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Each show, Pee-Wee Herman comes to his wonderful playhouse where anything can happen. Whether it be screaming at the secret word, entertaining friends like Cowboy Curtis and Ms. Yvonne, or enjoying animation clips presented by the King of Cartoons or the stories of the claymation girl, Penny; there's always lots of fun things to do. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
As a child, this show changed me and influenced me in ways I never realized at the time, but now looking back on DVD, I can totally see why I needed this show as a child, and why Pee-Wee and company did an EXCELLENT job of providing pure quality entertainment.
Of course, the puppets were my favorite characters as a kid, as I recall my favs. at the time were Dog Chair and the Fish...and of course Floory. :p Nowadays, I appreciate the live actors even more...although I enjoyed them as a kid as well. I'm still confused by some of the earlier cast choices just like I was as a kid.
Of course, you have the essentials...
Miss Yvonne - Most beautiful woman in puppet-land, and boy is she ever. She taught kids that beauty was far more than just appearance, it also was your state of mind and how you felt on the inside.
Cowboy Curtis - Lawrence Fishburne, and I still have a hard time seeing him as Morpheous now. I mean, who's Morpheous compared to COWBOY FREAKING CURTIS? But I digress, Curtis was complex and interesting. A tiny bit of homoeroticness in his character, but I never picked up on that really as a kid.
King Cartoon/The King of Cartoons - Two different actors played him. The first wasn't all that great. His approach to playing the King was basically he was this crazy drunk who would stagger out of the back of some taxi with a film projector and drunkenly announce the cartoon (if he could remember to). The second King was waaaay better....he's the one who had a remote control and the flowers introduced. Even as I kid I could tell he was a great actor, and he made the King of Cartoons way likable.
In the first season, the whole tone of the show was definitely different from later ones because of the cast, and it would seem Ruebens or Paragon or whoever realized this and let go of the following characters;
Mrs. Steve - Never really clear if she was really Pee-Wee's (or ANYBODY's) friend, and all of her appearances were strangely done. I just never got her, or the humor they were going for with her.
Dixie - The taxi driver who would do a trumpet solo before introducing King Cartoon. Again, whatever humor or point Dixie's character was making, it went completely over my head. She's either a tough tomboy, a lesbian (which I think is most likely), or just extremely liberated as a female.
Tito - The uber-buff lifeguard for Pee-Wee's pool. Now, this character did actually contribute something to the show; namely, a really buff stud walking around in nothing but a bikini and flexing his muscles. Of course, you were either a housewife or gay to appreciate this, because to a kid he was pretty boring and lifeless.
Captain Carl - I'm actually surprised he didn't last on the show, considering he was in Pee-Wee's live show. However, Captain Carl as a character was a little out of place on Playhouse. His humor was fine, but it never really operated on a kid level. And Phil Hartman never seemed all that thrilled around kids screaming in his face.
Eventually, when the Playhouse is remodeled we are introduced to new cast members, and they all meshed great.
Ms. Rene - In a way, she's Mrs. Steve's replacement, in that she's Pee-Wee's portly neighbor who is gossipy and a definite clothes-horse. However, where Mrs. Steve was always negative and moody, Ms. Rene was incredibly happy and light-hearted, and very very funny! "I love the outdoors, As long as I'm on the indoors"
Ricardo - I guess you could say Ricardo was a replacement for Tito, but not really. Ricardo was into sports, mainly soccer, and he was always teaching Spanish. One thing I loved about Ricardo was the guy was always laughing, and he seemed to genuinely like being there.
Reba the Mail Lady - Reba, perhaps, could be considered a replacement for Captain Carl in the sense that she's the "straight man" who always reacts hilariously to Pee-wee's zany antics. I liked Reba a lot. She pretty much told Pee-Wee what she thought of him on a regular basis (he's insane) and that would egg him on to get her to join in his games. But one thing you could always say about Reba: She was DEDICATED to her job, and you have to respect that.
Jambi - My perceptions of him are radically different now as an adult than as a kid. He was obviously going for a homosexual undertone (One time he even said "Swish? Did someone say Swish?") and John Paragon is a brilliant actor when it comes to comedic timing. "Repeat after me in the ancient language of...Jambease!" (Ooooh! :P) Overall, I recommend this series for anyone who appreciates living outside the box and appreciating the artwork Ruebens, Paragon, and company have provided kids and adults.
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