What does it take for a television show to stick in people’s minds – not as a flicker of a memory, or an amusing reference point, but something that is really meaningful to them? There are many great things about The Adventures of Pete & Pete, a show ostensibly for children that was canceled just before the calendar turned over to 1997, but is still beloved to this day. But one thing that truly sets it apart from other shows of its era, and especially from kids’ shows, is its relationship with music. It made music as much a part of the series’ universe as autumnal visages and superheroes in striped pajamas. In an age when the relationship between television and music is deeply ingrained, it’s important to recognize Pete & Pete‘s role as an innovator.
Few shows from that time featured music as excellent and eclectic as The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and few even to this day went to the lengths the show did, from having a sort of in-house band in Polaris to frequently featuring musicians in acting roles. The musical legacy of The Adventures of Pete & Pete is a fascinating tale that goes far beyond Iggy Pop playing a silly suburban dad or Michael Stipe portraying an ice-cream man called Captain Scrummy, although that would more than suffice in and of itself.