The Return of Pee-Wee Herman

Judd Apatow will be producing a new Pee-Wee Herman movie, according to Variety.  Paul Reubens himself is writing the script for the big comeback  The question is, what tone will the film have?  And will it be enough to bring the character back into mainstream popularity, reviving Reubens' career?

Pee-Wee Herman was a pop-culture icon, with two well-received motion pictures, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Big Top Pee-Wee (the first much better than the second), and the award-winning television show Pee-Wee's Playhouse.  It all came crashing down after Paul Reuben's scandalous arrest in 1991. 

Reubens continued to find work as an actor, with roles in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, Batman Returns, Murphy Brown, Mystery Men, Blow, Pushing Daisies, and more.  But Pee-Wee Herman became an old joke.

How will Judd Apatow's guiding hand (no pun intended) resurrect the character?  When Pee-Wee Herman originated as a stage show (and then an HBO special), he was much more risque with numerous sexual innuendo jokes that were toned down when Tim Burton brought him to the big screen, eventually becoming a family-friendly children's character.  One assumes that Apatow, who produced movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Step Brothers, and Pineapple Express, will bring some of that original edge back to the character.

I just hope that the new Pee-Wee Herman has some of Apatow's brilliance displayed in Freaks and Geeks rather than just the raunchy laughs that have become associated with Apatow's recent projects.