Dear Jack: Why Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Is So Relevant For You Right Now

4 years, 3 months.


Dear Jack,

During the blizzard last week, in which we were snowed in for 3 days, I decided to introduce you to a “new” (but actually, classic) show on Netflix: Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.

I didn’t realize at the time just how relevant a show like this would be for you: a 4 year-old boy.

The show came out in 1986, when I was about your age. But apparently, it must have always been on while a show I liked better came on- because until last week, I had never seen a full episode of it. (Though I did see his circus movie multiple times: I even had the poster on my bedroom door!)

You are officially obsessed.

To an adult like me, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse is trippy, to say the least. But to you, it’s a marvelous display of absurd fantasy that is undeniably… very relatable to you.


There are Claymation dinosaurs that live inside the wall. Yes, dinosaurs– all 4 year-old boys love dinosaurs!

And there is a talking cow. And a talking chair, named Chairy.

That’s the same way you name your stuffed animals: Pandy the panda bear, Ellie the elephant, Annie the anteater…


Not to mention, Pee-Wee also has a barking dog chair.

You have to appreciate Laurence Fishburne playing a cowboy, with an appropriate mid-Eighties mullet.

There is of course the very strange routine of having the mail lady arrive to announce the king of cartoons arriving.

Once the king walks in, he always seems confused by why he’s there; only to show a random clip of an old 1950’s cartoon.

Perhaps one of your favorite parts of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse is when the door-to-door salesman arrives; in which an instantly annoyed Pee-Wee shuts the door in his face.


The whole show is ultimately a predictable/unpredictable routine of random characters showing up.

We even sat down together and watched the 1988 movie Big Top Pee-Wee, that I just referenced a second ago. I have to admit, it was just as good as I remember it from when I was a kid.

I predict it’s only a matter of time before you start repeating, “I know you are but what am I?”





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