If you were a kid during the late ’80s and early ’90s, then this will probably be pure nostalgia-bait: Anne Helen Petersen writes about the “pure and deeply dorky joys” of PBS’ Square One.
Square One, which was created by the Children’s Television Workshop and aired across the nation on PBS from 1987 to 1992, wasn’t as long-running as Sesame Street or Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and has never been the same kind of ubiquitous cultural touchstone. But like the best children’s television, it implanted itself — and its attitude — into millions of children’s minds. That attitude was pretty simple: Math is weird, and cool, and filled with secrets, and fun. I loved Square One then, and I love it now, because it took math — something most kids are conditioned to think is boring, and confusing — and used it to teach me that knowledge, and curiosity, will always be cool.
I loved Square One, and especially its math-inspired crime serial Mathnet, back in the day. And yes, I did have a crush on Kate Monday (though my true childhood PBS love was 3−2−1 Contact’s Debra Shapiro).