I had the following conversation, more or less, with a kid who discovered Pee Wee Herman while browsing Netflix:
KID: Why is this guy so…I don’t know.
KID: Yeah, he’s so stupid.
ME: He’s like an adult who hasn’t figured out he’s an adult yet so he acts like a kid.
(ME IN MY MIND): Crap. Should I just tell the kid to turn this off? I really don’t want this kid thinking it is ok to talk to adults who think they are kids. Adults who think they are kids are freaking perverts.
KID: Was this a long time ago?
KID: Did you watch this when you were a kid?
ME: Yes. All the kids loved to watch Pee Wee when I was a kid. We would watch Pee Wee every Saturday morning and scream real loud whenever he said the secret word.
ME IN MY MIND: Yeah, because it was a more innocent time when there wasn’t a freaking thirty year old who has yet to grow up trying to lure kids into his weirdo bachelor pad on every street corner. Or perhaps there was just as many adult man child perverts back then but the media didn’t report on it as much because the TV only had like three channels to watch in those days.
KID: He’s funny.
ME: Yeah he is. Hey, just an FYI this is all make-believe. If you ever see an adult who acts like a kid, run away real fast and don’t talk to them ok? Because adults who act like kids are super weird and they might hurt you because they’re so stupid ok?
KID: OK. How old is Pee Wee?
ME: I don’t know. I think he just stays the same age forever.
KID: Is he still alive?
ME: Yes. He just made a movie. He looks the same. He probably exercises and eats his vegetables and colors his hair and stuff.
KID: Why isn’t his show on now?
ME: He got busy.
ME IN MY MIND: He did a terrible thing. Also, whereas in my day there were a plethora of children’s shows in which neighborhood children would visit the homes of grown adult men they weren’t related to, ranging from Pee Wee, to Mr. Wizard to Mr. Rogers, today, you just don’t see shows like that, because the safest thing a parent can do is chain their kid up so no one gets the kid and especially never allow the kid to visit the home of a random adult and especially not without supervision.
FINAL THOUGHT: I watched “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” with the kid in question and it holds up. It was so funny back then and it is equally hilarious today. I feel bad that Pee Wee ruined his career by doing what he did in a porn theater. I mean, seriously, all that money he made, he couldn’t afford a home VHS? Seriously.