Pee Wee’s back! (and serious)

Remember Pee Wee Herman?

I do. According to my memory, Pee Wee’s Playhouse was one of the scariest shows on television. I know, I know, you loved it. Everyone in my generation and beyond loved it. But I was scared shitless. Something about the wacky, unhinged nature of the world made me feel strange. If a chair could talk, what else could happen?!

Even if you’re not completely familiar with the show, I’m sure you at least remember Paul Reubens, the man behind the wacky character, and the famed mugshot that made a nation reevaluate their love of that goofy, staccato laugh. In case you never watched the news in 1991 (or for years after), Reubens was arrested in July of that year for allegedly whipping out his Johnson in an adult movie theater, a charge I don’t personally take seriously (I mean, you go to an adult movie theater to do what…sit there quietly and watch?), but nevertheless ruined his career and ability to play an innocent character ever again.

These days, the dude’s pushing 50 and still acting, most recently in a hilarious (but still cringe inducingly creepy) guest appearance on 30 Rock. He’s also scheduled to appear in a movie opposite Demi Moore and Emma Thompson. All things considered, it seems Reubens has been able to dust himself, and those gross but lame charges, off and move on.

In these Any-Publicity-Is-Good-Publicity days, Reubens’s 1991 banishment from the entertainment world seems harsh and strange, just another reminder of how easily we forgive and forget when it comes to celebrities in 2007. These days, flashing one’s naughty bits isn’t considered indecent exposure (although I maintain it certainly is), it’s considered front page news.


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