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SXSW Interactive 2016

Why All Videos Should Emulate Pee-Wee’s Playhouse

Everyone says “Do one thing and do it well.” Pee-wee’s Playhouse said, “Fuck it. We want to do it all.” And they did. Amidst a Saturday morning lineup of children’s shows that were mainly cartoons, a live-action show utilizing humans, puppets, animation, claymation, graphics, and more seemed over-the-top. But Pee-wee’s Playhouse was an instant hit — at once “nostalgic and ahead of its time.” By encouraging good-doing, cracking whip-smart jokes, and having fun in the candy-colored chaos, the series fostered fascination of children and adults throughout its five season run. The 22 Emmy Awards and countless fans it has accrued prove that when content is done well, it can transcend age and time.

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  1. How did Pee-wee’s Playhouse stay playful while doing something serious and important?
  2. How did Pee-wee’s Playhouse change TV and affect current creators?
  3. How and why do some shows stay relevant decades after their premiere?


  • Amy Emmerich, EVP of Programming of Refinery29, Refinery29
  • Casey Neistat, Film Director, Producer, Designer, Creator of Popular YouTube Videos, Self Employed
  • Mamrie Hart, Comedian, Actress, Writer and Performer, Self employed


Amy Emmerich, EVP of Programming, Refinery29

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