This touches on themes running throughout the entire series. Reubens, in interviews, usually as Pee-wee, desired to craft a series with a moral message, one focused on accepting others, of sharing, reciprocity, and of engendering empathy through play and entertainment. In 1988, the domain of Gen X, what could be more unhip than that? But it’s this knowing sincerity, this willingness to be corny, that makes the show in general, and this special in particular, so subversive. Huey Lewis said it best: “it’s hip to be square.” Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special is as blocky as they come.