I know you are, but what am I?

January 12, 2010

This might explain a couple of things about me: When I was growing up, Pee Wee was big in our house. Really big. My dad loved Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and taped every episode on our BetaMax for repeat viewing. My 5-year-old sister loved Pee Wee so much she went around proclaiming he was her 16-year-old brother. We had the Playhouse playset, complete with a wind-up Conkey 3000. We practiced our Pee Wee laughs at the dinner table. We felt validated by Miss Yvonne’s big hair. (We were a household of big hair, and thus felt a kinship with the Most Beautiful Woman in Puppetland.)

You get the idea. Start a Pee Wee quote, and a Broverman will jump in to finish it before you can say “It’s not for sale, FRAN-CIS!” (We even had the talking Pee Wee doll, though it stayed locked in the basement where it couldn’t kill us in our sleep. I wouldn’t learn the expression “uncanny valley” until many years later, but I knew, I knew.)

We loved Pee Wee’s joyful absurdity, the awesome claymation sequences that occasionally verged on disturbing, the gleeful participation of Phil Hartman and Laurence Fishburne, the unbridled zaniness, and the fact that someone had thought up a living piece of furniture called Dogchair. (Dogchair!) Sometimes it was even educational (who else would have taught us a recipe for ice cream soup, or that if you are a nasty snoop you will get yours by unwittingly sitting in a chocolate cake).

So I really wish I could be in Los Angeles this winter to bear witness to this triumph of pop culture. Pee Wee is back on stage in his crazy kid’s show for adults, adapted from his original 1981 stage show.

In the meantime, here are some excellent dating tips:

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