Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The 6ths - Falling Out of Love (With You)


Day two of Pete & Pete week. This 6ths song is one of my favorites to ever air during the series, yet it was only in one episode, "Das Bus" from season 3. Apart from Polaris, Stephin Merrit has contributed the most to the show's soundtrack, with a total of 5 songs (3 from the Magnetic Fields, 1 from the Gothic Archies and 1 by The 6ths.) Having written an album of 69 love songs as well as a record where every song begins with "I," Stephin Merritt is no stranger to conceptual projects. Also no stranger to irony, Merritt claims he started the 6ths after he noticed that there was no tribute album for himself. All the 6ths songs are thus written and played by him, however each song has a different artist providing the vocals. "Falling Out of Love (With You)" is sung by Dean Wareham, previously of Galaxie 500 and Luna, currently playing with his wife under the moniker Dean & Britta. It's my favorite song by the 6ths, and even one of my favorites of all-time. I cannot recommend this song enough.

The 6ths - Falling Out of Love (With You)

"In an old Silver Line
I was yours, you were mine
I was hoarse, you were mean
We designed drum machines

But every day in every way
I'm falling out of love with you
Every kiss means less and less
I'm falling out of love with you
Every hour kills a flower
I'm falling out of love with you
You just bore me more and more
I'm falling out of love with you

They made sounds much like drums
I was young you were dumb
Now you're older and I'm wiser
We design synthesizers

But every day in every way
I'm falling out of love with you
Every kiss means less and less
I'm falling out of love with you
Every hour kills a flower
I'm falling out of love with you
You just bore me more and more
I'm falling out of love with you"


I'm also including a great article on the show which perfectly summarizes why I love it so much, and feel that it's the best thing ever to grace the television set.

Smiling Strange: The Adventures of Pete and Pete
by Luke Geddes

A superhero in pajamas and horn-rimmed glasses; 12-year-old Pete, tattooed like a sailor; his similarly redheaded brother, also named Pete; a passive-aggressive school bus driver; the metal plate in mom's head; a mysterious costumed ice cream man; Mrs. Blowtard's hypnotic arm flub; the wailing vocals of "Marmalade Cream". Such unique and beautiful imagery may explain why devoted fans have not forgotten The Adventures of Pete and Pete since it first aired on Nickelodeon in 1993. It certainly left an indelible mark in my mind. With seasons one and two already out on DVD, lifelong fans like myself can give the DVD sets to their parents to explain why they turned out to be such warped individuals. The resonance stems from the show's truthful approach to childhood. It's not overtly nostalgic like The Wonder Years, nor is it bitter and cynical like Todd Solondz' Welcome to the Dollhouse. Pete and Pete's depiction of childhood is trumped only by Lynda Barry's Marlys comic strips in terms of being accurate, funny and downright revelatory.

When you watch Pete and Pete, you will be transported to a time when a staring contest is a perfectly legitimate way to settle an argument and a family road trip is no less than an Odyssean journey. The recurring "International Adult Conspiracy" recalls those early feelings of that dichotomy between grownups and kids; their ways were incomprehensibly foreign and superfluous, and vice versa. In one of many shockingly true moments, little Pete interrogates Dad, "So you don't like the taste of coffee, but you drink it anyway?" No other TV show has accomplished such a precise portrayal of childhood, except perhaps The Simpsons (when it used to be good). The definition of wacky, Artie The Strongest Man in the World (Toby Huss, AKA "The Wiz" on that episode of Seinfeld) is what every young viewer expects himself to grow up into. It's heartening to think the program had a small hand in forever subverting its viewers' opinions on our sterile, money-obsessed world.

Though in the tradition of the early-90s fad of "quirky" representations of small town America (stemming from seminal series like Northern Exposure and Twin Peaks), in the creation of enigmatic every-town Wellsville, we have a place like no other. The setting combines a 1950s pastiche with 1990s hipsterism. In Wellsville, the drive-in is still where the teenagers hang out on Friday nights and the REM-esque jangling of Polaris will always be heard from Mrs. Chicutti's garage. Wellsville is viewed through a child's perceptive and mercurial lens. Mundane events like bus rides and shop class are presented as the epical "today's adventure" they actually can be.

Pete and Pete seems shockingly aberrant in that it never condescends to hackneyed moral reasoning or black-and-white explanation —— things unavoidable in today's crop of children's television. Pete and Pete accepts ambiguity, albeit with an exaggerated, very surreal bent. On the commentary track for season one's "Day of the Dot", creators Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi discuss the reasons why important aspects of the show —— why both brothers are named Pete, Wellsville's specific location, the actual names of Mom and Dad —— are left unexplained. "Everything [in TV] seemed so overexplained... the idea was to put some mystery back into kids' life," says McRobb. Director Katherine Dieckmann adds, "those mysteries are part of respecting a kid's POV."
Season two features "Farewell, My Little Viking", possibly the strongest episode of the entire series. In it, Little Pete's personal superhero Artie is run out of town by the International Adult Conspiracy, which is concerned with Artie's unusual lifestyle —— he lives in porta-potty, is in love with the smell of tire air, views slacks as a form of currency and encourages kids to act like kids. The two-part installment serves as a strikingly clever and surprisingly insightful allegory of a child's transition into adolescence, as well as a showcase for the show's zany humor. If your parents were too cheap for cable of if you're just unfamiliar with Pete and Pete, this may be the place to start.

It should be noted that the show had the coolest rock and roll and celebrity guest stars including: Iggy Pop, Adam West, Michael Stipe, Marshall Crenshaw, Debbie Harry of Blondie, Steve Buscemi and even Hunter S. Thompson. And it was all rounded out by a catchy, post-grunge alternative soundtrack of that newly-nostalgic 1990s zeitgeist.


Considering it originally aired on Nickelodeon, The Adventures of Pete and Pete balances quiet subversion and heartfelt schmaltz to a remarkably sophisticated degree. This is children's television too smart for even adult TV. Finally, here I must regretfully note that the third and final season, originally scheduled for February 28th DVD release, has been inexplicably cancelled. However, I can't help but conclude with the most poignant words of Artie, The Strongest Man In The World: PIPE!


Episode 1x03: Nightcrawlers

In this episode Little Pete has had enough of his 9PM bedtime. Using reverse psychology, Mom decides to let Pete stay up as late as he wants. Her plan backfires when Pete decides to one-up her and attempt to beat the world record for sleepless nights, 11 days. One of the series' best.



The 6ths - Wasps' Nests @Amazon.com

The Adventures of Pete & Pete Season 1 DVD
The Adventures of Pete & Pete Season 2 DVD
The Adventures of Pete & Pete Season 3 Petition

7 comments:

Luke said...

Hi there. Love the blog. I'm looking forward to the rest of Pete and Pete week.

Anyway, just wanted to drop a comment because incidentally, I'm the guy who wrote that Pete and Pete review. Glad you liked it.

Nick said...

Wow! I was just watching some old pete and pete episodes on youtube and the like, and thinking about how much I love this song, and how I associate it with the nostalgia of the show--and was thinking of writing a journal entry about that--and then I did a search for the song and look what pops up! Small world.

ShutUpAndPaint said...

I, too, was watching Pete&Pete, but on dvd, and did a search for Artie. I'm thinking of making a screenprint of the strongest man... in the world! I am quite sad that the Nickelodeon Rewind Collection seems hell-bend on NEVER releasing the third season.

Anonymous said...

You know I always thought it was Hunter S. Thompson too, but it isn't unfortunately. How cool would have that been?

subbu said...

Hi,

Loved this post, am a big fan of Pete and Pete..... Artie influenced me in more ways than one :)

We don't get this show in India anymore :(

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, didn't know Toby Huss was also The Wiz!

pepitorevolution said...

Thanks for sharing that kind of videos. I will give a try. I really like dailymotion but I think that best indie video that it was uploaded is the one about generic viagra