The Adventures of Pete & Pete ran from 1992 to 1996 on Nickelodeon, and followed brothers Big Pete and Little Pete on their adventures in a world before smartphones and social media. We had the pleasure of talking to actors Danny Tamberelli and Michael C. Maronna at the recent ATX Festival and discussed the show’s return courtesy of The Splat, along with the nostalgia of the early 90’s. Check out our chat below, and tune in for The Adventures of Pete & Pete: The Strongest Reunion In the World!!! on The Splat on June 17th and 18th at 10/9c!
It’s been almost twenty-five years since we’ve seen you last. Fill us in on where you’re at now. What projects are you working on?
Danny Tamberelli: “Well, Mike and I do a podcast called ‘The Adventures of Danny and Mike.’”
Michael C. Maronna: “For a long time, we did nothing, but then we started a podcast.”
Danny: “I worked for Nickelodeon until 2000. I was on All That, and then I went to college and tried to be a normal kid.”
Michael: “What about Figure It Out: Family Style?”
Danny: “That was high school.”
Michael: “No wonder you had a messed up college experience! (laughs)”
Danny: “True- that’s very true.”
Michael: “After Pete & Pete was done, I went to college and travelled around a little bit. I was auditioning after college and then started working as an electric doing lighting, and I’ve been in the union for the past ten years.”
Have you stayed in touch the whole time, or was Nickelodeon Splat bringing the show back the reunion you’ve been dying for?
Danny: “We had done some Pete & Pete reunions prior to the Splat being invented in 2011 or 2012, so that was when we started hanging out again. That’s when we decided to do a podcast.”
Michael: “Now, we get together all the time!”
Danny: “We both live in Brooklyn-”
Michael: “The worst borough in New York. (laughs)”
Danny: “Not true. Staten Island is the worst borough in New York.”
Michael: “But they have good pizza!”
There’s good pizza anywhere in New York!
Michael: “Burn! (laughs)”
We’re here because the Splat is reairing Pete & Pete and a few other early 90’s Nickelodeon shows. What was your reaction when you heard the show would be airing again?
Danny: “We were happy! We don’t mean this in a mean way, but it’s kind of like ‘yeah, it’s about time!’ (laughs)”
Michael: “A small cash register appeared over my shoulder and started going ‘ca-ching! ca-ching! ca-ching!’ (laughs)”
Danny: “That was just a dream, though.”
Michael: “(singing) That’s me in the corner-”
Kids these days are different from kids in the early 1990’s. What is something you hope these kids will learn from Pete & Pete?
Michael: “Put down the damn phone!”
Danny: “Yes! Use your imagination!”
Michael: “Get your own, personal superhero!”
Danny: “Yes, that’s right! If you have pets and they pass away, and you want to have a funeral for them, do it!”
Michael: “Don’t try and get too personal with your ice cream man! You may drive them away. (laughs)”
Why do you think these shows still resonate with people today?
Danny: “Adolescence and growing up and being around while the shows were actually on TV was a very specific time in people’s lives. I don’t think there’s been anything really like it. That was a really cool time from 1990 to 1996 when Nickelodeon was churning out really cool, unique, different shows. I think it still resonates with people because they were so unique.”
When I hear titles like All That, The Adventures of Alex Mack, or even Nickelodeon GUTS, these are titles that still make me smile because they remind me of a really good time in my life. What were those shows for you growing up?
Danny: “I watched Pete & Pete! It meant a lot to me, for sure.”
Michael: “I know Danny sneaked into Nickelodeon Studios and stole a piece of the Aggro Crag, at one point.”
Danny: “Yeah, I got in trouble.”
Michael: “You had to put it back, if I recall.”
Danny: “I got in trouble for going on set of Global Guts, or regular Guts, or whatever. They yelled at me because I was climbing on the Aggro Crag, but I never took anything from it.”
Have you seen pictures of Nickelodeon Studios now? It’s an office building.
Danny: “You know what’s very strange about that? There are pictures, and the bathrooms still have the green Nickelodeon-type colors. It was the Blue Man Group’s place for a while, too. So the bathrooms were blue, green and orange. They were not very complimentary colors.”
Michael: “Those names are synonymous with kids at a certain time. Those titles matter just because they stick in kids’ heads. If you have an emotional button on something, it’s much better to remember.”
Reboots are popular, now. If Nickelodeon came to you wanting to reboot Pete & Pete, would you?
Michael: “We decided to beat them to the punch, and we’re rebooting our own podcast. It’s already called ‘The Adventures of Danny and Mike,’ which couldn’t be more of a Pete & Pete homage if you tried.”
Danny: “It’s nostalgia- personified!”
Michael: “We’ve got a new tagline!”
That seems like something Pete & Pete would be doing these days, though, right?
Michael: “That’s believable!”
Michael, you have a child. What are some of the differences you find between children’s programming today and children’s programming now?
Michael: “Somebody brought up an important point earlier. The kids on Nickelodeon shows were not perfect kids, and I would say that Danny and I did not have a sweet life. We were not Zack and Cody, but warts and all, we still managed to have our adventures. It was a very interesting time. It was good to show kids that normal people could go have fun.”
Aside from your own show, if you could reboot one other old-school Nickelodeon show, what would you do and why?
Michael: “Live-action Ren and Stimpy! (laughs)”
Danny: “That would be insane.”
Michael: “It would be green screen, and disgusting.”
It would be like Double Dare, but crazier.
Michael: “Double Dare was one of my favorite shows as a kid. Me and my brother were always sure we would kill if I wasn’t contractually precluded from being on the show.”
Danny: “I would reboot Roundhouse.”
Roundhouse was such a great show!
Danny: “Roundhouse was a good one.”
Michael: “It was like singing, right?”
Danny: “It was sketch comedy, but with a little more variety.”
Michael: “It was adults, right? Not kids?”
Danny: “It was kids, but they felt like adults.”
It was the 8:30 PM spot on SNICK.
Michael: “Oh, so it was edgy! (laughs)”
TV is a lot different now than it was then. Are you part of that culture, now? Are you bingeing shows, and if so, what shows are they?
Danny: “I cut the cord, mostly.”
Michael: “I steal cable from my super. (laughs)”
Danny: “I don’t have anything that I’m really, truly bingeing right now.”
Michael: “Tell the truth!”
Danny: “Okay, fine. My lady makes me watch Nashville, and I’ve watched every episode of it. That’s it, are you happy? (laughs)”
Michael: “You binged something!”
Danny: “Yeah, I binged it! I watched all of it in a rapid period of time, and the new ones just started!”
Michael: “In the past, I’ve binged Luke Cage pretty hard, and Game of Thrones. I crammed that really hard.”
Danny: “I don’t cram that. I watch that when it comes out. Except last year, when the first four or five episodes leaked. I was the idiot that watched them all, and then had to sit there for a month and a half and be like ‘ugh- why did I do that?’ I learned my lesson. If you’ve gotten through all the stuff nobody else has seen, you can’t talk to anyone else about it!”
Michael: “Some of the Marvel stuff is very binge-able, and a lot of the HBO shows are very binge-able, too.”
What does being a “nerd” mean to you?
Michael: “Extremely knowledgeable, and maybe able to speak for two people. The nerd might have enough knowledge for two people packed into one brain. I think whatever Dan might have to say might be duplicative. (laughs)”
Danny: “I think ‘nerdy’ and ‘fandom’ kind of go hand in hand. I’m a music nerd.”
Michael: “And proud of it.”
Danny: “Oh, big-time. Big-time music nerd, and big-time gear nerd- like musical gear and equipment.”
Did you get that from Little Pete, or did Little Pete get that from you?
Danny: “A little bit of both.”
Michael (turns to Danny): “Talk nerdy to me!”
Danny: “Talk nerdy to you? Okay, do you remember Amazing Spiderman number 352?”
Michael: “No, it was Amazing Fantasy number 55 that was the first appearance of Spiderman!”
Danny: “I wasn’t asking about the first appearance of Spiderman.”
Michael: “I don’t remember Spiderman number 52.”
Michael: “Oh, that’s the one when he’s trapped under the thing! I do. He’s crushed underneath all these girders, and he goes through this whole thing, and at the end of the comic he finds a way to lift up the ship! (laughs)”