Allow Anne Beatts to Set the Record Straight on Square Pegs

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.

Weekend Reads: “Man on the Run”


Hi, everyone. I went into the wayback machine for this review from 2014. Beatles fans are sure to enjoy this book.

Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s by Tom Doyle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I must state, right at the beginning, that I am an unabashed Beatles and Wings fan. This is the music with which I grew up, and there was a time in my life when I devoured every word that was written about either band, and Paul McCartney in particular. I thought I knew everything there was to know.

Except that I didn’t … and this book proves it.

McCartney speaks quite frankly to Scottish journalist Tom Doyle in this book, as do many of his former bandmates and friends. He opens up about his nervous breakdown and constant battles with depression, largely crediting the late Linda McCartney for helping him get through those dark and difficult times. There is a lot of discussion about his music, of course, and how the (largely press-manufactured) battles between McCartney and John Lennon affected his work … but there is also a lot to learn about his decision to get out of the proverbial rat race and live on a farm in Scotland, and how the isolation had a healing effect on him as well.

McCartney is both jocular and more than a little foul-mouthed (as one might expect from a fellow who grew up in a rough town like Liverpool), and is likewise pretty frank about how he sees some of the mistakes he made over the years.

Some of the things that surprised me the most were learning about how lean the post-Beatles years really were, with so much of the band’s money tied of in litigation. McCartney lived in a house with dirt floors, for example. Wings sideman Denny Laine, the former lead singer for the Moody Blues, was homeless and sleeping on a mattress in his manager’s office when McCartney asked him to come to Scotland to work on a project. No one was rolling in the proverbial dough, and yet the creative impulse was still flowing strong.

This is the kind of book that I recommend not only for Beatles fans, but for those who tend to think of the recording industry as being way more glamorous than it really is. I feel like I gained a great deal of insight into McCartney via this book … as well as an understanding that it is really only the tip of the iceberg.

View all my reviews

How Scooby Doo Revived Gothic Storytelling for Generations of Kids | CrimeReads

According to Burke, the natural world was so stupendous that it evoked awe and astonishment. Essentially, upon witnessing the sublime, the human mind just stopped. Waterfalls or the edge of a precipice were common examples of the natural sublime. They awakened our reverence for nature but not without horror. Ironic, how something so beautiful can also be utterly frightening. With this in mind, when Scooby Doo’s creators usurped the settings reserved for gothic horror, they must have also been cognizant of their effects—which they used. A great deal.

via How Scooby Doo Revived Gothic Storytelling for Generations of Kids | CrimeReads