2010s, and in 2013, Danny Tamberelli and Mike Maronna began a weekly podcast about 90s nostalgia, growing up in the film and TV industry, and becoming fathers to their young children. Maronna still acts and works in the electrical department for movies and shows, such as Men in Black 3, Luke Cage, and Your Place or Mine. Tamberelli has continued to work as an actor and musician into adulthood.

The Adventures of Pete & Pete is a hidden gem of kids’ TV from the 1990s. It is out there somewhere, and in the age of streaming, it is only a matter of time before this cult classic speaks to a whole new generation.


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