I’m not so sure Pee-wee Herman is a great role model for my kids. (Let’s not get into Paul Reubens.) He’s dresses like an idiot, he sounds like an idiot, and he acts like an idiot.
Wait. Now I understand why my five-year-old likes him so much. They’re both idiots!
The least I can do is have some fun with it. Thanks to Netflix, I did!
A few months ago I wrote about my son’s discovery (well, I showed it to him) of “Pee-wee’s Playhouse”, a good alternative to the cartoons he typically watches. Now, maybe instead of constantly pretending to fight people and transform into trucks, he’ll pretend to marry fruit salad and start screaming when I say particular words!
I watched the show as a kid, and mostly remember it as being weird, which still holds true. His movies were also weird, but they’re an innocent weird, and as such they’re good for kids. Goofy and silly and just off-beat enough to encourage a healthy, quirky sense of humor. Pee-wee began with a slightly edgier persona, but even when he morphed into a kids’ character, he retained the absurdist streak that makes him interesting to adults and children alike. I feel like he serves as a good entryway into comedy for youngsters, which is important to me. (My parenting philosophy basically boils down to forcing my kid to like the stuff I like.)
Not only do I want my son to understand my sarcasm (and therefore not think I despise him when he reads these old blog posts!), I also want him to have the kind of sense of humor I value. I don’t want him growing into a frat boy who likes Dane Cook and worships the empty references of “Family Guy”, I want him to grow up into an independent thinker who likes “Mr. Show” and worships the layered references of golden-age-era “Simpsons”!
Which brings us to Pee-wee’s latest movie, which recently debuted on Netflix. As part of the #StreamTeam, they sent me a little package with which Detective Munch and I could have a viewing party. I was expecting some knickknacks, maybe a fake bow-tie (that I would never wear because I don’t truck with no bow-ties!), but instead I got a box full of… other boxes. Along with a map.
It turned out that the viewing party was an interactive experience, whereupon Detective Munch and I were told to open specific boxes during specific scenes, as indicated by the map, which showed snapshots from different moments in the movie. Each snapshot was associated with a different little box, and each box contained the aforementioned knickknacks. (Fortunately it didn’t include cop outfits from the movie’s almost-inappropriate-for-kids stripper scene!)
We got balloons for a scene in which Pee-wee goofs around with a balloon, and friendship bracelets to put on at the same moment Pee-wee and his new friend wear theirs. There was even a set of glasses and a recipe for one of Pee-wee’s famous milkshakes, which he whips up during a relatively early part of the flick. Oh, and we didn’t get bow-ties, but we did get t-shirts made to look like Pee-wee’s signature outfit.
All in all, we had a lot of fun. I can’t say I’m a huge Pee-wee Herman fan, and there’s something even more creepy about the character now that Paul Reubens is in his 60s(!!), but my son loved the movie, the interactive box of goodies really kept me interested throughout, and I even laughed out loud a few times. High praise!
I’m not super thrilled that my son keeps yelling, “I know you are, but what am I?!” but at least thanks to Pee-wee he already knows who Phil Hartman is!
As part of the Netflix Stream Team, I was compensated with a year’s subscription to Netflix for a year and a Roku TV. But my opinions are 100% my own.
Except for the ones Mom and Buried provides for me.