When I was living in West Hollywood in the 1980s, we watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 every Saturday morning, but we stayed away from children's tv. It was crowded with insipid child versions of adult characters -- The Muppet Babies, The Flintstone Kids -- or insufferably cute furry animals -- Wuzzles, Kissyfur, Care Bears, Gummi Bears.
It was the gayest show on television.
1. A hunky speedo-clad lifeguard named Tito.
3. The extraordinarily feminine Jambi the Genie, who lived in a drag queen's jewelry box and lisped "Wish? Did somebody say wish?" Everyone in West Hollywood spend the afternoon saying: Swish? Did somebody say swish?"
5. The creepy, leering, obviously drunk King of Cartoons, who stumbled across the room and slurred "Let the cartoon begin." And the creepy 1930s cartoon that followed. Ok, he wasn't gay-coded, but who puts a guy who's drunk, or pretending to be, on a kids' program?
The writers, producers, directors, and cast have always claimed complete ignorance of any gay-coded characters or gay-subtexts. In fact, according to Inside Pee-wee's Playhouse, by Caseen Gaines, Paul Reubens was homophobic -- if he had known about any subtext, "he would have put a stop to it."
Or maybe he was just closeted. Paul Reubens has consistently refused to comment on his sexual identity, although when he was arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography in 2002, he stated that he was a collector of muscle magazines and "vintage homosexual erotica."