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SQUARE PEGS
The, Like, Totally Complete Series...Totally

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Linker, John Femia, Merritt Butrick, Tracy Nelson, Jon Caliri, Claudette Wells, Jami Gertz
Creator:  Anne Beatts
Audio:  Dolby Mono
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Sony
Features:  See Review
Length:  491 Minutes
Release Date:  May 20, 2008

“This year, we’re gonna be popular…even if it kills us.”

Shows ***

To the current generation, Sarah Jessica Parker may be Miss “Sex and the City”, but for the old folks of my time, she’ll always be Patty Greene first and foremost.

That was the character she made memorable in the early 80s sitcom “Square Pegs”.  It actually debuted one day after my 13th birthday, and for me and my friends, it was must-see TV.  Looking back with older eyes, it seems a light, harmless teenage romp, with some quirky characters, a few laughs, and a big heart.

Patty and her best friend Lauren Hutchinson (Linker) are freshmen at Weemawee High, where Lauren’s designs on being in the right clique made for some awkwardly funny misadventures for the pair.  The right clique included the clueless Valley Girl Jennifer (Nelson) and her boyfriend Vinnie (Caliri).  But there are other friends, namely the aspiring comic Marshall (Fernia), his New Wave bud Johnny Slash (Butrick), and the no-nonsense LaDonna (Wells).  Rounding out for fun is the vain preppy Muffy Tepperton (Gertz).

This DVD release showcases the complete short-lived show, 19 episodes in all.  Watching them was a real trip down memory lane for me.  The 80s were alive and well, and bands of the day like The Waitresses (who performed the theme song) and the ever-peculiar Devo made guest appearances.

Some of the highlights for me include the school play, where Johnny Slash changes his tape instead of the scenery and Patty gets to share an onstage kiss with Vinnie, the appearance of Marshall’s hero Father Guido Sarducci, or when the hapless Lauren falls for the new school janitor. 

It was lightweight stuff, but the talented cast made it work.  Ms. Parker and Ms. Gertz went on to bigger and better things, but I always wondered what happened to the rest of them?  Merritt Butrick got a brief Star Trek life as Captain Kirk’s son, but he would pass away from AIDS at far too young an age.

It didn’t last long, but fans have been clamoring for this show for a long time.  TV reruns whetted the appetite, now this complete DVD set will allow you to be stuck in the 80s whenever the mood strikes you.  Like, you know?  Totally.

BONUS TRIVIA:  Tracy Nelson is Ricky Nelson’s daughter.

BONUS TRIVIA II:  Amy Linker had to wear fake braces and a fat suit for the part.

Video **

About par for the course for an 80s show.  The colors are a little muted, there’s some grain and aging apparent here and there, but no more than what you probably expect.

Audio **

Likewise, the audio doesn’t offer much dynamic range, but the music is a nice touch, and the dialogue is delivered clearly.

Features **

The extras include cast and crew interviews, and two bonus ‘minisodes’ of “The Facts of Life” and “Silver Spoons”.

Summary:

Yes, I still love the 80s, and “Square Pegs” is the perfect nostalgia trip.  Some terrific young stars and a funny, good hearted premise make this one fans will always enjoy coming back to.

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