Dora’s dull. Diego’s dimwitted. The Wonderpets? Wimps. There’s just no children’s show like “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.” And it may be coming back — at least in movie form. In a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, Paul Reubens said the iconic show that offered lessons in childhood anarchy and not-so subtle gay subtexts (Cowboy Curtis does a mean “YMCA”) could hit the silver screen in a more adult form. To which I say, it’s about. freaking. time.
I watched “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” with abandon. But because I was both too young and too stupid, I missed out on many of the wink-wink, nod-nod gags and characters that played havoc on Reagan-era conservatism at the time. Dixie the cab driver. Cowboy Curtis. Jambi the Genie. They might as well have went off with Dorothy in search of the Wizard. Now with a new era of conservatism, the time is ripe for a show that tells children it’s OK to be a fat white lady and date your black neighbor or to “marry” a “fruit salad.” I’m ready now — and frankly, so is the country.
Questions remain, however — like how Reubens plans get over certain, um, charges and also how he can transform himself back into the gray suited, baby face ever-boy of yester-80s. After all, he’s looking like the long-lost brother of David Sedaris nowadays. (Reubens confessed to dumping cigarette ashes into robot Conky on the set — a Sedaris move? You decide.) Reubens says digital film can do wonders for your complexion. I say today’s secret word is Botox.