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The Genius That Was Pete And Pete (Endless Mike, The Bus Driver, and Everything)

When Pete and Pete first came on, I didn't really like it. I found it hard to identify with any of the characters. Near the end of its run, when some episodes were replayed, I was able to sit down and enjoy some of it. After it was canceled, I realized there was more to it than I originally thought.

Endless Mike — What a cool concept. An individual so powerful, so legendary, that they are endless even when standing right over there. I remember one episode where the older Pete was trying his hand at wrestling, and was ultimately pitted against Endless Mike. That was a threat he wasn't prepared to face, so he desperately tried to lose as much weight as possible. Problem was, Endless Mike followed him down the weight class ladder. Whatever Pete did, Mike went one step further. I think Pete ended up yanking out a molar at one point. Endless Mike gave up a kidney. He was that nuts.

One day when I was channel surfing I saw that Pete and Pete was on. It was an episode in which (I think) older Pete had become the Bus Driver's apprentice. I never really appreciated the Bus Driver until that episode. Even after seeing the one where he almost drove the bus off a cliff with all the kids inside because of a woman, I didn't really "get" him. But then apprentice Pete disobeyed his teacher, and the Bus Driver lost it. He was holding a cake, and a wire whisk, and said something like, "Carrot-top Judas, thou hast forsaken me!!" He started screaming, stabbing the cake until it was a shadow of its former self. Then he went on to hunt down his disrespectful protégé. Simply Awesome.

All the other characters were brilliant in their own right. Artie, The Ice Cream Man, and the rest. I couldn't believe it when I realized that Steve Buscemi had been a guest character in various episodes. That's just one more piece of evidence of the genius that was Pete and Pete.

And the Principal played by Adam West? Years ahead of its time…

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