You just can't keep a good man-child down. Paul Reubens, the artist known as Pee-wee, bounds back onto our TV screens this weekend in "The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway" (9 p.m. Saturday, HBO; *** out of 4 stars).
Filmed in January at the end of his Broadway show's limited run at Stephen Sondheim Theater, it's a yummy jump back in time to the 1980s, when Pee-wee first appeared on HBO before launching "Pee-wee's Playhouse" on CBS to the delight of both children and adults.
Pee-wee looks older (Reubens is now 59, after all), but the bow-tie wearing Peter Pan hasn't changed beyond that. He's still filled with childlike wonder and bratty sass, trading gags with all his familiar friends, including Cowboy Curtis (Phil LaMarr), Miss Yvonne (Lynne Marie Stewart), Mailman Mike (John Moody), Sergio (Jesse Garcia) and, of course, Chairy, Conky, Pterry and Jambi.
The show definitely lives in a time capsule, with Reubens and company joking about the Sham Wow and Bumpit. He does score when bringing up gay marriage, and makes a clever blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference to his own indecent exposure arrest 20 years ago.
Many viewers might require more plot over silliness, or some kind of statement about how children, or the world they live in, have changed over the past 30 years, but that's not what Pee-wee's about.