"The Call" is the third episode of the second season of "The Adventures of Pete & Pete
", and it was written by Tom Hill. It was originally aired on September 18th, 1994.
For 27 years a single payphone on the outskirts of Wellsville has been ringing. And now that same ringing is driving the citizens of Wellsville insane on the hottest day of the year.
Despite trying to avoid the heat, Big Pete ends up in the middle of it and decides to end the madness by finding out just who the call is for.
Meanwhile Little Pete decides to end the madness in his own way: By answering the ringing phone.
"This is 'The Call'. And these are its tropes.":
- The Atoner: At the end, you find out that the call was for Joyce. The clues were there all the time when you realize it wasn't madness what made her be afraid (such as the guilt pangs and skull pains) when she hears a ringing phone, but who also helps out at the Ringing Phone Crisis Center.
- Call Back: It was stated once in the shorts that Joyce likes to help others (such as the police and what not) thanks to picking up the radio signals on her head's metal plate. It shouldn't be that strange she volunteers to help at the Ringing Phone Crisis Center... though this case was significantly different because of the real reason she was working in there.
- The Determinator:
- Big Pete wanted to put the whole Ringing Payphone "curse" to an end, once for all... trying to find out who was the one who was calling to it...
- As usual, little Pete puts his effort to not pass a moment like this where he could be a legend by trying and be direct: answer it.
- What do you call a person who keeps a payphone ringing for 27 years in the hopes that his beloved will answer?
- Did Not Get the Girl: Well, Hub did one phone call to declare his feelings to Joyce when they both were teenagers... however... the fear of her because she knew that the call was for her... she then met Don and had two kids of their own. The love of Hub to his beloved was condemned in the process of 27 years. Joyce loves her family a lot to not abandon them... but then Hub, still devoted to her, will make the phone still ringing as a symbol of true devotion.
- Dwindling Party: A Non-Lethal Variant. Little Pete sets out with all of his friends but loses each of them throughout his quest:
- Carl chickens out and claims there's a force field stopping him, which Nona quickly disaproves (his "superpower" was, well... being a wuss).
- Libby is fame hungry, but the fear overcomes her. Little Pete is slightly more accepting given that she was at least honest.
- Clem and Nona are brave enough, but they both get trapped by the super hot asphalt that makes their shoes stick to the road.
- Artie succumbs to a hallucination.
- Heatwave: Uff... mix the most hot day of the summer with the freaking phone ringing non-stop... no wonder all the people went crazy!
- Little Pete and his friends were completely, severely affected by it at the start. Even Artie was trying to help them to 'make it stop'.
- The asphalt was WAY TOO hot, that shoes got glued to it, and steam came out from it.
- Big Pete decided that it was much more better to stay in the basement because it was much cooler inside.
- Don was trying to fix the stove to don't make it alter his wife.
- Ah, the hallucinations, where Clem was this close to fell for one of them and Artie finally succumbed to another.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: At the end, as a symbol of devotion, Hub wants to keep ringing the payphone for Joyce. Because, well, she is happy with her family.
- Phone Booth: Obviously... and it has a Pay Phone that has been ringing for a long time without no one actually answering... how creepy this could be?
- Also, apparently the real phone booth still exists until this day on its original location in New Jersey.
- Psycho Psychologist: One of the most affected people of Wellsville calls to the help center very worried about the phone... almost if not suicidal... he ended up being a psychiatrist... who ended up a little 'psycho' though very justified, and by helping him, he also helps Pete to figure out who was the one most affected by all: his mom.
- Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: This is what Hub is with Joyce. He even got his phone operator job, to still make the phone ringing for her to pick it up after all that time... even after she got married and had kids. Also, notoriously is a bit jealous of Don, to remotely don't care of him, at first.
- Urban Legend: The payphone had been ringing for almost 3 decades, so, it was obvious that there would be several made making it almost too spooky, or too supernatural for its existence in Wellsville. One of them resulted in being that the other voice in the line would tell you the exact time of your death.
- World Gone Mad: Wellsville becomes this thanks to the effects of both the heatwave and the phone ringing to the point where there's a neighbor in a cowboy outfit trying to lasso his lawmower and Mailwoman McGuinty spins around in a playground trying to escape Earth's gravitational pull (which she was successing until Ellen and big Pete arrive at the scene to stop her).