“On Golden Pete” (season 2, episode 9; originally aired 11/6/1994)
I, like most of the world, eat meat. That’s not to say that I don’t quibble with the idea of cows getting their brains blown out with an airgun or chickens shitting on each other before having their heads cut off, but, hey—just don’t think about that, right?
“On Golden Pete” is about that idea. Granted, it’s not about PETA-slogan-screaming, paint-throwing food revolutionaries, but rather the idea that it’s not necessarily okay to kill something just because you want to. That might seem a little “duh” to us smart, upstanding adults, but for kids and budding sociopaths, melting slugs, burning ants, and poking dead squirrels with sticks seems like a heck of a good time.
It’s a tough line to draw, though. I grew up fishing Lake Erie with my whole family, and I do it to this day. I enjoy the fruits of our boating labors whenever I eat perch or walleye, and I could probably clean a fish if it really came down to it. That being said, I’ve never wanted to mount one of those fish on my wall or shoot a deer just to watch the life run out of its eyes. Taxidermy seems awesome, especially in large quantities like in the shop scene in “On Golden Pete,” but if you actually sit down to think about it, killing something just to make it look alive is, well, a little macabre.
That’s what Big Pete realizes early on in this episode highlighting his dad’s quest for Bob, a striped bass that’s been lurking in the depths of Lake Torgeson for 15 years. It takes Little Pete, “The Fishstalker,” a little longer to figure that out, but eventually the idea of this proud—if fish can be proud—creature being cut open, having his guts yanked out, and being dunked in shellac, just to be put in one of three lifelike poses (“ready for action,” “fighting mad,” or “immortality”) for display warms Little Pete to his brother’s cause.
Big Pete does everything in his power to keep Don from the fish, short of actually telling him that he objects outright. Don’s always counted on Big Pete, as evident by his gift of a pocket knife with 10 attachments including a pizza cutter and a blow gun, and engraved with a message: “Iay ancay ountcay onay ouya,” or “I can count on you” in Pig Latin. As the older son, Pete’s responsible for big kid things like keeping the lawn perfectly flat while Little Pete can spend his time launching himself into a geosynchronous orbit.
Big Pete tries to talk sense into his dad, but eventually has to resort to devious tactics like burning his fishing license and calling the park ranger—played by New York Doll David Johansen—on him. Those two somehow bond over Bob and hot lather, so that backfires. Pete brings his mom on the boat, as her metal plate will interfere with Dad’s Krebstar Bassbuster 2000. Don catches on and leaves Pete on shore. Eventually, Pete just sacrifices himself for Bob, and Don finds himself outnumbered. Bob—if he’s even still alive, given the fact that freshwater fish usually don’t live longer than 12 years—will live to swim another day.
- Little Pete insult of the week: “Read it and weep, fungus lick.”
- Mom is going for her lumberjack-equivalency diploma.
- The old crazy man still makes me want to barf every time I see him drink his tobacco spit cup. If there’s a more gag-worthy image than that, I’m not sure what it is.
- I look forward to reading in the comments how this episode was shot. Was it done on another boat, looking at the Wrigley’s on theirs? On a swim platform or something? This is advanced stuff for Pete And Pete, right?