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Square Pegs - The Like, Totally Complete Series... Totally


TITLE: SQUARE PEGS - THE LIKE, TOTALLY COMPLETE SERIES... TOTALLY


Info:

DVD Release Date: May 20, 2008 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color / 1982-83
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 19 (20 if you count the 1 hour Christmas episode as 2)
Running Time: Approx. 491 Minutes
Running Time of Special Features: Approx. 127 Minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; French Subtitles; Closed captioned
Special Features:

  • Weemawaee Yearbook Memories (Interviews with the Cast and Crew): Sarah Jessica Parker, Tracy Nelson and Claudette Wells, Jami Gertz, John Femia, Steven Peterman, Amy Linker, Merritt Butrick (Cast and Crew talk about him), Creator/Executive Producer Anne Beats
  • Minisodes: The Facts of Life - "Sex Symbol", Silver Spoons - "Hey Mrs. Robinson"
  • Previews/Trailers


    Introduction:

    Square Pegs follows the hilarious misadventures of Patty (Sarah Jessica Parker, TV's "Sex and the City") and Lauren (Amy Linker), two freshman girls desperate to fit in at Weemawee High School. Befriended by oddball characters Marshall (John Femia), a budding comedian, and Johnny Slash (Merritt Butrick), a wacky new-waver, Patty and Lauren still hope to impress the popular kids: valley girl Jennifer (Tracy Nelson), her tough boyfriend Vinnie (Jon Caliri), and their sassy friend LaDonna (Claudette Wells). And it would "behoove us" to not forget Muffy (Jami Gertz), the ever-peppy preppie!

    Acclaimed by critics, Square Pegs struck a chord with viewers of all ages and developed a huge cult following. Featuring guest stars Bill Murray, Martin Mull - plus New Wave acts Devo and The Waitresses (who perform the opening theme song) - all 19 digitally remastered, rad episodes are now available in this awesome three-disc set, on DVD for, like totally the first time ever!


    Show History / Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

    Square Pegs premiered on September 27, 1982 on CBS. It aired on Mondays at 8:00-8:30PM. It aired against "That's Incredible" and "Little House: A New Beginning." After a single season and 19 episodes, the series was canceled because of poor ratings, reported drug use on the set and the inexperience of the production staff. Starring in the series were Sarah Jessica Parker as Patty Greene, Amy Linker as Lauren Hutchinson, Merritt Butrick as Johnny Ulasewicz aka Johnny Slash, John Femia as Marshall Blechtman, Tracy Nelson as Jennifer DeNuccio, Jami Gertz as Muffy Tepperman, Claudette Wells as LaDonna Fredericks and John Caliri as Vinnie Pasetta. Occasional recurring cast members included Basil Hoffman as Principal Dingleman, Catlin Adams as Ms. Loomis and Steven Peterman as Mr. Donovan. Former "Saturday Night Live" writer Anne Beats created the series. The series theme song, "Square Pegs," was written and performed by The Waitresses. Edie Baskin and Jeff Carpenter were nominated for an Emmy in the "Outstanding Individual Achievement - Graphic Design and Title Sequences" category.

    Memorable episodes included the "Pilot," in which freshmen Patty Greene and Lauren Hutchinson vow to click with a popular clique at Weemawee High. When pep committee leader Muffy convinces their teacher Ms. Loomis to host a slumber party on Halloween, the girls are targeted by a possible stalker in "Halloween XII." Johnny Slash gets songwriter's block after Marshall books his band their first gig - performing at the opening of a supermarket's new deli counter in "Open 24 Hours." Muffy's "new-wave" celebration is Weemawee's hottest ticket, but when Devo cancels, Muffy enlists Johnny's band to fill in "Muffy's Bat Mitzvah." But then she finds out Devo can make it after all. Lauren convinces Patty to remove her glasses so she will attract guys; but then Patty trips at Muffy's bake sale and breaks Lauren's leg in "It's All How You See Things." The hip new substitute teacher (Bill Murray) is popular with everyone. Jealously rears its ugly head when the teacher favors Patty over Lauren in "No Subsitutions."

    Notable guest appearances included The Waitresses as themselves in the "Pilot." Don Novello appeard as Father Guido Sarducci in "Pac-Man Fever." John Densmore, drummer for The Doors, appeared as himself as a member of Johnny's new wave band in "Open 24 Hours" and "Muffy's Bat Mitzvah." Marj Dusay appeared as Muffy's mother, Beverly Tepperman, in "Muffy's Bat Mitzvah." Devo appeared as themselves in "Muffy's Bat Mitzvah." Tony Dow guest starred as Patty's father, Ed Greene, in "A Child's Christmas in Weemawee (Parts 1 and 2)." Martin Mull played Don Vermillion in "It's Academical!." Bill Murray appeared as Mr. McNulty in "No Substitutions." Steve Sax and members of the Los Angeles Dodgers appeared as themselves in "No Joy in Weemawee." Richard Blade appeared as himself in "Buffy's Bat Mitzvah and "The Arrangement." Jimmy and the Mustangs appeared as themselves in "The Arrangement."


    Packaging:

    The packaging is very colorful and totally '80s looking. The cover art features a photo of Jami Gertz, Tracy Nelson, Merritt Butrick, Amy Linker and Sarah Jessica Parker. It's a nice photo that is probably photoshopped, but it would have been nice if they had one with John Femia, Claudette Wells and Jon Caliri. The original artwork I saw was a bit better. Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Linker's names are at the top in white text in a pink box. There is a checkerboard background at the top and yellow background below that. Square Pegs is written in pink and black text. On the back of the outer cardboard box, there are publicity shots of Merritt Butrick and John Femia and Claudette Wells, Jon Caliri and Tracy Nelson in the other. There is another shot of Amy Linker and Sarah Jessica Parker to the left of that one. A synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features (although not detailed, it doesn't say who is interviewed), and the DVD specs are noted. Sarah Jessica Parker is featured on the spine of the box. Two clear, plastic slimcases slide out from the right of the outer cardboard box. Slimcase #1 features a smiling Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Linker. Slimcase #2 has John Femia and Merritt Butrick taking off his shades. The slim cases have the same colors and checkerboard background as the cover art. On the back of the slimcases, the episode titles are listed by disc and there are some pretty detailed episode summaries. Unfortunately, there are no original airdates listed. Slimcase #1 holds Discs 1 & 2, while Slimcase #2 holds Disc 3. Inside the slimcases, there are more Polaroid-type photos and props (like a Weemawee cheerleader cone and Blechtman LX-7000 Human Attraction Analyzer Card) that make references to the show. The school is in a tinted pink or light blue background. Disc 1 has a teal background with black dots. Disc 2 has a checkerboard background. Disc 3 has a red and white background. A booklet is included that promotes some other Sony TV DVD releases. Overall, I think they did a pretty decent job with the graphic design of the set. It would certainly be eye-catching on store shelves.


    Menu Design and Navigation:

    The static menus continue the look as the outer packaging. The main menu has a checkered background at the top and yellow in the middle and bottom. Square Pegs - Complete Series is in pink and black and text. The disc number is in pink. There is a photo of Merritt Butrick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Linker and John Femia in the center of the screen. At the bottom, there are options for "Play All Episodes," "Episode Selection," "Subtitles," "Special Features," and "Previews" (only on Disc 3) in pink text in a black box. There is a blue bar next to the option you select that turns green upon your selection. The Episode Selection sub-menu features screenshots from the episode. These sub-menus feature different photos of the cast on each screen: Merritt Butrick and John Femia; Jami Gertz; Jon Caliri; Tracy Nelson, Merritt Butrick, Claudette Wells and Jon Caliri; John Femia; Amy Linker and Sarah Jessica Parker. The episode number is in a red circle with black text. When you highlight an episode, the circle has a blue or green border. The Subtitles menus feature Amy Linker, Claudette Wells and Merritt Butrick, and Tracy Nelson. You can turn on the English or French subtitles. All 8 main cast members are featured on the Special Features menu. There are chapter stops within the episodes but no separate scene selection menus.


    Video and Audio Quality:

    When they say the episodes are digitally remastered on back of the packaging, they aren't kidding. Wow! It is hard to believe these episodes are over 25 years old now. You would think they were shot yesterday. I've seen the show a lot over the years on Nick at Nite, TV Land and the USA Network and the episodes have never looked better. These prints are very clean and crisp looking. Since the show was shot on film, you would expect to see a lot of dirt, debris and other digital artifacts on the episodes but I saw no major flaws. The episodes are presented in their original full frame presentation and in their broadcast order. You can see a lot of detail in the scenes and the color looks great, especially in the outdoor scenes. The indoor classroom scenes also look very good, since they used some excellent lighting. Running timess for the episodes are a little under 25 minutes, except for about 3 episodes that are about 30 seconds shorter. There are some abrupt fade-outs, but it doesn't appear to be anything missing. "A Child's Christmas in Weemawee" originally aired as an one-hour episode, and it is presented that way on the DVD. For the closing logo enthusiasts, you'll see the Embassy Television Production logo embedded in the credits. I noticed that all of the episodes have a 1982 copyright date, except for the last 4 that are from 1983. A Sony Pictures Television logo is the last image seen.

    The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track. Since they mostly shot in an abandoned high school, the audio sounds like you would expect it to in a classroom or hallway. The dialogue is generally at a good level and easy to understand. The show was shot without a studio audience, so the canned laughter track was added later. I noticed that the audio when the music is playing on the jukebox at the diner or on the school radio station is a bit lower, and it is hard to identify some of the songs. For the pilot episode, they used an instrumental version of the theme and "Square Pegs" played in the closing credits. For the rest of the episodes, you'll hear the familiar "Square Pegs" at the start of the episodes and a closing instrumental theme by Tom Scott. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. Subtitles are available in French. It would be kind of cool to hear an episode dubbed in French like they mention in the special features.

    Square Pegs used quite a bit of original music - mostly new wave songs. These were mostly played on the jukebox at "The Grease" or on the school radio station. I don't have any original broadcasts, so I can't say for sure if all the music is intact. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that any of the music has been changed or that the episodes have been edited. I can say that all of the original performances by The Waitresses and Devo are present on the DVD. Also, it looks like all of the original cast performances, including the songs by Johnny's band, are included. The only song for sure that I can say that has been changed is in the "No Subsitutions" episode. In the original episode, Bill Murray and Sarah Jessica Parker dance to Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself." On the DVD, the song is replaced with an unidentified song. I noticed that "Dancing with Myself" was also used on the episode that was available on Comcast's On Demand Tube Time channel. Overall, it looks like many of the original songs with lyrics are included.

    Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

    Disc 1
    ---------
    1. Square Pegs (Pilot) (24:53)
    2. A Cafeteria Line (24:45)
    3. Pac-Man Fever (24:48)
    4. Square Pigskins (24:49)
    5. Halloween XII (24:46)
    6. A Simple Attachment (24:45)
    7. Weemaweegate (24:16)

    Disc 2
    ---------
    8. Open 24 Hours (24:18)
    9. Muffy's Bat Mitzvah (24:48)
    10. Hardly Working (24:45)
    11. A Child's Christmas (Parts 1 and 2) (48:33)
    12. It's All How You See Things (24:46)
    13. Merry Pranksters (24:42)

    Disc 3
    ---------
    14. It's Academical (24:37)
    15. The Stepanowicz Papers (24:46)
    16. To Serve Weemawee All My Days (24:16)
    17. No Substitutions (24:46)
    18. No Joy in Weemawee (23:58)
    19. The Arrangement (24:46)


    Special Features:

    The special features are found on all 3 discs. There is a total of approximately 127 minutes of brand-new interviews with the cast and crew under the title "Weemawee Yearbook Memories." All of the surviving cast members are interviewed, except for Jon Caliri. These interviews are quite fun to listen to hear their memories and experiences about working on the show. There is also plenty of trivia for the die-hard Square Pegs fanatics. It would have been nice to hear some audio commentaries on their favorite episodes, but it appears all of the interviews were conducted separately with the exception of Tracy Nelson and Claudette Wells.

    Sarah Jessica Parker (Disc 1 - 15:38) - She talks about the audition process, getting the part, signing her contract and the complications in moving to Los Angeles from New York with her mother and 2 siblings. She is asked about how she related to her character and the connection between Patty and her "Sex and the City" character. She talks about how groundbreaking the series was, some of the guest stars, and about the cancellation of the series. I would have liked to hear her talk a little about the other cast members.

    Tracy Nelson and Claudette Wells (Disc 1 - 25:14) - They are interviewed together. They were best friends on the show and remain best friends to this day. Pretty cool how long their friendship has lasted.. They talk about how they did the lighting on the show, Tracy's biggest problem on the show, Claudette's hair, how they were the oldest members of the cast, and their shooting schedule and working with Bill Murray and Devo. They talk about meeting with fans, how they learned about the cancellation of the show, funny moments on the show, and how they got their roles. They just seemed like they had a good time recollecting their memories on the show.

    Jami Gertz (Disc 1 - 19:14) - She talks about how she auditioned for the part in Chicago, how she had to get approved by the network and how she found out that she got the role. She tells a funny story about Merritt Butrick (they lived in the same apartment with some other cast members) and how she drove Bill Murray's car. She seems to recollect a lot of interesting little trivia. Her father appeared in one of the episodes and she talks about how filming was postponed when an actor died. She talks about her friendship with Sarah Jessica Parker and how much she admires her. She talks about the cancellation of the show and how she continued to work with Embassy Television.

    John Femia (Disc 2 - 9:03) - He talks about how he had never planned to audition for the show and how he originally read and got the part for another character. He talks about how the original idea of the character wasn't working and how they made him into more of a class clown and who he based his character on. He discusses how he benefited from the show, his stand-up comedy and his memories of Sarah Jessica Parker. I think he was very underrated on the show, and he still comes across as a funny guy in the interview.

    Steven Peterman (Disc 2 - 10:56) - He talks about how the network wanted a symphathetic adult on the show, how he was cast, and who he based the character on. He discusses his career as a writer on various sitcoms and now as an executive producer for a Disney series. He shares his memories of working with the kids who were quite a bit younger than him and how nobody has changed over the years. He discusses working with Bill Murray and Steve Sax.

    Amy Linker (Disc 2 - 14:52) - She talks about how life altering working on the show was and how a lot of people can relate to the show. She mentions how she added different wardrobe accessories to her character. She talks about her fake braces, working with Sarah Jessica Parker, a funny scene that took 26 takes, the Devo episode, how her life changed, some trivia about an episode where she wasn't wearing the braces and how a director on the show got her to cry. I was surprised that she didn't talk about how she felt wearing the fat suit that the producers required, but she did discuss the braces in some detail.

    Merritt Butrick (Disc 2 - 8:46) - He died of AIDS on March 17, 1989, at the age of 29. Anne Beatts, Steven Peterman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tracy Nelson, Claudette Wells, Jami Gertz, John Femia and Amy Linker share their warm and funny stories about working with him. Anne Beatts talks about how he got the part, even though he was considered too old at 22. Sarah Jessica Parker and Jami Gertz lived in the same apartment complex as him, so they had some funny stories about his habits. Totally different head... totally.

    Anne Beats (Disc 3 - 16:36) - She was the Creator and Executive Producer of the series. She talks about how she pitched the idea of the show, how she wanted to hire women writers and how she micromanaged the show. She discusses the casting process and gives some interesting trivia on who came up with the school name. She comments on the music on the show and guest stars like Bill Murray and Father Guido Sarducci. She talks about the cancellation of the series and how she heard the news. Pegs forever!

    Minisodes (Disc 3) - The Facts of Life - "Sex Symbol" (5:03) and Silver Spoons - Hey, Mrs. Robinson (5:01). I really hate the concept of these minisodes. Why couldn't they just include a full bonus episode of each show. One of The Facts of Life episodes with Jami Gertz would have been fun to watch or her appearance on Diff'rent Strokes.

    Previews (Disc 3) - Trailers for Blonde Ambition (1:42), My Mom's New Boyfriend (2:12), The Other Boleyn Girl (2:34), Saawariya (1:46), The Final Season (1:58), '80s Hits (2:53) and Ladies Night (TV) (1:52).


    Final Comments:

    Square pegs, square pegs. Square, square pegs... one size does not fit all. Over 25 years after the final episode aired, Square Pegs has finally arrived on DVD. What a blast to see all of the episodes again. There's so much nostalgia in the show with the hair, fashions and music. It is like a time capsule of the early 1980's. There are so many references to the celebrities, tv shows and movies of the day. Unfortunately, this show was ahead of its time and never really caught on with the viewers. It is always series like Square Pegs, My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks which are gone too soon. Fortunately, they can continue to be seen on DVD.

    This is a totally awesome set... totally. The episodes simply have never looked better and the prints are very clean. I know many fans were concerned that the set would be heavily edited and a lot of the music would be replaced, but I didn't see that while I watched the episodes. All of the original performances by The Waitresses and Devo are completely intact. All of the cast performances, including Johnny Slash's band, seem to be on here. I heard many recognizable songs on the jukebox and on the radio. There was only one scene where I'm sure a song was substituted. Bill Murray and Sarah Jessica Parker originally danced to Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself," but there is a different song on the DVD. A bit of a downer, but if that was all that was changed, it isn't so bad. There's over 2 hours of brand new interviews with the cast and crew to check out. These were a lot of fun to watch and they give a lot of interesting trivia, behind the scenes details and funny stories. As Muffy would say, I behoove you to check out this set!


    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

    Video Quality: 4.5/5
    Audio Quality: 4.5/5
    Special Features: 2.5/5
    Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
    Overall: 4.5/5

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 05/18/08

    To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00151QYT4/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

    Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

    http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=225448


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