How many superstars can you spot in this clip from the 1982 teevee show Square Pegs?
Yes–that was Jami Gertz as Muffy Tepperman, Sarah Jessica Parker as Patty Green, and Tracy Nelson as Jennifer DiNuccio in Square Pegs (1982-83), which appears to have captured high school in the 1980s as accurately as anything else. Sadly, the show was cancelled after just 20 episodes. (Amy Linker played Lauren Hutchinson, Patty’s outgoing BFF who was always playing an angle to increase their “popularity.”) How cool was it that they got The Waitresses to play their school dance? (And do the theme song for the show, natch.)
The sad thing is that Square Pegs looks really radical for featuring so many strong female leads. There’s no question but that Muffy is the star of the academic side of high school, and Jennifer is the social queen of the school. Her boyfriend and the other two recurring male characters are merely supporting cast members. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000), which also had a very short run, was centered on boys’ stories and experiences and had just one major female character. The 1994-95 cult hit My So-Called Life was centered around the experiences of one girl and her female best friend and two male friends (one gay, one straight.)
I’m pretty confident that now, nearly 30 years later, no major network would dare offer a show built around the experiences of high school girls.