Recap / Pete and Pete S1 E8 "Hard Day's Pete"

"Hard Day's Pete" is the eighth and final episode of the first season of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, written by Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, and aired on January 16, 1994.

Do you have a favorite song?
Do you know how it sounds?
About how the music goes up?
About what the lyrics say?

How many times have you listened to it?

For Little Pete, favorite songs aren't important. He has other 'favorites', such as a favorite smell, or a favorite bodily organ... but not exactly a favorite song.

Little Pete has a side hobby-job as the (pirate) radio host of his own radio station, WART radio, which he uses as a way to drive the neighbors crazy. But he has never really cared about music, so when someone calls the station to request a song, he just tells them off. And then, one fateful day... when taking a shortcut to school, he ends up listening to a garage band rehearsing a song, just for a minute, and the song ends up in his head. But when he asks his listeners for information about the song, he remembers precious few things: the overall tone, and a few random lyrics from the chorus, 'I was around' and 'nobody knows'.

Sadly, as he finds out later, nobody knows what the song is called, nor who were playing it (in real life, it is "Summerbaby" by Polaris), so in a bid to find it again, he starts playing the guitar (a Krebstar 3000 Eviscerator electric guitar, to be exact) to pick out the only riff he remembers of the song. In the plan to capture it, Little Pete forms his own band, the Blowholes, and suggests playing the same riff over, and over, and over, not to let it go. However, this starts bothering his neighbors, who are part of the 'International Adults Conspiracy', and they call Pete's dad to pull the plug... which, as his electric bill has soared to $700, he is more than ready to do.

Though Little Pete doesn't want the song to vanish from his memory, he starts to accept that maybe that song would never come back to him. But he still doesn't give up, and, to help his dad pay the electric bills, he begins playing music on the radio station.

But while he is making his listeners happy, he remains unhappy. And he returns to the place that started his quest to recover it. His song. Maybe the only one that deserved to be called his 'favorite' song... only to end up in his mind as a single, lonely note. Just as he prepares to give up, his bandmates remind him that he was doing it not only for the 'Power of Rock', but also because he ended up loving music, and as they begin to play one last time, the song starts coming back to him little by little, and they keep jamming to ensure that Pete never forgets the song again.

"This is 'Hard Day's Pete'. And these are its tropes.":

  • Actor Allusion: Both Marshall Crenshaw (meter man Mel Ratner) and Syd Straw (Miss Fingerwood) are musicians in real life.
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster: WART Radio is a pirate radio station that is quite infamous to some of the Wrigleys' neighbors. It works as a normal radio station, with traffic reports, weather reports, news/gossip about people in the neighborhood... Little Pete even gives occasional interviews.
  • The Cameo: Marshall Crenshaw as the meter man, Mel Ratner. Also, Polaris, a side project of Mark Mulcahy (leader of Miracle Legion), formed solely to provide the music for The Adventures of Pete and Pete. This particular four-piece version of "Polaris" comprises the Miracle Legion lineup.
  • Cover Version: To keep the song in the memories of Little Pete, and all of Wellsville, the band performs a cover of "Summerbaby". A real life cover was performed at one of the 2012 reunion shows by Danny, Syd and Crenshaw, with help of Jounce (Danny's band)'s drummer.
  • Garage Band: Polaris and the Blowholes are seldom seen performing anywhere other than in their garages.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • This little gem:
    Dad (to Little Pete): Pete, we need to have a talk, as father to son.
    Little Pete: Oh, don't worry, Dad. Artie already had that talk with me.
    (Mom faints)
    • The Lyrical Dissonance of "Summerbaby", even if some lines were edited in the TV broadcast: "When I'm alone, I do things that nobody knows"?
  • Let's Duet: Miss Fingerwood (Syd Straw) and Little Pete (Danny Tamberelli) perform one in a similar tune to "Color My World", dedicated to Little Pete's parents. It's quite beautiful too.
  • The Power of Rock: This episode involves using the power of rock to rebuilding a half-remembered Ear Worm song that Little Pete only heard once.
  • Shout-Out: And a Parental Bonus; "A Hard Day's Pete" is a play on the title of The Beatles' film (and accompanying single and soundtrack album) A Hard Day's Night.
  • Technology Marches On: In the years since the episode aired, tracking down the song on the Internet by running a Google search on the lyrics might yield more results than the brute force approach Little Pete is forced to use in this episode (although if the song is performed by a garage band, and you have neither the band name nor the song title to go on, even Google might not be able to help).
  • Tempting Fate: Sure, play with your band until you drop to preserve the few memories you have of the song (in this case, just a single riff), but... did Little Pete seriously expect his parents wouldn't notice the sudden spike in their electricity consumption?
  • Weaksauce Weakness: A single guitar riff is apparently the single best counter to Artie's superpowers.