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15 People Who Guest Starred on Pete & Pete

If Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a way station for future stars on the road to fame, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, which ran from 1993 to 1996, was more of a fun side gig for those who had already made it. Below are 15 famous folks that you probably forgot guest starred on the Nickelodeon series. (Or had no idea guest starred, because you were in elementary school when the show premiered.)

1. Steve Buscemi

The future Boardwalk Empire star had a recurring role as Mr. Hickle, dad of Big Pete’s best friend Ellen, and appeared in three episodes: 1993's "Apocalypse Pete," 1994's "X=Why?" and 1996's "Space, Geeks, and Johnny Unitas." At the time, Buscemi was already an established indie movie star, who had risen to fame playing Mr. Pink in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 film, Reservoir Dogs.

2. LL Cool J

In Season Two, Episode 10, Little Pete decides to fake a case of food poisoning, and the grownups at his school—including his homeroom teacher, played by LL Cool J—act like they won the lottery. By the time he appeared on the show in 1994, the rapper (real name: James Todd Smith) was a multi-platinum selling artist, widely considered to be one of hip-hop's first acts to cross into the mainstream.

3. Richard Edson 

Character actor Edson, who has more than 100 credits to his name, was also Sonic Youth’s first drummer. To young audiences watching 1993's "Valentine's Day Massacre," in which older Pete develops a crush on his math teacher, he was just a wacky janitor, but at the time, grownups watching probably recognized him as Vito from 1989's Do the Right Thing and the parking garage attendant from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

4. Chris Elliott 

The Saturday Night Live and Groundhog Day star played a meter man who can see the future. In 1994's "Sick Day," he swings by the Wrigleys' house to get a reading and comments on the Eisenhower marshmallow stuck up younger Pete’s nose.

5. Gordon Gano

A singer and guitarist for the Violent Femmes, Gano guested as a teacher at Ellen and Big Pete’s high school in 1994's "X=Why?" Gano's big break had happened more than a decade earlier with the release of the Violent Femmes' self-titled album. That record included a little tune called "Blister in the Sun."

6. Janeane Garofalo

Garofalo also appeared in "X=Why?," as an English teacher who calls Steve Buscemi—er, Mr. Hickle—in a rage after Ellen asks her why they they have to learn "any of this stuff." Like Elliott, Garofalo was already a pretty well-respected comedian. She had starred on The Ben Stiller Show, and would join Saturday Night Live and appear in Reality Bites the same year her Pete & Pete episode aired.

7. Debbie Harry

The '70s rock legend and Blondie frontwoman pops up as one of the Wrigley family’s neighbors in 1993's "New Year's Pete." Big and Little Pete try to convince her to let them sweep her yard for land mines.

8. Patty Hearst

While their parents are out of town in 1996's "35 Hours," Pete and Pete accidentally sell their house to John Waters pal, Cry-Baby star, and kidnapping victim Patty Hearst. Oops.

9. Luscious Jackson

If the band on stage at younger Pete’s middle school dance looked familiar, that’s because they were ‘90s alt-rockers Luscious Jackson. Although their biggest hit, "Naked Eye," was still a year away at the time of their 1996 "Dance Fever" cameo, the group had already appeared at Lollapalooza, been featured on the Clueless soundtrack, and were musical guests on Saturday Night Live and House of Style. (Fun fact: Member Kate Schellenbach was the original drummer for the Beastie Boys.)

10. John McLaughlin

When Dad's bowling ball is up for grabs, the uncompromising political commentator, playing himself, shows up to voice his support for Big Pete’s bid in 1994's "When Petes Collide." It makes sense, given that McLaughlin had been tackling the important issues of the day on his show, The McLaughlin Group, since 1982.

11. Bebe Neuwirth

The Broadway star and Cheers alumna—she played Frasier's wife, Dr. Lilith Sternin—was featured in two episodes, 1994's "The Call" and "Sick Day," as an observant Wellsville mail carrier, who keeps a recorder with her at all times in order to take note of the things she sees on her route. 

12. Kate Pierson

Pierson, singer for the B-52s, has a cameo as an eccentric millionaire who helps the boys figure out what happened to Mr. Tastee in 1993's "What We Did On Our Summer Vacation." Offscreen, Pierson and her band were credited with helping start rock's new wave movement. In fact, in a 1980 interview with Rolling Stone, John Lennon says the group's hit "Rock Lobster" inspired him to get back in the studio.

13. Iggy Pop 

The legendary punk rocker appears in several episodes as James “Pop” Mecklenburg—dad to the cast-wearing Nona, who is Little Pete’s best friend. The Stooges frontman (and pal of David Bowie) was featured in 1994's "Halloweenie" and "Farewell, My Little Viking," 1995's "Road Warrior," and 1996's "Dance Fever."

14. Michael Stipe

After Mr. Tastee disappears, R.E.M.’s Stipe plays a cranky old fisherman peddling sludgesicles to the children of Wellsville in 1993's "What We Did On Our Summer Vacation." At the time, his band was enjoying massive critical and commercial success, thanks to 1991's Out of Time and 1992's Automatic for the People.

15. Adam West

Exhibit 489809 that Pete & Pete was the coolest show ever: Batman played Little Pete’s killjoy principal in 1995's "Last Laugh" and "Allnighter." 

All images courtesy of Nickelodeon. 

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Barbie Is Now Giving Coding Lessons
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Tynker

Mattel wants to help 10 million kids learn to code by 2020, and the toy giant is enlisting one of its most career-focused assets: Barbie. According to Engadget, Mattel is working with the coding education company Tynker to make seven Barbie-themed computer programming lessons.

Barbie has been a pilot, an architect, the president, and a computer engineer, so there may be no better character to teach kids the joys of coding. The lessons, arriving in summer 2018, will be designed for youngsters in kindergarten and up, and will teach Barbie-lovers more than just how to make apps. They’ll use Barbie’s many careers—which also included veterinarian, robotics engineer, and astronaut—as a way to guide kids through programming concepts.

An illustration depicts Barbie and her friends surrounded by cats and dogs and reads 'Barbie: Pet Vet.'

A screenshot of a Barbie coding lesson features a vet's office full of pets.

There are plenty of new initiatives that aim to teach kids how to code, from a Fisher-Price caterpillar toy to online games featuring Rey from Star Wars. This is the third partnership between Mattel and Tynker, who have already produced programming lessons using Hot Wheels and Monster High.

Kindergarten may seem a little soon to set kids on a career path as a computer programmer, but coding has been called “the most important job skill of the future,” and you don’t need to work for Google or Facebook to make learning it worthwhile. Coding can give you a leg up in applying for jobs in healthcare, finance, and other careers outside of Silicon Valley. More importantly for kids, coding games are fun. Who wouldn’t want to play Robotics Engineer Barbie?

[h/t Engadget]

All images by Tynker

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15 Educational Facts About Old School
DreamWorks
DreamWorks

Old School starred Luke Wilson as Mitch Martin, an attorney who—after catching his girlfriend cheating, and through some real estate and bitter dean-related circumstances—becomes the leader of a not-quite-official college fraternity. Along with his fellow thirtysomething friends Bernard (Vince Vaughn) and newlywed Frank (Will Ferrell), they end up having to fight for their right to maintain their status as a party-loving frat on campus.

The film, which was released 15 years ago today, marked Vaughn’s return to major comedies and Ferrell’s first major starring role after seven years on Saturday Night Live. Here are some facts about the movie for everyone, but particularly for my boy, Blue.

1. THE IDEA ORIGINATED WITH AN AD GUY.

Writer-director Todd Phillips was talking to a friend of his from the advertising industry named Court Crandall one day. Crandall had seen and enjoyed Phillips's movie Frat House (1998) and told his director buddy, “You know what would be funny is a movie about older guys who start a fraternity of their own.” After being told by Phillips to write it, he presented Phillips with a “loose version” of the finished product.

2. SOME OF THE FRAT SHENANIGANS WERE REAL.

While Crandall received the story credit for Old School, Phillips and Scot Armstrong received the credit for writing the script. Armstrong put his own college fraternity experiences into the script. “We were in Peoria, Illinois, so it was up to us to entertain ourselves," Armstrong shared in the movie's official production notes. "A lot of ideas for Old School came from things that really happened. When it was cold, everyone would go stir crazy and it inspired some moments of brilliance. Of course, my definition of ‘brilliance' might be different from other people's.”

3. IVAN REITMAN HELPED OUT.

Ivan Reitman, director of Stripes and Ghostbusters, was an executive producer on the film. Phillips and Armstrong wrote and rewrote every day for two months at Reitman’s house, an experience Phillips described as comedy writing “boot camp.”

4. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT VINCE VAUGHN.

Vince Vaughn in 'Old School' (2003)
DreamWorks

It didn’t seem to make a difference to DreamWorks that Phillips and Armstrong had written the role of Bernard with Vince Vaughn in mind—the studio didn't want him. After his breakout success in Swingers, Vaughn had taken roles in dramas like the 1998 remake of Psycho. “So when Todd Phillips wanted me for Old School, the studio didn’t want me,” Vaughn told Variety in 2015. “They didn’t think I could do comedy! They said, ‘He’s a dramatic actor from smaller films.’ Todd really had to push for me.”

5. RECYCLED SHOTS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY WERE USED.

The film was mainly shot on the Westwood campus of UCLA. The aerial shots of the fictitious Harrison University, however, were of Harvard; they had been shot for Road Trip (2000).

6. VINCE VAUGHN FANS MIGHT RECOGNIZE THE CHURCH.

In the film, Frank gets married at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, California. Vaughn and Owen Wilson were in that same church two years later for Wedding Crashers (2005).

7. WILL FERRELL SCARED MEMBERS OF A 24-HOUR GYM.

Frank’s streaking scene was shot on a city street. As Ferrell remembered it, one of the storefronts was a 24-hour gym with Stairmasters and treadmills in the window. “I was rehearsing in a robe, and all these people are in the gym, watching me. I asked one of the production assistants, ‘Shouldn’t we tell them I’m going to be naked?’ Sure enough, I dropped my robe and there were shrieks of pure horror. After the first take, nobody was at the window anymore. I took that as a sign of approval.”

8. FERRELL REALLY WAS NAKED.

Ferrell justified it by saying it showed his character falling off the wagon. “The fact that it made sense was the reason I was really into doing it, and why I was able to commit on that level," Ferrell told the BBC. "If it was just for the sake of doing a crazy shot, then I don't think it makes sense.” Still, Ferrell needed some liquid courage, and was intimidated by the presence of Snoop Dogg.

9. ROB CORDDRY WAS NOT NAKED, BUT HE STILL HAD TO SIGN AWAY HIS NUDITY RIGHTS.

Old School marked the first major film role for Rob Corddry, who at the time was best known as a correspondent for The Daily Show. He had a jewel bag around his private parts for his nude scene, but his butt made it into the final cut. He had to sign a nudity clause, which gave the film the right to use his naked image “in any part of the universe, in any form, even that which is not devised.”

10. SNOOP DOGG AGREED TO CAMEO SO HE COULD PLAY HUGGY BEAR IN STARSKY & HUTCH.

Phillips admitted to essentially bribing the hip-hop artist/actor, using Snoop Dogg’s desire to play the street informant in the modern movie adaptation of the classic TV show (which Phillips was also directing) to his advantage. “So when I went to him I said, 'I want you to do Huggy Bear,' he was really excited. And I said, 'Oh yeah, also will you do this little thing for me in Old School a little cameo?' So he kind of had to do it I think."

11. SNOOP WANTED TO HANG OUT WITH VINCE VAUGHN ON SET, BUT NOT LUKE WILSON.

Snoop Dogg in 'Old School' (2003)
Richard Foreman, Dreamworks

Vaughn and his friends accepted an invitation to hang out in Snoop Dogg’s trailer to play video games on the last day of shooting. Vaughn recalled seeing Luke Wilson later watching the news alone in his trailer; he had not been informed of the get-together.

12. WILSON WAS TEASED BY HIS CO-STARS.

Vaughn, Wilson, and Ferrell dubbed themselves “The Wolfpack”—years before Phillips directed The Hangover—because they would always make fun of each other. A particularly stinging exchange had Ferrell refer to Legally Blonde (which Wilson had starred in) as Legally Bland. Wilson said it didn’t make him feel great. Wilson retorted by telling Ferrell that "the transition from TV to the movies isn't a very easy one, so you might just want to keep one foot back in TV just in case this whole movie thing falls through!"

13. TERRY O’QUINN SCARED HIS SONS INTO THINKING THEY WERE TRIPPING.

Terry O’Quinn (who went on to play John Locke on Lost the following year) agreed to play Goldberg, uncredited, in what was a two-day job for him. He neglected to inform his sons he was in the movie, and when they saw it, one of them called their father. “I got a call from my sons one night, and they said, ‘What were you doing in Old School? We didn’t even know you were in it!’ They said, ‘We’re sitting there, and the first time we see you, it’s, like, in a reflection in a window. And when we saw it, and we both thought we were, like, tripping or something!’”

14. THE EARMUFFS WERE IMPROVISED.

Before filming, Vaughn worked with Ferrell to figure out their characters' backstories and how they knew each other; he credited that with helping him figure out who Bernard was, which led to several ad-libbed moments. “The earmuff scene where he swears in front of the kids, and then I tell the kid to earmuff, that all is off the cuff. But that stuff is a lot easier to do when you know who you are and your circumstances, and who your characters are,” Vaughn explained.

15. FERRELL AND VAUGHN DIDN’T LOVE A SCRIPT FOR A SEQUEL.

Armstrong had written Old School Dos in 2006, which saw the frat going to Spring Break. Ferrell said that he and Vaughn read the script but felt like they would just be “kind of doing the same thing again.” Wilson, on the other hand, was excited over the new script.

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