Thank You, Paul Reubens (1952-2023)

I was born in 1983, so I was at that point in time where the eighties was just on its way out as I was growing in to adolescence, but I very fondly remember a lot of the decade. I remember how much I loved the comedy of the decade mainly because I grew up around a dad who exclusively lived on a diet of comedy. So I watched Weird Al, and Ernest, and Elvira, and Alf, and Robin Williams. Most of all I watched Pee Wee Herman. Pee Wee Herman played a huge role in my life as a comedy fan and a fan of just entertainment in general. There was a period in the eighties and early nineties where Herman was just an massive icon. I didn’t really catch his stand up material.

But I was there for “Pee Wee’s Playhouse.”

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Pee Wee’s Big Holiday (2016)


The good and bad news is that the big screen return of Pee Wee Herman has nothing to do with his groundbreaking kids show. It’s yet another phantasmagorical road trip movie that’s nearly impossible to pin down. It’s meta, satirical, tongue in cheek, and embraces the absurdity and absolute nonsensical comedy from Pee Wee Herman. Sometimes it misses and often times it hits. But only if you’re one of the people familiar with Pee Wee Herman’s brand of unique comedy. “Pee Wee’s Big Holiday” is a subtle message to the audience that Paul Reubens is trying to put his character in to new realms and situations. With Pee Wee being in a rut, Reubens tries his hardest to introduce the character to unusual scenarios and it works as a spiritual successor to “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.”

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Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 1 & 2: Special Edition (DVD)

pwph-1Watching “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” years after it became a cult hit, it’s easy to see where shows like “Blue’s Clues,” and “Yo Gabba Gabba” obtained their influence. Though it’s absolutely surreal, “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” dares to be different and innovative, while putting the lovable character of Pee Wee Herman on display. What’s even more refreshing is that show host Pee Wee instills positive ideas in his audience, without derailing the show entirely. There are subtle lessons about imagination, creativity, enjoying sweets with moderation, and how to deal with bullies.

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Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

peeweesbigadventureTim Burton’s adaptation of the comedy eighties icon is still a film that’s an acquired taste all things considered. Pee Wee begins as a slightly grating presence, but his enthusiasm eventually wins you over. Even to this day easing in to “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” is a fun and unique fantasy film with Pee Wee Herman managing to entertain with his charismatic presence, unusual voice, and still excellent dance sequence to “Tequila” in a biker bar. I remember just about every kid in the late eighties would at one point imitate Pee Wee’s dance on the pool table.

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