“The Good, The Bad, And The Lucky” (season 3, episode 3; originally aired October 15, 1995)
Let me say right up front that I have never seen Stand By Me. It’s a cardinal sin of ’80s kid-dom, I know, but it’s the truth, and thus I might not have the same take on “The Good, The Bad, And The Lucky” that very serious Jerry O’Connell fans might, but them’s the breaks. Ultimately, the episode should be able to stand on its own either way, and not just as a companion piece to an unrelated film.
The thing is, “The Good, The Bad, And The Lucky” is just an okay episode. It has its high points, but it’s also not all there. The plot and the ultimate “message” that friends are what make you lucky (gag) are fine, but not as sharp or with it as previous episodes of The Adventures Of Pete And Pete. Pit Stain, this season’s epic villain, is perfectly adequate, but not great. Eric Kushnick, the actor who played Pit Stain, is no Rick Gomez, either, but then who is? That’s probably why “Endless Mike” has gone on to major motion pictures and Kushnick played “Graduate #4” on an episode of Becker.
There are definite bright spots to “The Good, The Bad, And The Lucky” though, like Bus Driver Stu Benedict’s two appearances, once to explain what a penny on a track does to a train—allegedly—and once to save Little Pete from getting yet another Pit Stain beatdown.
That’s another thing: Artie’s gone and Little Pete needs to fight his own battles, but it’s kind of disconcerting to see the Little Viking getting sucker punched over and over again. The plot of the episode is that Pete’s lost his luck—thus the bunk-bed collapse, outbreak of back hair, and sad bird-poop-on-head incident—but getting punched is just too much. The Little Pete that viewers (and Artie) knew in season two could stand up for himself, luck or no. He didn’t need Stu Benedict to bail him out of a scrape. Rather, he’d do it with wit and gumption, not with Krebscout Monica’s Viper pocketknife or a stupid lucky penny.
Plenty of people prefer season three over the other two seasons (TV Club Editor Todd VanDerWerff included). I just don’t thus far, though. I hope it proves me wrong as I venture toward episodes that I don’t remember well, like this one. I read somewhere, though, that season three was kind of a throwaway, that Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, the show’s creators, thought they’d be cancelled after season two and that thus they blew the whole thing out and then were left with fewer, lesser ideas. I don’t know if that’s true, and you know, I’ll check, but that’s kind of how it seems to me. I want to be proven wrong, though. I hope that’s possible even with a show that’s 17-odd years old now.
- Little Pete exclamation of the week: “Bite me sideways!”
- This is a good episode for Nona-isms. She performs a Pagan ritual in an epic hat and lucky smock when the penny is placed on the tracks, says her burps taste like hot dogs, and tells Monica that the yellow candies on her lucky necklace “taste like summer.”
- This episode also marks the introduction of Wayne “The Pain” Pardue, who does not, in fact, wear a Giants jersey as I previously stated. It actually looks like a Houston Oilers jersey, but it’s probably just some random shirt, given the NFL’s general shittiness when it comes to licensing. Wayne’s catch phrase, for the record, is “Super Genius.” It’s also worth noting here that, as fans who were at the NYC reunion can attest, Justin Restivo, who played Wayne “The Pain” has aged quite well and does not, thank God, look exactly like that kid anymore.
- Pit Stain’s sidekicks are Hairnet and Drawstring.
- Joyce Wrigley goes to The Platesmith in Glurt County to get her metal plate repaired.