Pee Wee Herman: SubGenius

So I was reminiscing, and watched the opening theme song from Pee Wee’s Playhouse, as one does, and noticed something interesting.

Very clearly, we see J. R. “Bob” Dobbs, of the Church of the SubGenius. A search turns up this retrospective, and they note:

Somehow, against all odds, the Church of the SubGenius became a real thing, if not exactly a real religion. It spread well beyond Dallas, capturing the imaginations of a number of important counterculture figures of the era. Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh, actor Paul Reubens (known for his role as Pee-wee Herman), Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, cartoonist R. Crumb, gonzo bluesman Mojo Nixon, and more all claimed a SubGenius affiliation. All of them sought Slack, an unspecified philosophical state that the church maintained as its answer to enlightenment.

So I guess it’s not a curious random thing. Apparently there was an actual connection. But this only makes me wonder about the picture in the upper right of the photo. Who is that? What was the connection there?

I also note that a standard, half-hour show in the US is 22 minutes of air time, allowing for commercials. The intro and outro takes up 3:43, leaving just 18 minutes of programming time. No wonder I was always surprised and sad when the show would jump cut — apropos of nothing, since it was stock — to the scooter ending.

Loki and Portal

A long time ago, Valve released a little indie game called Portal, and took the gaming world by surprise. They followed it up with a sequel that expanded the world in awesome ways. I mean, it had J. K. Simmons voicing “Cave Johnson,” a legendary video game character with some truly memorable lines. Anyway, the game was filled with stick figures, like this:

In a small way, they actually helped you understand what was going on, by giving you a little expectation of what was coming in the chamber signs, once you understood the “language”:

Now there’s a new MCU series about Loki on Disney+. It introduces the Time Variance Authority to the universe, which was, in fact, a thing in the print comics, which I was never exposed to. The TVA uses a retro-futuristic style that has elements that look like Portal’s stick figure man.

It’s so similar, I wonder if Disney has had to pay Valve for the rights.

Anyway, I am absolutely loving Loki. It has even more promise than Wandavision, and that’s saying something.