[The word of the day is “rerun.”]
Here’s one: Pee-wee’s Playhouse is coming back!
Ah, but it’s no joke at all. And yes, by “coming back” we mean reruns [AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!] on Adult Swim. But even reruns [AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!] are an impressive feat, considering how radioactive the show became following Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens’ arrest for indecent exposure in 1991. I remember seeing it hawked on a late-cable infomercial in the late ’90s, like some kind of snake-oil weight-loss drug — it was sad. Dunno why exactly: Even as a kid, I had mixed feelings about the Playhouse. I thought Big Adventure was a masterpiece — still do. But when it came to the show, all that made it through my (very limited) filters was screechy jabber. It kind of made me want to eat my own face. And Jambi the Genie made me think of a scary street-corner drag queen before I even knew what that was.
My mom maintains to this day that it was a “dirty” show where a grown man asked children to “sit on his Chair-y.” That, of course, sailed right over my head. But I don’t think some people saw Pee-wee’s material in terms of charmingly subversive, Muppet-ish double entendres. Bringing their own issues and prejudices to the table, they saw Playhouse as a gay man making inappropriate overtures to children. Maybe that’s why the LAPD continued to break down the guy’s door for the next decade, hunting for evidence of kiddie porn.
The story of the Playhouse is a a dark one. But perhaps we can put all that was aside and simply watch the show as it was meant to be watched: On Adult Swim, in a mentally compromised late-night coma, between episodes of Inuyasha, a cartoon about a dog-boy with an enormous sword and his mini-skirted schoolgirl companion.
What say? Is this good news? Was Playhouse an adult show all along, and shouldn’t have been sandwiched into a Saturday morning block? Was Reubens unfairly hounded? Expose yourselves below.
addCredit(“Pee Wee’s Playhouse: Everett Collection”)