Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986-1990)

Every generation has their clown. Pee-ee Herman was a clown for those who grew up with clowns -- in my case, J.P. Patches, who seemed closer to the 1950s than my childhood "now" of the 1960s and 70s.

Something I learned years ago while writing a libretto for Wilhelm Busch's Max and Moritz: A Juvenile History in Seven Tricks (1865) is that a story for children could also be a satire on those who read those stories to them.

In Max and Moritz, two boys engage in seven tricks that lead to their demise -- but it is the responses of those whom they play their tricks on that allude to what Flaubert gave us in Madame Bovary (1856): the ascendency of middle-class values in mid-19th century rural Europe.

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