The main character. A high school boy living in Point Place, Wisconsin and son of Red and Kitty Forman. Is basically a sci-fi nerd but has a wild streak in him that emerges from time to time. Towards the end of the series, he moves to Africa for a year to teach in order to further his career.
Dumbass Teenage Son: He's this in the eyes of his father Red, and while he's nowhere near as dumb as Kelso, neither is he a paragon of sensibility.
The Dutiful Son: He is this compared to his sister Laurie. After Red has a heart attack (which Laurie was partly responsible for causing), she ditches the family. Eric, meanwhile, puts off going to college to get a job as a waiter to help support the family.
"If women don't learn to stand up for themselves, men will always control the world."
The Girl Next Door to Eric's house. Has a fling with Eric that over time turns serious. Their relationship is generally the main focus of the show. Has some ups and downs with Eric and has broken up with him a few times. Was intending to go to college but decided to stay behind to continue her relationship with Eric. After Eric leaves, she starts dating a new guy named Randy.
Hypocrite: In one episode she gets angry with Eric for making plans with his friends without checking with her first. At the end of the episode she makes him promise that he'll always check with her before making time with his friends. Eric then asks Donna if she needs his permission to hang out with her friends, to which she replies "no" and leaves to go see a friend.
And in another episode she yells at Eric for going on two dates with another girl while she and Eric were broken up. Donna, meanwhile, had slept with Casey Kelso around the same time.
Informed Attractiveness: While not ugly by any means, she's repeatedly stated to be one of the most attractive girls in town. Except by Jackie, who states that she looks like a trucker. Though this is Jackie we're talking about.
One of the Boys: She's just as likely to get down and dirty as the rest of the guys in the group.
Only Sane Woman: Just like Eric, to the point where Kelso jokingly refers to them as "Mom and Dad."
Real Women Never Wear Dresses: She hates the notion that being feminine automatically means being "girly", and so she typically wears jeans and long-sleeved or plaid shirts. Despite this, she's worn long dresses on special occasions, and had to wear a skirt as part of her school uniform.
Zettai Ryouiki: Donna wears a pair of white knee-high socks as part of her school uniform, much to Eric's delight.
Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson)
"The government is out to get you."
Troubled kid with a dysfunctional family and rarely attends school. His mother is very loose and he lived alone in a dilapidated house until he moved in with the Formans. Has a tendency to suspect various doings behind the scenes. Is usually the one who brings "the stuff" to the Formans' basement.
Brilliant, but Lazy: He's probably the smartest character on the show, but has no ambition or motivation to do anything but sit around in a basement.
Kitty: Trade you a lollipop for a kiss. Hyde: I don't need that baby crap. (the others leave the room and then Hyde quickly takes the lollipop and gives her a kiss on the cheek)
Knight in Sour Armor: Long before they hooked up, Jackie had a crush on Hyde from his defending her. When he beats up a guy who humiliated her at Red's barbecue, she sees him as a Knight in Shining Armor, much to his embarassment and frustration.
Last Name Basis: He's called Hyde by everybody except Red, Kitty, and Jackie (who started calling him Steven after she got a crush on him).
Parental Abandonment: His dad left when he was a kid and his mom was gone by the end of Season 1 - requiring the move-in with the Foremans. His dad returned in Season 3 and Hyde moved in with him, but reversed in Season 4. Off-screen, Hyde's parents got back together, but then left him again.
The Slacker: "Just imagine what I could do if I applied myself. Oh well, guess we'll never know." Jackie tries to break him of this, to no avail. Amusingly, he does hold on to several jobs, but only because his bosses are even worse in this regard.
A pretty-boy with a few crayons short of a box. Often says the weirdest things and believes he's the center of attention when it comes to the ladies. Dated Jackie but his cheating broke them up. Eventually becomes a police officer.
Brilliant, but Lazy: Scored surprisingly well on the SATs. He initially tries to exploit his newfound potential, but gives up when he learns it won't help him get women. Also in one early episode, was able to tinker with a video game to make it more challenging
The Friend Nobody Likes: Jackie starts out as this, with everyone including her primarily because she's Kelso's girlfriend (while urging him to dump her). Eventually, she and Donna become best friends to Donna's surprise. The guys all start accepting her for different reasons-Hyde alternately starts burning her and protecting her, Fez develops a major crush on her and Eric realizes just how much Laurie hates her.
Parental Abandonment: Her father was arrested and went to jail. Her mother was traveling abroad at the time and was too busy partying to return for months on end. (Jackie and Pam did eventually patch things up, though.) From what we see of Jackie's father before he went to jail, he wasn't a particularly attentive parent either. Red and Kitty are much more like parental figures to her than her own parents.
Wrench Wench: While the others are at career days with their parents, Jackie goes to the Forman house and helps Red in the garage. She demonstrates a real knack for helping fix the car.
Fez (Wilmer Valderrama)
"Whenever I look at naked ladies, I get really tired. Then I get my second wind, and then I want to look at more naked ladies."
A foreign kid who is always trying to get laid. Likes to act campy. Has a crush on Jackie and has made it known numerous times. "Fez" is not his real name, simply a name the guys came up with for him. His real name is something incomprehensible.
Foreign Exchange Student: The name "Fez" is even short for "foreign exchange student", despite the difference in spelling, which the series' official web site describes as "poetic license". His friends know Fez's real name but consider it unpronounceable.
The Un-Reveal: In one of the last episodes, his best friend from back home comes for a visit. He turns out to be... a different ethnicity and has a different accent (as he "comes from the other side of the island"). The end credits feature the gang quizzing them both about their country, but they only offer vague answers.
Lauren "Laurie" Foreman (Lisa Robin Kelly, Christina Moore)
"I'll do anything for ten dollars."
Eric's older sister, who studies to be a beautician. Seen as a tramp by everyone, including herself (something she is oddly unafraid to admit). Had a relationship with Kelso and is not liked by Kitty, who almost has nothing nice to say to her ever.
Even Evil Has Standards: Became horrified when Eric told her he saw Red and Kitty having sex, and then comforted him and told him it would be alright.
Eric: You're actually being nice! Laurie: Yeah, it's just not my style.
Flat Character: Her defining personality was that she was nasty to everyone except to Red, whom she sucked up to and could do no wrong in his eyes, and she slept around. The main source of humor came from the fact that her nastiness and promiscuity were all there was to her. Some of the only attempts at breaking away from this were her comforting Eric after finding out he saw Red and Kitty having sex, becoming depressed after Red finally realized how nasty she was, and then later attempting to be a good person before she went back to her original, two-dimensional habits in the later seasons.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: Seems to make a genuine effort to change and be a good person at the end of Season 5. However, in Season 6 (with a new actress in place), she regresses to her old self without explanation.
Pet the Dog: Comforting Eric after he told her he saw their parents having sex. Due to this, Eric was a complete basket case, and Red and Kitty thought he was on drugs. Since he couldn't bring himself to admit what was really wrong, Laurie bluntly told them "he saw you guys doing it!", then happily (and sincerely) told Eric "I helped!". She and Eric both lampshade this, Eric noting that her being nice is odd and Laurie apologizing for being poor at it as she's not used to it.
Put on a Bus: Halfway through Season 3, she went to Chicago and was no longer in the main cast.
"You just hung vacancy signs on your asses, and my foot is looking for a place to stay!"
The patriarch of the Forman family. A hard-nosed veteran who always seems to be annoyed at something. Worked at a factory until it shut down, at which point he became a supervisor at a department store (and Eric's superior). Eventually has a heart attack, which prompts Eric to stay home from college. When he recovers, he purchases a troubled muffler store. Eric and Red are often at odds but there is an understanding between them when there has to be.
Ass Shove: While he's always threatening to put his foot in someone's ass, he's only ever done it once and that was on Iwo Jima. It's not stated whether it was an enemy or an incompetent comrade (or even superior officer).
Mean Boss: To be fair, the people that work for him do tend to be really stupid. When he gets the manager's job at Price Mart, Hyde congratulates him by saying "God help the poor bastards who work for you!" Red only smiles and laughs, taking it as a compliment.
Not so Above It All: For all his talk, Red is usually willing to be immature too. Examples include feeding the boys a dead possum in revenge for a prank, openly refusing to go to church, bluntly refusing to help people move, being unable to keep a straight face when talking about Eric killing Donna's cat and buying a motorcycle with his first paycheck instead of investing it in the family.
Not So Different: He and Eric are far more similar than either would admit: Both are very sarcastic, both are usually the sanest in their group of friends and both are genuinely kind and devoted friends beneath their facades.
Once an Episode: Red threatening to put his foot up someone's ass and/or calling someone a dumbass.
Real Men Eat Meat: In one episode Red's doctor tells him to watch his cholesterol. Kitty prepares him a healthy breakfast of fruits and vegetables, and Red is horrified at the prospect of not being able to eat meat.
Eric's mother and Red's wife. Attempts to be as cheery as possible, despite her son's constant snarking, her daughter's obvious sluttiness and disdain, and her husband's unending grumpiness. Works as a nurse at a hospital. Seems to suppress a lot of unpleasant thoughts in order to keep her bright personality.
Hidden Depths: During Career Day, Donna is embarrassed by the way Bob behaves at work and all the goofy promotions. He justifies the craziness, however, by saying it's all to pay for Donna's college and ensure a good future. (Except the presence of a monkey, which was for his own amusement.)
Put on a Bus: When Tommy Chong was arrested by the end of Season 4, Leo obviously disappeared from view. Sometime into Season 5, it was revealed that he had left town (leaving Hyde a goodbye letter) to go back to his family. The Bus Came Back towards the end of Season 7, though, mainly to fulfill the "idiot" role originally held by Kelso before Ashton Kutcher's departure.
Real Life Writes the Plot: His departure from the show only happened because Chong, being in prison, was no longer available to play the role.