The holiday TV marathon is a time-honored tradition, at least as old as The Wizard of Oz on Thanksgiving or The Twilight Zone on New Year's Eve (and/ or Thanksgiving and/or the Fourth of July, depending on where you grew up watching syndicated TV). And new traditions of this kind are always being born, some quizzical (this writer will never understand the appeal of watching A Christmas Story once, much less for 24 hours) and some totally, irrevocably fun. In the latter category we'd like to nominate this Thanksgiving's upcoming Pee-wee's Playhouse marathon, set to air on IFC for 24 hours straight.
Pee-wee's Playhouse originally aired as part of the CBS Saturday morning line-up from 1986 to 1991. It spun off the hit 1985 Tim Burton film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, which in turn was inspired by the character created by Paul Reubens, who starred in both the film and the series as Pee-wee Herman, an antic kid-like character in a grey suit and red bow tie whose playhouse included a talking puppet chair named Chairry and a talking puppet globe named Globey. "Unbridled id" gets tossed around a lot in describing pop culture phenomena but the term could have been penned exclusively to describe Pee-wee Herman, whose instruction that kids "scream real loud" every time someone said the secret word of the day had 1980's kids screaming at their TV sets all across the country.
So this Thanksgiving, here's a fun game: make "pumpkin" or "turkey" or "I'm so full," your family's secret word and see what happens. Or the first time someone at table says, "I'm thankful--" you might say, "I know you are but what am I?"