There are few TV shows as purely, innocently, and energetically delightful as Pee-wee’s Playhouse, the Saturday morning vehicle for Paul Reubens’ grey-suited man-child. An adult perpetually trapped at the stage of early boyhood in which kids mostly say funny nonsensical things and that’s it, Pee-Wee and his colorful gang of anthropomorphic pals brought a hefty dose of camp humor to the happy shiny world of kids’ entertainment. Along with Pterry the Pterodactyl, Globey the Globe, Chairy the Chair, and a host of other talking objects with self-reflexive names, Pee-Wee balanced dizzyingly absurd comedy with a childlike sense of unfettered glee.
Today Reubens has unveiled the brand new trailer for his big comeback, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, and what’s more, it looks absolutely wonderful. It’d be perfectly reasonable to fear a perversion of what makes Pee-wee Pee-wee with this upcoming Netflix-exclusive feature due March 18 — the thought of the “Tequila” dance receiving some sort of timely update with, say, “Gangnam Style” is too painful to bear. But producer Judd Apatow and writer Paul Rust (non-coincidentally, also set to star in Netflix’s upcoming series Love) appear to have remained true to Pee-wee’s loopy comedic sensibility. The ”Let’s say chocolate” pun is fairly classic Reubens, as is his prayer of “encyclopedia, pimple, hairball.” And Joe Manganiello’s roving roustabout character fits perfectly into Pee-Wee’s universe, with its infantile notions of what it means to be cool and tuff.
It’ll be a long time until everyone loses sight of the whole masturbating-in-a-movie-theater debacle, but the best way for Reubens to earn back that goodwill is with another marvelous performance in his most iconic role. Today, the secret word of the day is: “redemption.” AHHHHHH!