Retro Recaps: The Adventures of Pete and Pete ( Season 3, Episode 4) – Splashdown!
As Season 3 of The Adventures of Pete & Pete rolled around, it was plain to see that the town of Wellsville (where the show was set), was changing.
Artie (the strongest Man in the World) had taken leave of (little) Pete, and it seemed that Ellen had just become to (big) Pete what he claimed in the earliest shows: just a girl, and a friend.
The final season of the show, would ping-pong between the older and younger siblings of the Wrigley household, with a few episodes even pitting the two against each other.
Splashdown, would be one of those episodes.
Another Summer is upon Wellsville, and this year, (big) Pete has a job: as junior lifeguard for the Wellsville Municipal Pool! Along with the job, (big) Pete has his eye on 2 things: a beautiful brunette named Linda, and the throne of Senior lifeguard Matt Uplinger: The Krebstar Hydro-Thrustinator 2000.
Unfortunately, (big) Pete has to pay his dues like all lower ranking “officers” must, by performing menial duties. These including such character-building jobs, like cleaning out the pool after it’s closed for the day.
One evening, Matt informs (big) Pete of two problems. One of them, is an unidentified “urinator” who has been reported in the pool. The other, is (little) Pete, whom Matt feels could stir up trouble.
While Matt explains an added chemical agent in the water will help them catch the first culprit, (big) Pete gets a little help keeping lookout, when local Kreb Scout member Monica Prime, eagerly volunteers to help.
Matt’s thoughts on (little) Pete prove true, when the younger Wrigley brother declares war on Adult Swim – the one time during the day, when all kids must leave the pool, and the adults take over for one hour.
After an incident with (little) Pete and electric eels, Uplinger ups the stakes for (big) Pete: if he can prevent (little) Pete from ruining Adult Swim, he can become a Senior Lifeguard…which will allow him to sit upon the Hydro-Thrustinator 2000!
(Big) Pete tries to have a casual conversation with his brother about leaving Adult Swim alone, but as expected, (little) Pete has his reasons.
“Adult Swim is a disease,” the younger Pete explains to his elder. “The pool is for everybody. Why do they get to hog it?”
The next day, as Adult Swim begins, (big) Pete sends a dog running off with a tape player around its neck…playing a cassette that sounds like Mr Tastee’s ice cream truck music!
The sound causes all the kids at the pool (including (little) Pete), to give chase, clearing out the pool, and making the transition to Adult Swim painless…impressing Matt!
Needless to say, (little) Pete is furious about the trick, and sends the dog back with a message of his own: “Vengeance will be mine, blowhole!”
Not wanting to spend the rest of his Summer hunting for the Urinator, (big) Pete leaves that hunt to Monica Prime, and steps up to take charge of Adult Swim. Matt then relays the rules: (little) Pete will get three strikes. Once he uses them up, he’s banned for the rest of the summer.
(Little) Pete almost gets away with (literally) pulling the plug during Adult Swim (disguised as an older woman named Mrs Blotard), but (big) Pete catches him in the act. The first strike is given, and (big) Pete tries to plead with his brother to stop…but (little) Pete promises not to give up.
Soon after, (little) Pete’s friends Nona Mecklenberg and Wayne Pardue, attempt to summon Pete with a special call (that Wayne saw on Flipper). Nona questions Wayne’s logic, when suddenly, (little) Pete appears…riding a jet ski! Adults scatter from the pool, but soon, (big) Pete appears with a jet ski of his own, and the second strike is given.
This time, Nona and Wayne are placed in the ‘docking zone’ area of the pool, along with (little) Pete. While (big) Pete tries to stay firm, Ellen and Pete’s parents feel that he’s being too hard on his little brother.
(big) Pete attempts to patch things up, but mainly to tell his brother that “adults have rights, too.”
“Not to kick us out anytime they want,” expounds (little) Pete. “The whole world is theirs! All we’re asking for is one, stinking, pool! We belong here, and you know it!”
“Pete, things are different now,” says (big) Pete. “I’m a lifeguard.”
“No you’re not,” responds the younger. “You’re a traitor! To all kids…everywhere!”
(little) Pete’s words hang in (big) Pete’s head as he cleans the pool that evening. While doing so, he is surprised to see Linda taking a late-night swim…but the mood turns sour, as he sees she’s swimming with Matt, who claims (big) Pete still has to prove himself, if he wants to move beyond pool-cleaning.
This pushes (big) Pete over the edge, and the next day, he attempts to take full-command over Adult Swim (“Kids, OUT! Adults, IN!”). With Adult Swim’s 60-minute time limit, (big) Pete goes into monitor-overdrive. The minutes tick by, until finally, only a minute remains.
Matt congratulates (big) Pete on having put his little brother in his place, but (big) Pete is still convinced his brother will do something.
But in a matter of seconds, Matt makes (big) Pete forget his problems, declaring him Senior Lifeguard, and allowing him to ascend to the kingly seat, overlooking the pool!
(big) Pete begins to relax in his new perch…until he sees (little) Pete on the high-dive board! (big) Pete yells for his brother to just wait for Adult Swim to end (in a matter of seconds!).
“Why blow your whole summer?” yells (big) Pete.
“Because there are some things in life worth dying for,” replies the younger brother. “You used to know that. You used to care!”
As everyone watches, (little) Pete ignores his brother, and dives into the pool! The kids cheer at (little) Pete’s defiance, but Matt demands (big) Pete finalize his brother’s banning from the pool.
“I hate to do this Pete,” says (big) Pete, rising from his chair, “but you leave me no choice!”
However, everyone looks on in shock, as (big) Pete cannonballs into the pool!
This seems to break the mood, and everyone takes to the water: kids, and adults! Pete’s rebellious act shows that the pool can be enjoyed by all!
All are fine with this, except Matt , who swims out to (big) Pete, to relieve him of his post…only for (big) Pete to point out…that Matt seems to have ‘relieved himself!’
The water-changing chemical agent shows a green bloom around Matt, and Kreb Scout Monica Prime appears. She tells that she figured Matt didn’t put the actual chemical in the pool, to keep himself from being caught. Monica though, being an honorable and decent Kreb Scout, happily did her civic duty by helping out!
With Matt exposed, his authority is all-but-destroyed, and the Wellsville Municipal Pool becomes a haven where all are welcome now!
And that, was Splashdown.
Word was that as Season 3 went along, it entered into uneven territory. Even so, Splashdown is one of its most notably fun episodes.
The gags fly fast and furious as (little) Pete digs in with his attempts to make a stand for the kids. A lot of the ridiculousness of the gags (like how he managed to appear on a jet ski in the pool!), keep that strange charm that the show began with.
Along for the ride with (little) Pete are Nona Mecklenberg, and Wayne Pardue. While Wayne is the ‘third wheel’ of the group getting little respect, Nona’s attitude at times makes her a good match for Pete in several situations.
It sometimes seems that (big) Pete should be the more grounded one, but here, (little) Pete definitely manages to show his older brother the error of his ways.
We also see more of Ellen just being relegated to the “girl-and-a-friend” territory, with Pete setting his eyes on Linda. Over the course of Season 3, Linda would be one of several girls that (big) Pete would go after, almost as if the writers were just scrounging for ways to keep (big) Pete’s teenage love life afloat. In this episode, Linda serves as little more than another pretty face for (big) Pete to try and impress, as he attempts to seem like an authority figure.
Much like some earlier episodes, it is fun to see some things taken to extremes, like the Krebstar Hydro-Thrustinator 3000, which looks like the most awesome throne a lifeguard could want…and a definite explanation as to why (big) Pete would want some of that power (as well as a vantage point to eye Linda.
I recall first seeing this episode without total concentration…so I almost missed the first time when (little) Pete disguised himself as the portly Mrs Blotard, in an attempt to pull the plug in the pool (the costume worked out pretty well). Plus, the showrunners have a little fun with showing the adult swim people, doing fancy water ballet routines (I wonder how long that stuff took to film?).
For Season 3, Splashdown would be one of a couple episodes that would pit the Wrigley brothers against each other. Most of the final season, would separate the brothers into their own group of age-appropriate friends, as they maneuvered their way through school, bullies, driver’s ed, and a few other things, before their adventures would come to an end.