“Time Tunnel” (season 2, episode 5; originally aired 10/02/1994)
Is anything really ever meant to be? Moreover, since Ellen is a girl and Pete’s friend, is she his girlfriend?
That’s one of the questions that “Time Tunnel” tries to answer, though as we’ve seen over the course of the past two seasons—and heard from The Adventures Of Pete And Pete’s creators in that fabulous L.A. reunion panel— Ellen and Pete were never really a romantic couple meant to stand the test of time. After all, after their nuclear fusion, they went back to just being friends almost immediately, and with no mention of the groundbreaking event at all the next episode. I don’t quite remember what happens love-wise in next week’s episode, “Inspector 34,” but I’d wager that they’ll be back to being friends without benefits.
Maybe that’s for a reason. Nickelodeon viewers, presumably, don’t want to see two awkward teenagers struggling with their sexuality and “the next step” any more than they want to see their parents kissing. Even Fifteen, Nick’s version of a trashy teen soap opera, didn’t really delve into the whole “below the neck” realm, as far as I remember. Degrassi, these shows weren’t, and that’s fine by me. Even watching Pete try to put his arm around Ellen kind of gave me the willies, let alone thinking about them in a sweaty car at the drive-in getting it on.
“Time Tunnel” is about more than just the benefits of a fully-fogged love cocoon, though. It’s about two brothers living their lives to the fullest. Little Pete, fully charged with Riboflavin, is ready to make Endless Mike’s life a living hell after he knocks Pete and Nona off their bikes. Pete’s out to prove that Mike was, in fact, once a kid, and a fat, bib wearing one at that.
More than that, though, Pete’s out to become legendary. He wants to do something with his extra hour that’s so groundbreaking that the world will commemorate it in a floaty pen like the ones you can buy on vacation. Destroying Endless Mike might not be the stuff of legend—though Pete does get his pen—but what is important is that he helped his brother get Ellen back after he grope-bombed her into oblivion. Daylight savings time allowed Pete to go back one hour, back before he pissed Ellen off, and reignite their friendship, at least.
Little Pete does that with a speech that I found to be particularly poignant, and a line that nearly makes me cry even typing it: “When you forget about me, I want to forget about you, but I can’t.” It’s simple and soul-crushing at the same time, applicable to families, boyfriends, girlfriends, and just regular friends. Little Pete is the sweetheart brother. He’s the considerate one, even if he does sell people landmine insurance they don’t need. Big Pete’s growing up and Little Pete’s pissed. Some days, Big Pete says, Little Pete doesn’t even want to breathe the same air as him. But they’re brothers all the same and when push comes to shove comes to Endless Mike, that comes first. After all, Kreb-plasma is thicker than Kreb-water.
• Little Pete exclamation of the week: “Kill me with a brick!”
• Krebstick 2000 deodorant is essential for sealing pores when time travel is on the horizon.
• To this day, whenever someone says “dollar” I think “doll hair,” which is what Bill promised he’d pay Teddy if he rode the mechanical horse outside the grocery store.
• Stu and Sally broke up again and now Stu’s planning on driving his bus to the Arctic Circle where he’ll tattoo Sally’s name on his forehead, strap himself to an iceberg, and drift slowly off to sea.
• Endless Mike drives a yellow ‘60s mustang with the license place “STOMP1.” His keychain is a dangly skeleton wearing a leather biker’s jacket.
• Endless Mike to Little Pete: “Ooh, time travelling. Guess your big brother didn’t get all the dink genes after all.”
• Speaking of brothers, this episode contains my brother’s favorite line: “You hit the go and then you know.”
• Did I spy a poster for a movie called Fishman starring one Daniel Fisher at the drive-in? Can’t wait to read about it in the comments below.