Viewers who want TV episodes about Christmas obviously have many, many choices. And there were enough Simpsons Halloween episodes for FXX to devote an entire marathon to them. But there are other, equally important annual occasions that have not inspired nearly as many sitcom episodes, like the end of daylight saving time. Fortunately, it only takes one show to make a definitive, lasting statement about such a topic, rendering any future such episodes unnecessary. Case in point: Nickelodeon’s The Adventures Of Pete And Pete and its October 1994 episode, “Time Tunnel,” which is conveniently (and probably illegally) available for viewing on YouTube, albeit cut into pieces. Written by series creators Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, “Time Tunnel” makes daylight saving time an integral part of its plot while also telling a fully realized, character-driven story. McRobb and Viscardi take ingenious advantage of the fact that turning back the clock gives people the extremely rare opportunity to travel back in time and live one hour of their lives over again. The mood is set with a voice-over monologue from Mike Maronna’s Big Pete:
There comes that terrible moment every year when daylight saving time ends. Some rat fink takes away that extra hour, and your fading memories of summer finally disappear. Some people get sad, but not my brother Pete. He knows that on that famous, hour-sucking day, you get to time travel.
From there, the show presents a poignant story about Big Pete trying too hard to advance his previously platonic relationship with Ellen (Alison Fanelli) while simultaneously growing apart from his romance-resistant younger brother (Danny Tamberelli). This being Pete And Pete, the episode provides plenty of kitschy Americana as well, including drive-in movies, sliding pens, bumper stickers, coin-op horsey rides, and breakfast cereals packed with riboflavin. “Time Tunnel” is deserving of being trotted out each year to commemorate the bittersweet end of daylight saving.