Monday, May 19, 2008

Square Pegs Coming To DVD On May 20th!

Clockwise (from top left): John Femia, Merritt Butrick, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Amy Linker

Timed to coincide with the release of "Sex and the City: The Movie" starring Sarah Jessica Parker, the series that gave her one of her earliest onscreen breaks (the 1982-1983 cult sitcom "Square Pegs") is finally coming to DVD on Tuesday May 20th. The series detailed the misadventures of bespectacled Patty Greene (Parker) and her braces wearing best bud Lauren Hutchinson (Amy Linker) as they tried to get in with the popular crowd at Weemawee High. Joining them in their quest were aspiring comic Marshall Blechtman (John Femia) and shy new waver Johnny "Slash" Ulasewicz (the late Merrit Butrick). Among the popular kids that Patty and Lauren were trying to impress were preppy Muffy Tepperman (Jami Gertz, a former schoolmate of The Rock Chick), Valley Girl Jennifer DiNuccio (Tracy Nelson), her dim bulb boyfriend Vinnie Pasetta (Jon Caliri), and her sassy cornrow wearing best friend LaDonna Fredericks (Claudette Wells).

For that one season, Monday nights at 8 pm on CBS was appointment TV for me and my sister.
One thing that I remember about "Square Pegs" is that it often featured appearances by performers who normally didn't do guest shots. This is likely due to the presence of series creator/writer Anne Beatts (who previously worked on SNL). Bill Murray, Doors drummer John Densmore, Devo, and Father Guido Sarducci are some of the performers who guest-starred on "Square Pegs".

Had "Square Pegs" debuted later in the decade, it might have fared better because some of the popular big screen teen comedies that followed it (those directed by John Hughes for example) were similar in tone. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered and "Square Pegs" would still have wound up in the category of "brilliant, but cancelled". One of my favorite quotes about the series came from cast member, John Femia. According to someone who commented about "Square Pegs" on the website Jump the Shark, they ran into Femia (who is now a stand-up comic) at a comedy club in New York. When they asked Femia why the network cancelled "Square Pegs", he replied, "Because it was funny".

"Square Pegs - The Like, Totally Complete Series...Totally" includes all 20 episodes on 3 discs. The set also includes "Weemawee Yearbook Memories" which features interviews with most of the cast members (including Parker, Linker, Gertz, Nelson, Femia, and Fredericks) and creator/writer Beatts.

Below is a clip from the series, featuring Devo:


Jay said...

Square Pegs and Honeymoon in Vegas are the only two things I've ever liked SJP in.

pjazzypar said...

I saw that this was being released and I knew you would be all over it.

The Rock Chick said...

I had a regular appointment for Square Pegs, too, and not just because my friend Jami had a role on the show :) I actually didn't care for her character...shhhh! Don't tell her that :)

I loved that show and so wished it had gone on longer. I've been an SJP fan since that time!!! I'm anxiously awaiting the Sex and The City movie later this month.

I didnt know these were being released! I'm so glad you mentioned it. I don't often buy these DVD series, but this one I totally will!

Holly Smith said...

I loved that show! But I didn't realize that it was only on for one season. Clearly, I must have seen reruns...but I thought it was new when I saw it.

Malcolm said...

Jay: Although I am not a big SJP fan, I thought that she was exceptional in "Ed Wood". Her last scene in the film is one of my favorites.

Pjazzy: I'm all over it like (fill in your metaphor of choice).

The Rock Chick: Jami's role on "Still Standing" is such a 180 from Muffy, it's sometimes hard to think it's the same actress. I don't know if you watch that show, but Tracy Nelson made a guest appearance. I was hoping there would be a reference to Square Pegs, but sadly it never came. I wonder if Jami had input regarding the show being set in Chicago. I'm guessing that she did.

Holly: The last time I saw Square Pegs was when TV Land showed reruns briefly a few years ago. Your comments about thinking it was new reminds me of something my then 9 yr old niece said when she watched "The Monkees" in reruns on Nickelodeon in the late 80s. When I told her that I used to watch it in reruns in the 70s, she didn't believe me because she thought it was new.

The Rock Chick said...

I love Still Standing! It reminds me of King of Queens a bit, but I like the Judy Miller character on that show. She reminds me a bit of myself--caught between parenthood and having some of my own teenager still left in me! Jami is really talented and can play any type of character and I do try to watch everything she's in to this day, but some characters I've like WAY more than others :)

Malcolm said...

The Rock Chick: I really got into "Still Standing" when Lifetime started showing back to back episodes from 7-8. Because the Pistons/Wings are in the midst of a deep playoff run, I haven't been watching "Still Standing" as much lately. One of the things I love about the show is that Bill and Judy aren't your typical parents. The entire cast is pretty good (esp. Judy's slightly crazed sister Linda and Tina, Bill and Judy's youngest daughter).

In retrospect, I wish I had watched the TV biopic of Gilda Radner starring Jami when I had the chance. When I looked up the movie on, I found that the actress who plays Judy's sister Linda on "Still Standing" played Jane Curtin in the Radner biopic. I can see the strong resemblance between her and Jane.

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