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Pee-wee's Playhouse, on CBS
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This ran for five seasons on Saturday mornings from 1986 to 1990. It was seriously wacky. And stuff. It could be quite risqué at times, but still geared toward kids, and when I used to watch it as a kid, I generally thought it was pretty dumb. But still not a terribly bad show. It was kinda nuts, which is often a good thing to be, in my opinion. But I always felt that I never liked it as much as I should have. Of course, in retrospect, now that I'm older, I think I can appreciate it more. I find myself nostalgic for it, so I was glad that Adult Swim reran it for awhile, in 2006. It's actually rather cool. Oh, and I really liked the wacky opening theme song, by Cyndi Lauper (though that wasn't shown on Adult Swim).

Anyway, the show was about this weird sort of man-child named Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens). He had this wacky playhouse, with all sorts of weird stuff like a talking Magic Screen (who could show videos and stuff, and Pee-wee could jump into the screen to play connect-the-dots or whatever) and a robot named Conky, and a genie (actually a floating head in a box) named Jambi, and a Picturephone (before any such thing existed in real life), and Magic Glasses (which worked rather like VR goggles, before any such thing existed), and talking furniture, and stuff. And lots of friends who'd stop by frequently, like Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne), Miss Yvonne ("the most beautiful woman in Puppetland"), Dixie (a trumpet-playing cabbie), the King of Cartoons (who would show cartoons, and who was introduced by Dixie), Reba the Mail Lady (S. Epatha Merkerson), Captain Carl (Phil Hartman), and so forth. There were also puppets and claymation, including Pterri the pterodactyl, a chair named Chairry, a globe named Globey, a cow named Cowntess, a jerk named Randy, a sort of beatnik Puppet Band (Dirty Dog, Cool Cat, and Chicky Baby), Mr. Window, Mr. Kite, a clock named Clocky, a couple of wisecracking fish in a fish tank, a family of dinosaurs who lived in a mouse hole, an ant farm, the food in the fridge, etc. Oh, and there was a second chair called Dog Chair, which I thought I remembered having talked when I was a kid, but now in reruns it doesn't seem to talk, so whatever. And every day there'd be a secret word which, whenever anyone said it, everyone would scream. And there were Penny cartoons, and snack time, and I dunno... lots of weird stuff went on.

There were some cast changes in season 2. Captain Carl wasn't around anymore, nor was Dixie. The King of Cartoons was played by a new actor, and was now introduced by some singing flowers in the playhouse's window (they were around in season 1, but their role was expanded from season two on). The annoying neighbor from season 1, Mrs. Steve, was replaced by a less annoying and more friendly neighbor named Mrs. Renee. The Latino lifeguard Tito was replaced by a Latino soccer player named Ricardo. The Playhouse Gang (three little kids named Opal, Elvis, and Cher) were replaced by three new kids named Fabian, Li'l Punkin, and Rapunzel (who only appeared in a couple episodes). Well, throughout the series new characters were introduced. I'm not actually sure when Clocky first appeared, or Floory (a section of the floor). In the fourth season a chandelier named Chandelier was introduced, as well as a real live dog named Roosevelt. And at some point they started showing some weird cartoon (in Spanish) called "El Hombre." Well, I dunno what else to say, except that despite the changes, the show basically stayed pretty much the same throughout its run. And I think it probably helped create ADD.

While most seasons had 10 or 13 episodes, season three only had three episodes, including a 1988 Christmas Special. I should also mention that prior to this series, Pee-wee had a stage show that aired on HBO in 1981, which I never saw (and which was more adult-oriented than this show). Also prior to this series, he had a 1985 feature film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, which I also never saw (until many years later). And in 1988, there was another film, "Big Top Pee-wee," which I don't think I've seen. Pee-wee also made a cameo appearance in the 1987 film Back to the Beach. And in 2016, he had a film called "Pee-wee's Big Holiday," which debuted on Netflix (so I guess I'd probably call it a TV movie). I also haven't seen that, since I don't get Netflix, but I might like to, someday.

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