Square Pegs and its characters were definitely media-hip. They regularly made references to contemporary movies and music. The Waitresses sang the theme song and Devo showed up to play at the bat mitzvah of Muffy Tepperman, a type-A school leader played by Jami Gertz who regularly clapped her hands and said, “People,” as if everything she said was a major announcement. Another character, Johnny Slash (Merritt Butrick), whose personality was best described as “into New Wave,” wore his Walkman headphones in every scene. His best friend, Marshall (John Femia), was a comedy nerd long before comedy nerds had become acceptable in the mainstream.
The idea that these kids talked about pop culture so much and with such interest was something, and I cannot stress this enough, that was not happening on television at the time. That may sound inconceivable to anyone whose memories of pop culture start in the 1990s or later, but the early 1980s was a less meta time. You didn’t see many characters doing that in film or TV, period, let alone teens. To say that I personally felt very seen, to the point where I recapped every episode to my friends the next day at school whether they wanted to hear about it or not, is an understatement.Allow Anne Beatts to Set the Record Straight on Square Pegs
I remember this unfortunately short-lived program very well. Having graduated high school in 1981, it was still relatable for me … and dealt with pop culture as I understood it. My friends and I were into music, theatre, and being good students, so it felt like a program about us.
By the time it was off the air, I was already in the music business (as mind-boggling as that may seem). Those days of Music, Mayhem, and Bad Decisions were nowhere near as entertaining.