Though I was only eight when Paul Reubens was arrested for allegedly masturbating in an adult theatre, I understood that Pee-Wee as we knew it was over. I remember news footage of angry citizens boycotting him and friend’s parents loudly voicing their delight that his show was not coming back.
Luckily, I was raised in a pro-Pee-Wee Herman household. My mother to this day loves Pee-Wee nearly as much as I do and we both stop what we’re doing if Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure or “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” comes on the television.
Unless you live under a rock, you will have noticed that Pee-Wee Herman has recently made a resurgence. After a successful revival of his 1980 stage show, “The Pee-Wee Herman Show“, in Los Angeles, Reubens brought the show to Broadway where it is currently running. Reubens is also taking every media opportunity to get the PW name back out there, having appeared on everything from WWE to daytime and nighttime talk show to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. If that weren’t exciting enough, Judd Apatow is attached to produce the next Pee-Wee Herman movie.
Of course being a nearly life-long Pee-Wee fan, I’m happy that our lovable little man-child is back. However, now an objective adult, I find it inspiring that a man who was unjustly chastised, pushed into hiding, and forced to kill off a character that he loved so dearly, is able to come back better than ever… and all at 58 years old!
The beauty of Hollywood is that everyone has second chances…and third (Robert Downey Jr.)…and fourth (Charlie Sheen). The fairy-tale ending is viable if the individual wants it badly enough. Though it may have taken many years for Reubens to feel comfortable bringing PW back and for America to accept him, the amount of positive response upon his resurrection has proven that PW has always had a special place in our hearts. My peers are now having kids of their own and introducing them to his movies and television show and the homophobic, staunch conservative assholes who fought against him before…well, no one really gives a shit what they think, do they?
To Paul Reubens- for encouraging us to be who we are and to never give up fighting.