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The Adventures Of Pete And Pete: “Crisis In The Love Zone”

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“Crisis In The Love Zone” (season 3, episode 6; originally aired 03/23/1996)

Spend a little time looking at the airdates for season three of The Adventures Of Pete And Pete and things get a little mysterious. Last week’s episode aired in November of 1995. This week’s aired over five months later, in March of ’96. Two episodes from now, we’re back in November, only this time, in ’96. Did someone at Nickelodeon forget about Pete And Pete?

It’s a shame if they did, because “Crisis In The Love Zone” is a great episode. Directed by Katherine Dieckmann, who helmed some of the best episodes of the show, “Crisis” is chock full of sight gags, bad rhymes, and great acting work from Michelle Trachtenberg as Nona. It’s also the first episode that Little Pete narrates, while Big Pete is relegated to the sidelines of a tennis court to drool over yet another love interest.

“Crisis In The Love” zone is interesting for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I think it suggests a sort of back-story for the characters, a deeper emotional connection between them than we previously knew about. It also—and this could be the “looking for love in all the wrong places” 12-year-old me talking—suggests that, hey, maybe Ellen and Pete really will get together in the long run. (“The mail isn’t always perfect, but like love, it eventually makes it through.”) Then again, I wanted Clarissa Darling and Sam Anders to fall in love and be together forever, so what do I know?

Once again this week, the show’s messing with age-specific love. While last week Big Pete was enamored with a far older member of Luscious Jackson, this week Little Pete has the “chirpity chirpity chirps” for Mailwoman Eunice Puell. As he quickly approaches Lovecon four, he’s willing to do anything for her, from forking over money for a traveling violin player to dressing like a mailbox just to see her face. Similarly, Pitstain has the hots for a non-interested Nona and shows her just how much by making a lifesize effigy of her lovely body made entirely out of lunchmeat. How romantic!

“Crisis In The Love Zone” ultimately ends up revolving around a love polygon of epic proportions. No one—other than the kissing couples in the intro—finds their love reciprocated. All parties eventually snap out of it, rather than diving deeper into love’s gushy abyss. Spring comes and goes, and with it, the worst romantic contamination that Wellsville has ever seen.


Stray observations

  • Ellen’s bitchy black friend Heather reminded me a whole lot of other bitchy black friends in more recent ABC Family shows like 10 Things I Hate About You and Jane By Design.
  • Anti-love chants used during Nona and Pete’s love jogs include “don’t be a loser, don’t be a dud. Don’t fall in love or you’ll feel like crud,” and “love’s for losers, love’s for dinks. Love smells worse than a clogged sink.”
  • Nona’s cast is fake! Gasp!
  • “From sponge cake to space stations, it’s got to be Krebstar.”
  • The Little Pete insult of the week this go around is actually one from Nona: “Eat sludge, stinkfist.”