Flashback Friday: Square One Television

Ha! I bet you all thought that another Friday would pass without the inevitable lupine flashback, didn’t you, denizens? Yeah, sorry about last week. I was caught up in a bit of packing. No, not that kind of packing. Honestly, you’re all so filthy sometimes. Another reason I love you so. No, this was actual luggage packing. For to see some super-smexy ImagiFriendsTM up in the Great White North. I should probably write a special post about my trip. Yes, I do believe I shall.

But not right now.

Now, it’s time to hop in the lair’s WABAC Machine (did you know that’s how you spell this? My boy Sherman knew) and visit the late 1980s, those care-free days of big shoulder pads and even bigger hair. The Gipper was still in office, Jean-Luc Picard was confusing nerds everywhere with his French name and English accent, and Children’s Television Workshop was showing mercy on the math-deficient of America with its newest 100-percent math-centric show: Square One Television.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPvOthnDj6I&w=480&h=360]

Could that theme be any more 80s? No, Miss Chanandler Bong, I don’t think it could.

I both loved and hated Square One. It was cool and clever (for a math show)…but it inevitably always made me feel a bit stupid. I’m not going to do my usual thing of putting myself down (shocker, I know). I can do math. It just takes me a little longer than more mathematically inclined minds. Sue me, I’m right-brained. All I need is a patient teacher and a lot of time. And erasers. Lots and lots of erasers.

However, Square One was a relatively fast-paced show, as most vignette-driven kids’ shows are. There was no way in hell I was going to catch on to some of the things they were teaching in a 2-minute sketch. So, really, I just watched it for the fun sketches. Like Mathman, which was a silly parody of Pac-man:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUhpIS8YTfc&w=480&h=360]

Or spoofs of 80s-style music videos:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqIki33mTgs&w=480&h=360]

Okay, is it just me, or was that song a bit dirty? Just me? Okay then.

My favorite recurring sketch, though, and the one that kept me coming back to Square One every weekday, was Mathnet, a cutesy rip-off of Dragnet, with cases that played out in 10-minute snippets each day of the week and starred Beverly Leech as Kate Monday and Joe Howard as George Frankly, two math detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department (they later relocated to New York). Both actors have been in numerous things throughout the years. I’m actually quite pleased that I immediately recognized Howard on an episode of CSI from a few years ago. He was also on West Wing at some point, although I can’t pinpoint his character at the moment. Leech showed up on Quantum Leap and Northern Exposure among other things and then later made the ultimate in Geek Girl moves when she appeared on the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Nightingale,” which most fans probably won’t remember because it was a Harry Kim episode. Sorry, Harry.

I loved Mathnet. But only the version with Leech as Kate Monday. She was later replaced by Toni DiBuono as Pat Tuesday, which never really worked for me. Of course, by that point I was a bit too old for Square One anyway, so it didn’t really matter. But when I was the right age? It was all about Monday and Frankly:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl8aIizUBNI&w=480&h=360]

Seriously, how do you not love that? So 80s. And, hey! I actually followed most of what they were talking about! It’s only…24 years later.

Yeah, I was going to try to come up with a funny math pun to end this on, but, seriously, denizens, my brain really doesn’t work that way. So I’ll instead leave you with a link to this Zazzle Mathnet T-shirt, which I’m almost tempted to buy. It’s acute shirt…even if it would make me look like a square.

Heh. See what I did there? You’re welcome.