TV | Pop Culture | 80s | Celebrities
No One Remembers 'Square Pegs', But The Drama Behind The Scenes Is Unforgettable
Sarah Jessica Parker is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. She has had plenty of successful movies, done a bunch of theater, and we all know she was the star of the super popular show Sex and the City.
But before she became the one and only Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker starred in a show that only a few people seem to remember. It was called Square Pegs and it was one of her first acting jobs ever.
The show was a good representative of how a lot of us felt in high school. It had a simple plot:
Patty Green was the brainy, glasses wearing main character played by Sarah Jessica Parker
Her best friend was Lauren Hutchinson, who had braces and wore crazy clothes
They wanted nothing more than to be one the cool kids, but instead, they stuck out like a sore thumbs
Luckily they found where they belong with their fellow "Square Pegs", two goofballs, Marshal Mlechtman and Johnny "Slash" Ulasewicz
These "Square Pegs" do their best to fit in, but as so many of us know from experience, it does not go well.
The show ended after only one season even though it was fairly popular. Shortly after its cancellation, TV Guide did an investigation into how this successful show failed so quickly and called it "Anatomy of a Failure: How Drugs, Ego and Chaos Helped Kill A Promising Series".
The article puts a lot of blame onto Anne Beatts, creator of the show for being inexperienced in show running. They claim that she was too young and her tendency to befriend some of the crew members while alienating the others created a hostile work environment.
Beatts insisted that the president of the production company, Michael Grade, was to blame. She also added that the writing staff didn't value continuity and the forceful laugh track was distracting.
One of the writers was interviewed for this article had said that Beatts was not always the most organized. In regards to a two-part Christmas episode, she wasn't prepared for the second part and rushed to get it ready. The unnamed writer said, "The first draft of that show was just the most terrible thing I have ever seen. It made no sense at all. And Anne was laughing. She thought it made sense. It made no sense.”
Not only were the egos high, the drug use was apparently rampant on set. Beatts said that “I think that certainly, there was some drug abuse or drug traffic that may have happened, because I would say that that is norm for a set."
While she thought it was the norm, guest stars did not agree. Gerald Casale from the band Devo remembers the time he arrived on scene and said that the situation was “out of control—they were doing drugs and they were making out and they were coming on to us in a big way… They might have been 15 or 16, but in their heads they were already 40. I don’t think there was a virgin on the set, except maybe a couple of the guys.”
Eventually the studio had to launch an investigation because there were minors on set who were around all this drug use, but it was too late. The show had already finished shooting for the season so they decided to pull the plug.
The cast, while they may have dealt with a lot on set, managed to make a show that would mean a lot to a bunch of people, but where are they all now?
Despite all the drama and chaos that was going on behind the scenes, the four main characters did their best to keep the show enjoyable.
Sarah Jessica Parker - Patty Greene
Square Pegs only lasted one season, but it launched the career of one of Hollywood's most famous actresses. Sarah Jessica Parker has gone on to do quite a bit in her career and taken advantage of her jump start.
Shortly after the show Square Pegs ended, Parker was cast as Rusty in Footloose. She made quite the impression as the lovable best friend, and then got the lead role as Janey in Girls Just Want To Have Fun. She continued acting, appearing in hits like Hocus Pocus as one of the three Sanderson sisters, The First Wives Club as the gold digging girlfriend of one of the husbands, and then was cast as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City.
Obviously we all know how big that show got. It had an enormous following and launched Parker into a new stratosphere of fame. Since that show ended she has made two follow up movies to tie up the story, as well as a few other films and appearances. She now stars in a new show called Divorce.
Amy Linker - Lauren Hutchinson
Amy Linker was forced to wear fake braces and padding to make her look bigger than she was, but that didn't stop her from putting on a great performance. However, Amy's career took a different direction than her on screen BFF.
After Square Pegs ended she had a few guest spots in shows, including voicing Robin in the show Mister T. She stopped acting completely by 1986 and instead when to school. She attended Wellesley College for French and moved to Santa Monica. She worked as an internet researcher before eventually becoming a teacher. More recently she has decided to become a community therapist.
In 2009 she had a one time appearance in a show called Don't Make Me Sick, and then didn't act again until 2016. She appeared in a show called Child of the '70s as a character who was named Detective Angie Hutchinson.
John Femia - Marshal Blechtman
John Femia was fairly experienced by the time he made it onto Square Pegs. He had started acting in 1977 on The Magic Hat, before he was cast on the TV show Hello, Larry where he was on for 16 episodes.
He joined the cast of Square Pegs but that would be his last big acting credit. He is a little bit harder to track down now, having essentially fallen off the face of the internet. He did used to have a MySpace page for his comedy, but it has since been shut down.
Merrit Butrick - Johnny "Slash" Ulasewicz
Merrit Butrick had appeared in the popular show CHiPs and in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan before he was cast in Square Pegs. After, he went on to have a fairly busy career up until 1989 when he passed away at the young age of 29.
He died due to complications of toxoplasmosis, complicated by AIDS.
The show may not have lasted very long but its impact was strong while it lasted! Who knew a little show about some outcasts could have had so much drama behind the scenes!