This Square Pegs character was based on a real nerd

Image credit: The Everett Collection

When looking back at your high school days, it's easy to get caught up in the many good or bad memories and reminisce about that time.

When producer Anne Beatts looked back at her high school days in New York in the early 1960s, she remembered some good moments, but she mainly remembered the bad, embarrassing or downright cringe stages throughout her high school career. 

She remembered how no one would dance with her as a freshman and being bullied because of her glasses.

Although the good memories are wonderful to think back on, it's the bad ones that inspired her to do something.

Beatts was the producer and creator of the short-lived series Square Pegs, but she was also known for winning two Emmy Awards for her writing on the original Saturday Night Live

"I was a nerd," Beatts said in a 1983 interview with News and Record. "I was part of an unpopular group of two - myself and a girlfriend who was fat and wore braces. We went out with a couple of boys we thought were weird, only because they had a car and would take us places."

If an "unpopular group of two" sounds familiar, that's because it's the basis for her series Square Pegs. The series follows the story of two nerdy high school students, Patty Greene (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Lauren Hutchinson (Amy Linker), in a suburban high school. 

According to the interview, the character Patty, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, was even based on Beatts. Just like Patty, Beatts didn't fit the typical mold in high school and never conformed - not for anyone. 

She said she even walked around just as miserable as Patty did in her school on Square Pegs. Beatts learned it's important to never forget the bad memories but rather to try and relive them. 

"The show's purpose is to hold out some kind of hope for people like me, the nonconformists, that it's ok to be the way you are," Beatts said. "I'd say the motto of the show is 'It's ok to be lame.'"

Despite her unpopularity in high school, Beatts became secretary of the Student Council, editor of the school newspaper and president of the French Club. She was also the salutatorian of her class in 1962. Even "unpopular," Beatts had never been a stranger to success. 

"So many people say that high school and adolescence are the best years of your life," Beatts said. "But for a lot of people, that's just not true. I just wanted to say to the Laurens and the Pattys and others that no matter what they're suffering now, they may be glad about it later. Because most of the bright, successful and happy people I know were pretty miserable in high school."