When the showrunners were originally casting for Ellen, the only actor who ended up fitting the role was Alison Fanelli. She had never acted before, but she was cheerful—compared to the plain other girls who were auditioning for the role—and she had dressed a little "geekier" than everyone else who had auditioned.
Also, Danny Tamberelli. Often in the reunions, the creators have mentioned that when they were shooting the first short, they were incredibly worried of having a child buried up until the neck (it makes sense in context, little Pete was in a bet with his brother and Ellen about what would he do for a dollar). But at the end of it, he just thought that the whole experience was awesome. They realized that this kid was quite energetic and would accept every single weird thing they would think up for him.
Michael Maronna cut his hair before the end of the shooting of the final episode. His haircut was worked into the episode's plot.
New Jersey Doubling: A few small towns in the area were used for the filming. The series proper used three different houses for the Wrigleys: Season 1's was in Leonia, Season 2 moved to South Orange, and Season 3 moved to Cranford. This explains why you could sometimes see NJ Transit buses despite the show never identifying the state in which Wellsville was located. A fan has made a Google Map Layer detailing all the known filming locations.
Dawson Casting: Averted. The actors continually grew up with the characters from the beginning in 1988 all the way to 1996.
Played-straight examples, however, can sometimes be found in the cameos. For example, Selma Blair was 24 when she played a teenager in a Catholic School during one episode.
A reverse case in "Dance Fever": Larissa Oleynik, who was a teenager at the time, played a nurse.
Edited for Syndication: Once Nickelodeon picked up the series and finally made it into half-hour episodes, the previously-aired specials were re-edited into standard episodes to fill a full season order of 13 episodes. They needed to add the Title Sequence, the "Hey Sandy" song, but that also meant the episodes needed re-scoring with the standard cues. The most jarring example was "How We Spent Our Summer Vacation". Katherine Dieckmann, the director of that particular episode, agrees that it destroyed part of the special.
Popularity Redo: The show began as a series of advertisements for Nickelodeon before becoming a series proper. Many of the one-minute shorts were expanded or reworked into half-hour episodes throughout the actual series.
McRobb and Viscardi cast Damian Young (Bus Driver Stu) in their show The War Next Door, as well as the film Snow Day, which was originally proposed as a Pete & Pete movie (see What Could Have Been, below). Bob Mittenthal, who wrote a couple of episodes and was one of the driving forces behind Nick during the era—having started as a producer on Double Dare (1986)—went on to co-create KaBlam! with McRobb and Viscardi. By a startling coincidence, Rick Gomez ("Endless" Mike) was cast in KaBlam! for one of their regular shorts, Sniz and Fondue, without any of the three knowing about it until production began.
Also, surprisingly, Scrubs. Several longtime members of Pete & Pete's production crew ended up working on the show, including P&P's director of photography Michael Spillman, who would direct over a dozen Scrubs episodes. David Martel, the actor who played Teddy on P&P, also had a couple of bit roles sprinkled throughout. And when you consider how much of the show's style is eerily reminiscent of P&P—including the first-person narration with ending realization, the absurdist humor and characters, and an emphasis on music—it is almost an adult Spiritual Successor.
Schedule Slip: Season 3 suffered badly from this when it was being aired. How can it be that half of a season would have been slipping away from late-1995 to late-1996 (the first episode of the season was aired on October 1st, 1995... the last episode of the series was originally aired on December 28th, 1996!)?
Nickelodeon messed up a lot with the show during Season 3. Viscardi and McRobb once said that while it was hard to get them to pick it for a third season, as the series didn't exactly have strong ratings (compared to monsters like The Ren & Stimpy Show and The Secret World of Alex Mack), the guys at Nick loved the show and greenlit it. But the discrepancy between the original airings of the mid-season episodes must mean something (hopping from November 1995 to March 1996 and from April 1996 to November 1996)...
And then we have Screwed by the Parent Company of the Network. When Viacom shifted around some key executives at Nickelodeon, it did more than separate the friendly relationship of Viacom and CBS—it eventually resulted in several "Rewind" DVD releases being postponed and eventually cancelled, which included the DVD release for this show's third and final season. This forms the basis of an in-joke between the creators and cast that Viacom must have the DVDs in a warehouse around New York or New Jersey. Everything was ready to be released—audio commentaries and some extras had all been prepared, as had been an official DVD cover—until the plug was pulled.
Sunday Midday Death Slot: The series had an unusual schedule. Around its peak, it was aired at Saturday night alongside other SNICK series. But it was eventually moved into 1 PM in a Sunday? It seems like the series ended in a non-existent schedule for the channel.
Unintentional Period Piece: The show never addressed any current events or sociopolitical issues of the time, but the blatantly '90s fashions and soundtracks make the time period very obvious.
If the movie script would have been picked up, it would have been the first Nickelodeon movie produced, instead of Harriet the Spy, starring P&P alumna Michelle Trachtenberg.
Viscardi and McRobb pitched the script of the movie around the time that production of the final season was wrapping up (1995). The executives liked it, but after a time, it was obvious that they lost interest in it and shelved it, being pretty sure the series would have been forgotten after a certain point.
There's also the story that when the script was pitched, there was a re-shuffle at the top at Viacom, causing the project to be shelved for four to six years.
By the time the script was picked up again, the original actors were clearly older than they were when the series ended.note Michael Maronna would have been 20-21, and looked almost the same, but the same could not be said for Danny Tamberelli, since he was 16-17 already, and most of the other kids had also changed noticeably. So Nick executives asked for rewrites to change the script from using established characters to original ones, although it is easy to see who would have been who. The spirit of the show was still in there, though—not only was the film's director a veteran from the television series, but Iggy Pop and Chris Elliot also landed roles.
Word of Saint Paul: As mentioned on the main page under Indecipherable Lyrics, there are several Wild Mass Guesses about the third line in the show's opening theme song, "Hey Sandy". Neither Viscardi nor McRobb have any idea of what the line really says, the DVDs subtitles are not correct, and the only one who could know for sure—Mark Mulcahy—has never revealed it. In an AMA done in Reddit several years ago, Danny Tamberelli (Little Pete) claimed that the line could be "Can you settle a sure bet?"; he has also sung that lyric when performing a cover of the song during one of the show reunions. That line would make sense, as it properly fits the song's rhyme scheme, but it is still only his interpretation.