There are many teen-oriented sitcoms floating around, but Square Pegs was truly one of a kind. It holds a special place in the hearts of many viewers as one of the most on-target depictions of high-school life to ever grace the small screen.
The show was created by Anne Beatts, one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live, who modeled the show on her own high school experiences. The storylines focused on the lives of Patty and Lauren, two best friends struggling to make the difficult transition to high school life as freshmen.
The two girls yearned to become members of the ‘popular’ crowd but discovered how tricky this is when you’re not rich, never up on the latest fashion, and don’t look cool (Patty wore glasses and was skinny, Lauren had braces and was slightly overweight). The coveted “in-crowd” included vicious preppie pep squad captain Muffy Tepperman, valley-girl Jennifer DiNuccio, big man on campus Vinnie Pasetta, and the bigoted black best friend of Jennifer, LaDonna Fredericks.
Patty and Lauren schemed to become cool in the eyes of the popular crowd, often going through elaborate plans dreamt up by Lauren to achieve ‘cool’ status. However, these plans usually backfired, and they ended up taking comfort in the company of their fellow outcasts, new wave enthusiast John “Johnny Slash” Ulasewicz and aspiring comedian Marshall Blechtman. The School staff included Principal Dingleman, health teacher Ms. Loomis, and former-radical-turned-political-science-teacher Rob Donovan.
The show earned a devoted cult following, winning over viewers with its unfailing accuracy in detailing the behavior and habits of high school students circa the early 80’s. Another plus for the show was the carefully-selected new wave music used on the soundtrack, which led to cameos on the show by the Waitresses (who also performed the show’s theme song) and Devo.
Sadly, the show did not perform to expectations for CBS and was cancelled after one season. Despite its short run, Square Pegs left its mark on many a young viewer and paved the way for more realistic teen-oriented programming. The show is also notable giving a start to a lot of memorable talent: Sarah Jessica Parker, Jami Gertz and Tracy Nelson all went on to long-lived careers in film and television.
“I’d like it if they liked us but I don’t think they like us…”
USA / CBS / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 27 September 1982 – 12 September 1983
Sarah Jessica Parker as Patty Greene
Amy Linker as Lauren Hutchison
John Femia as Marshall Blechtman
Merritt Butrick as John “Johnny Slash” Ulasewicz
Tracy Nelson as Jennifer DeNuccio
Claudette Wells as LaDonna Fredericks
Jon Caliri as Vinnie Pasetta
Jami Gertz as Muffy Tupperman
Catlin Adams as Ms. Loomis
Basil Hoffman as Principal Dingleman
Steven Peterman as Mr. Donovan
Combat Sheep (BBC-1 2001, Steve Coogan, Ronni Ancona)
One-off comedy film Combat Sheep detailed the comic adventures of four ex-army mascot sheep. Made using a mixture of live action and puppetry.
STEVE COOGAN as Harris
RONNI ANCONA as Peaches
MARK WILLIAMS as Moose
KEVIN ELDON as Cooper
CHRIS ELLISON as Detective Inspector Hindle
Writer: Tim Firth
Additional material: Peter Baynham and Graham Duff
Executive Producers: Steve Coogan, Henry Normal
Producer: Robert Howes;
Director: Dominic Brigstocke.
Network and Production Companies: BBC One – A Baby Cow Productions – Childrens Company
Duration: 1×30 minute episode
Aired From: 30 December 2001 at 5:35pm
Clochemerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)
Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochemerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm
Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)
In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986
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