Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pee-wee's Playhouse as a Queer Text

I used to watch Pee-wee's Playhouse all the time as a child but I was recently re-introduced to it as an adult and I am totally loving it. Why aren't there more queer, or at least ambiguous, children's television shows available? As a child I never read Pee-wee as anything other than a childlike man in an imaginary world with kooky characters. As an adult I see the queer subtext all over. Whether it be the overdone caricature of femininity that Miss Yvonne performed or the almost maternal male femininity performed by Pee-wee, both provided a critique of hegemonic gender by presenting a parody of it. I know a lot of readers of this blog are children of the 1980s and wonder what you all think?

Also, has anyone heard that Pee-wee's Playhouse is going to be made into a movie to come out in 2011?


Tracey said...

Yes, yes, yes, and YES! I totally grew up on this show, I couldn't agree more with your analysis. In addition to Miss Yvonne, there's the girl who played trumpet for the King of Cartoons who was always portrayed in a masculine way, and some of the "male" puppets were incredibly feminized. I'm thinking specifically of Pterry the pterodactyl. Pee Wee himself came off as asexual, even. He "dated" Miss Yvonne from time to tome, but never seems attracted to her in any real way. Such an interesting show to critique.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is.. Pee Wee feminine? yes; Queer? no.