Recap: Pete and Pete S2 E12 "Yellow Fever"
"It's more than a school bus..."
"It's more than a school bus. On long rides, it becomes a giant incubator, filled with the churning psyches of forty-eight kids. Inside, a kind of... chemical reaction takes place. People change. Friends become enemies. Enemies become friends. And a class trip becomes a journey into the darkest recesses of your own soul.
And with those words begins "Yellow Fever", an episode filled with betrayal, misunderstanding, manipulation, love lost, and ear flicking.
Our journey begins with a briefing from Ms. Jerpoozy, who goes on at length about field trip rules as our protagonists are about to embark on a trip to the Gulch County Milk Museum. The number one rule is that no one is allowed to sing "If You're Happy and You Know It", as it's disturbing to their bus driver, Stu Benedict. It had been his favorite song, shared with him by fellow driver Sally Knorp, who—of course—has dumped him. Again.
Okay, sure, he's fairly calm this time around, but he's nearing his breaking point.
Meanwhile, someone's left Ellen a love letter promising to reveal themselves by sitting next to her on the way over, and it's bugging Big Pete for some reason even he can't put his finger on.
Big Pete, in spite of his better instincts, suddenly becomes a Jerk Ass
with regards to Ellen's secret admirer, taking the seat next to her and teasing her over the letter.
And then there's Mark Twib
, the local bully magnet, with his insanely flickable ears. And Wendell Hyde, who wants to sing for special events. Della Sum, meanwhile, has bus-ride-induced bladder issues, Teddy is determined not to finish his lunch during the ride, and Bill develops an instinct for practical joking—he hangs a sign on the window of the bus reading "Help! Being kidnapped! Call police!" Guess how long it takes for the bus to get pulled over.
Bus Driver Stu's story checks out, but to make sure he's fit to drive the cops put Stu through all sorts of coordination tests. As Big Pete congratulates Bill on a successful prank, Ellen calls Pete on being an asshole, even saying she wouldn't be surprised if he started picking on Mark Twib next.
Stu passes his tests and reboards the bus in a particularly foul mood, sending Big Pete to the back of the bus for arguing. He is greeted with open arms by Endless Mike
, as to Pete's shock Bill takes the seat next to Ellen. Tensions begin to run high, as Della's bladder has set the bus two hours behind schedule, and to top it off Bus Driver Stu is horribly lost—he even passes by street signs entirely in Spanish and Korean. As he stops to ask a farmer for directions, only to find out that he's just a scarecrow, Ellen finds out that Bill has absolutely no knowledge of the love letter and only sat with Ellen for the hell of it. Big Pete doesn't know this, of course, and with a little convincing from Endless Mike he decides to get revenge on Bill for stabbing him in the back. Pete puts some mentholated warm lather (undetectable to human touch, painful when exposed to a popped zit) on Bill's hand and then gets Bill to touch his face, sending him into a world of pain. Mike, Pete and their crew celebrate by pouring four whole bottles of soda pop down the aisles of the bus, causing all their classmates to have to get out and pee.
Ellen and Big Pete get into a big fight, and Endless Mike congratulates him on taking down Bill, asking him what he has in mind to piss off Ellen. Pete remembers Ellen's earlier suggestion that he'd turned into the sort of creep who'd flick Mark Twib's ears, and does that. Twib turns around and is confused to see Pete is the one who did it, and Ellen declares that she's never talking to him again.
Once back on the bus, Twib decides to exact his revenge upon his classmates, by singing "If You're Happy and You Know It". Stu seems fine, though, as he starts happily singing along...and then dancing through the aisles. With the bus moving. Towards a cliff face. Only one man can save them now!
Unfortunately, Wendell Hyde's Chekhov's Skill
is ultimately useless
, as trying to change the song does absolutely nothing. Stu just keeps dancing to "If You're Happy". It's only the cry of "NO ONE'S DRIVING THE BUS!" that finally makes Stu's senses—or something approximating them—return to him, and he hits the brakes just in time to save them all.
They finally show up at the Milk Museum, which looks suspiciously like a farm, as an outraged Ms. Jerpoozy demands to know who sang that song, and says the culprit will receive an F on the project and four weeks detention. (How she knows it was sung is never explained.) Big Pete takes the hit, feeling horribly guilty, and is told to sit on the bus for the entirety of the trip. Endless Mike kicks him out of his gang. When Pete apologizes to Mark, Mark reveals that he sent the love letter, and decides to let Pete and Ellen figure out where they stand before trying again. Pete apologizes to Bill, who accepts, but not before slapping a kick-me sign on Pete's back. Ellen and Pete make up as well, and she decides to sit on the bus with him while the rest of the class tours the museum.
"This is 'Yellow Fever'. And these are its tropes.":
- Absentee Actor: Understandably, Little Pete isn't in this one, as the field trip plot is already fairly loaded with subplots.
- Berserk Button: "If You're Happy and You Know It" for Stu.
- Break the Cutie: Poor Mark Twib. Stu may also qualify.
- Blatant Lies: After Stu beats the hell out of the scarecrow in a fit of rage.
"Everything's a-OK. Fine."
- Call Back: To the shorts, as well as "Time Tunnel", when Endless Mike calls Ellen Pete's girlfriend, and Pete starts his "She's a girl and she's my friend, but she's not my girlfriend" line before Mike cuts him off.
- Covered in Gunge: "The International Creamed Corn Expo" mentioned in the cold open.
- Deadpan Snarker: Stu on occasion.
Della: (after peeing in some bushes) Finished.
Stu: Finished? Are you certain? Couldn't there be some spot of condensation, some dew perhaps, floating inside your body?
- Everyone Is a Suspect: Who wrote the love letter—Teddy? Bill? Wendell Hyde? Endless Mike, Pete's archnemesis? Or Mark Twib?
- Evil Feels Good: Big Pete mentions this in narration as he's about to prank Bill.
- Feel No Pain: Real Life example according to the DVD commentary: when Bus Driver Stu throws down the pitchfork inside the bus, Damien Young gashed his hand just out of frame, but finished his lines without reacting.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Endless Mike spilling soda down the aisles, getting everyone's shoes wet and causing Della to get into "pee mode". According to the DVD Commentary, Nickelodeon had a limit to what they could show as bullying acts, so...this was all they could come up with.
- Fridge Logic: Bill didn't have any popped zits. Why was the lather so painful?
- Funny Background Event: The "grueling coordination tests" and Stu beating the crap out of an "unhelpful" scarecrow can be seen through the windows of the bus during the scenes after the gag set-up.
- G-Rated Drug: Bill's home-blended armpit powder. He uses a sodium-benzoate base. It's white, powdery, and he sniffs it. Does This Remind You of Anything??
- Kick the Dog: Ellen thinks Pete has crossed the moral event horizon when he flicks poor Twibb's ear because Evil Feels Good. Mark Twibb is stunned and shocked by this, while Ellen (overcranked) says, "I'll never talk to you again!"
- Left the Background Music On: Wendell Hyde sings us out as the credits roll.
- Long List: Stu's list of new bus rules go on while Pete and Endless Mike get re-acquainted in the back seat (not like that!), and the scene cuts back to Stu finishing up his last item: "Students will chip in for gas."
- Love Letter Lunacy: Ellen gets a love letter sent to her, much to Pete's chagrin.
- Memetic Mutation: "Passengers will refrain from KILLING MY SOUL!"
- Nice Hat: Ellen sports a rather stylish one in this episode, which the crew on the DVD commentary loves on her.
- The Nicknamer: Endless Mike. Big Pete is "carrot head" and Bill is "that corndog creep." (Bill's last name is Korn.)
- Oh, Crap: Pete's face when Twib starts singing. Mike, by comparison, is relatively calm—and then Stu starts dancing through the aisles.
- Operation Jealousy: After Ellen finds out Bill, who's sitting next to her, didn't send her the note, she still wants to get into Pete's head about it, so she puts her arm around Bill and looks right at Pete.
- Overcrank: Ellen's "I'm never talking to you again" gets this, for some reason.
- Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: With Pete's Evil Feels Good appreciation of Endless Mike, and Ellen fed up with Pete's annoyance over the love letter and his bullying antics, both call the friendship over after one too many arguments. The Power of Friendship prevails in the end, of course.
- The Reveal: Mark Twib sent the letter.
- Shout-Out: DELLA!...DELLA!
- Shrinking Violet: Apparently Wendell Hyde is usually one of these, except on the bus, where he rivals only Ellen as the personification of Fleeting Passionate Hobbies. In this episode, he wants to sing at weddings and Bar mitzvahs.
- Snap Back: Wasn't Big Pete and Ellen's Will They or Won't They? resolved, like, seven episodes ago?
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Wendell singing an upbeat Bar mitzvah song about becoming a man in the background of a montage illustrating how all of the main cast have regressed into nasty, childish behavior.
- Understatement: Most of Stu's dialogue. "I am exceedingly not pleased!"