I am definitely heading down the path of raising those weird retro kids. In all fairness, I had elements of being a retro kid when I was young. My parents were of the 60s and 70s and so I was the 6 year old that loved the Beatles, the Doors, The Temptations. It isn’t surprising now, that I pass on the things I loved when I was a child to my own. One of those is Pee-Wee Herman and all his fabulousness.
The show, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, the movies, especially Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and the man-child himself are all very close to my heart and now the heart of my children. That whole masturbating in the theatre thing? please, even as a child I thought there was a bit of an overreaction from the public. That was over 20 years ago anyway, so now we can move on to remembering how truly great the character of Pee-Wee Herman is to all of us.
My son tends to find a show or movie and want to watch it over and over again. Obviously this is nothing out of the ordinary for a 2 year old. The great thing about his love for Pee-Wee is that I never really get sick of watching it either. We have every episode on DVD and have watched them all far too many times, but my real favorite is the film. Some forget that Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is actually directed by Tim Burton. This may be why it is one of the strangest, and most brilliant films in the last 30 years. One that I find hard categorizing as a “kids” movie.
The television show is filled with memorable characters like Globey, Cherry, Miss Yvonne, and Conky. My son often calls out for Conky in his sleep, I’m assuming so he knows what the word of the day is going to be. Something that I did notice in watching the show as an adult is the common sexual innuendo. It doesn’t offend me as a parent, nor would I take serious pause if my child understood what was actually being meant by some of the interactions. Here are a few other things I noticed while watching the show as an adult.
- Miss Yvonne is a bit of a slut. Sure, she is supposed to be the most beautiful woman in puppet land but there isn’t a great competition. Although Dixie, the cab driver that was seen only in the first season to introduce the king of cartoons, was pretty sexy.
- Cowboy Cutis may be slightly disabled. Either he seems uneducated and slow because he is just a hillbilly cowboy or it is specific to his person. Maybe Laurence Fishburne was just confused on how to play a 50’s cowboy that hangs out with a boy and his talking furniture.
- Captain Carl is terrifying. Phil Hartman really knew how to add the creep factor to that character. Even my son backs out of the living room when he comes onscreen.
- Tito the lifeguard from the 1st season and Ricardo, the soccer player after that, were clearly gay. Now knowing that Paul Reubens himself is a gay man, it is interesting to see his interaction with these “hunky” characters.
- Mrs. Renee is a man, man! actually while watching it, I assumed that this was a man in drag but discovered using IMDB that the actor is actually a woman. Even more interesting.
There is something really enjoyable about revisiting a show you loved as a child. It is even more exciting to discover that the love for a character or show was completely rational. Pee-Wee Herman, and all that he touches is kick-ass. The best part is that my kids are actually learning things from Pee-Wee and it’s not just a waste of time for the sole purpose of distraction. And so my love affair with Pee-Wee Herman continues…