Recap / Pete and Pete S2 E5 "Time Tunnel"

"Time Tunnel" is the fifth episode of the second season of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, written by Will McRobb. It originally aired on October 2nd, 1994.

The end of Daylight Savings Time is a huge deal for some people, as it means summer is finally ending and autumn is just beginning.

And it's a huge deal for both Wrigley brothers this year, because both of them want to take advantage of the "time warp" it produces: the extra hour DST gives when it ends. Little Pete wants to be prepared for that exciting moment and become a legend as a "time traveller". For Big Pete, it's a whole different situation, mostly because he is already realizing that he is not a kid anymore, and he wants to know exactly where his "relationship" with his best friend, Ellen Hickle, is going. She was always a girl, and his friend... but is she his girlfriend?

Disappointed by his older brother succumbing to his hormones, Little Pete recruits the help of his best friend, Nona Mecklenberg, to prepare for the epic moment of the extra hour.

In the meantime Big Pete sets up a date with Ellen, and asks his friends and even Bus Driver Stu help him decide how to behave around her...

...little knowing that both his and his brother's paths into the past and the future are on a collision course thanks to a common denominator called 'Endless' Mike Hellstrom.

Endless Mike is delighted that his nemesis is growing up and, as well as agreeing to lend his customized Ford Mustang, he also shares some secrets to make the date go more smoothly. Big Pete is in heaven, everything was perfect. Way too perfect to know if he and Ellen deserved to be with each other. Meanwhile, Little Pete and Nona are pulled down on their bikes by Endless Mike, and Little Pete plots the "perfect" revenge against his nemesis to coincide with his journey through time.

The final destination? A drive-in theater.

The reuslt? A complete disaster date. And the perfect revenge on Endless Mike.

But Daylight Savings Time has yet to do its magic, and while the last thing for Little Pete is to run against time to an angry Endless Mike, it's also big Pete's opportunity to fix things with Ellen before their friendship is lost forever.

At the end, both brothers get what they want: Little Pete becomes a legend (and is immortalized in one of those mobile novelty pens), while Big Pete gets a better friendship with Ellen.

"This is 'Time Tunnel'. And these are its tropes.":

  • Adorkable: Big Pete nervously asking Ellen out, and Ellen nervously (but happily) accepting. Pete is also asking her from atop a giant tree that gives no clear indication how he got up there in the first place.
  • Answer Cut: When Big Pete narrates that with time dwindling on his awful date, there was only one thing left to do:
    (cut to Pete hitting the special "go" button that instantly drops Ellen out of sight, her seat completely horizontal)
  • Bad Date: It ends up as a complete disaster, threatening big Pete's friendship with Ellen.
  • Better as Friends: Ellen thinks this is probably their fate after their terrible date, but in true Pete & Pete form, by the end of the episode, it's all up in the air ambiguously after they kiss goodnight, never to be resolved.
  • Big "NO!": Endless Mike when his family's home movies with him as an infant are shown, featuring fat toddler Mike on a baby commode.
  • Call-Back: To the original Opening Narration of the 60-second shorts, where Ellen introduced herself as Big Pete's girlfriend and then he insisted that she was only a friend. The show also starts with a brief montage of all their Ship Tease moments from the series.
  • The Cameo: Abilene Jones, the drive-in film operator, is played by Ellen Greene.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Big Pete turns into this on the date, which rubs Ellen the wrong way.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "go" button in Mike's car.
  • Drive-In Theater: The location of this particular episode. It was also the first location shoot for the series outside New Jersey.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Little Pete and Nona go to the Hellstroms' house to pick up a box containing irrefutable proof that Endless Mike used to be a kid. A big, fat kid, but a kid nonetheless. He ends up being publicly ashamed when home movies feature infant Mike is projected onto the screen of the drive-in theatre in front of Big Pete and Ellen.
  • Enemy Mine: Big Pete is not overly trusting of Endless Mike for good reason, but he does need a car for his date. Mike is surprisingly helpful, but only so he can peep in on Pete embarrassing himself.
  • Everyone Can See It: From Bill and Teddy... to Bus Driver Stu... to Endless Mike... everyone knew that one day Big Pete and Ellen would go on at least one date.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The whole use of Endless Mike's car as a "love cocoon", and his tips of a 'date'- "No fog, no fun!"
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Overly confident from Endless Mike's date advice, Big Pete turns into a lech and angers Ellen. Being himself and apologizing for his idiocy on their walk home turns out much better.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Big Pete and Ellen. The whole plot of the episode plays on the idea of 'will they or won't they', because they have been friends for most of their lives. And they want to remain Just Friends... although after the kiss in the end of the episode, we can only wonder if they remain as such. However, Negative Continuity and the Relationship Reset Button comes into play, as the series' writers didn't do much further exploration of the idea of Big Pete and Ellen as a potential couple in future episodes.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Bus Driver Stu Benedict, of course!
  • Master of the Mixed Message: When their date ends terribly, Ellen suggests that they're probably Better as Friends. Then when parting goodnight with their friendship repaired, she kisses him.
  • Running Gag: Stu breaks up with Sally. Again. Over nothing. Again.
  • Serious Business: The Wrigleys think that Daylight Savings Time is serious stuff. It helps to fix past mistakes before it's too late.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Wrigleys take the extra hour of time literally, which gives Big Pete a chance to rectify his behavior towards Ellen.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ellen when she finds out about Endless Mike's advice for their date.
  • Yawn and Reach: Big Pete takes almost an hour to summon up the courage to try this; as soon as he makes contact with Ellen's shoulder, she squirms away and sends him to the concession stand.