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Headscratchers: That '70s Show
  • Anybody else find Donna to be a bit of a bitch in the episode 'Backstage Pass'? First, she doesn't have time to be with her boyfriend because of her job, and that's totally understandable. So she makes it up to him by taking him to a Ted Nugent concert. But then at the end of the concert, Eric and Donna get one backstage pass, and Donna decides to go. She tells him she'll be right back, but instead hangs out with Ted Nugent. And when Eric and Donna meet back up, Eric tells Donna how crappy his night was and she gets pissed off at him! And then, she talks about how important it was for her (becausera she got to interview Ted Nugent and she works at a radio station), but she didn't think about interviewing him until he offered, and even after the interview, she just stayed with him. And Eric is willing to let go of the incident if she feels sorry (she doesn't have to apologize, but instead she tells him she's not sorry, and after Hyde and Fez show up, (rudely) asks Eric if they can leave. I love Donna, but she was a bitch in this episode.
    • +1 to Bitch when Eric says that Kitty would have apologized to Red for leaving him hanging like that and she says "Well they're married and we're not." So Donna in that episode believes you only have to treat people you date with decency after you marry them. Till then, do what you want! WHEEEEE!
    • Well, it makes sense that she was. It was a build-up to the breakup episode.
      • The break up episode makes it even worse! As eric wants to make a certain level of commitment (teenage promise ring, not exactly earth shattering stuff really) Donna spends the rest of the episode fantasizing about how he'll hold her back in her quest for some type of greatness. Not because he says he will, mind you, when she brings up things she'd like to do later in life he basically says "hey sure, but when you picture yourself doing those things we're together right?" Not in her mind though. So even though Eric up to that point has pretty much bent to her will at every turn Donna believes it won't work out because she just so great at life itself he couldn't possibly do anything but drag her down long term. Keep in mind at this point it's never shown that Eric does poorly in school or that he's anything other than a bit of a social misfit who gets good marks all the time, with every bit the same potential as Donna.
      • And after she drops Eric, the lead weight that would drag her down, she picks up Casey Kelso, a character who embodies everything she claims to have wanted to avoid in her relationship with Eric. She proceeds to screwing up her exalted future as quickly as possible, culminating in cutting class to get drunker than any other character to date, while Casey, her date was stone cold sober. Classy Lady indeed.
      • Yes, she and even Eric's family don't make me feel like they were equal in their relationship. Like the "reacher and settler" theory in How I Met Your Mother.
    • In the episode "We're Not Gonna Take It" she calls Eric a jackass because he asked Bob why Jo fired him. Jo had just broken up with Bob and Donna never told Eric in the first place. Bit of a "Grinch" and Creator's Pet in my opinion.
    • In short, you're wrong, Donna's not a bit of a bitch in that episode. She's just a bitch in general, pretty much.
  • What exactly was Red's problem? He was always so rude to everyone, especially his wife and son, but God forbid anyone ever be rude to him. What a hypocritical egotist! He acted like he was some God. What grand thing did he ever do in his life to make him think he deserved the respect he felt he should have?
    • Vietnam.
      • Red wasn't in Vietnam, he was in Korea, something that was mentioned in nearly every single freaking episode.
    • Well to be fair, Red only really acts like a jerk to people when he thinks they did something stupid, until then he's plenty nice to them. And as for the gang, he's only rude to them because to him they're just a bunch of teenagers hanging out at his house being stupid, which nine times out of ten is true. Also there are episodes where Red shows that he really does care for everyone.
    • Reading between the lines, it's entirely likely that Red has a couple of major Freudian Excuses going on. For one thing, keep in mind that Red is a hardcore Republican and that during the time the show is set Jimmy Carter is President. Red's also a devoted Green Bay Packers fan, and apparently they were cellar-dwellers during the time the show was set. Hence why he's in such a bad mood all the time-when Ronald Reagan moved into the Oval Office and the Packers started winning championships again, he probably cheered up quite a bit.
    • But Laurie manipulates him as she wants. He is certain that she is a perfect, innocent little angel.
      • Until he finds out that she's living with a guy and lied about it. Afterwards he's far more even in his treatment of both his kids.
    • To be fair to the man, both of his children have grown up to be fairly irresponsible bums and potheads, and he's taken in another kid on top of it from a troubled family. Doesn't entirely excuse his behavior but the man's got a lot to be stressed about.
    • Red's problem was that he was a jerk. He was a jerk that had his moments, but he was a jerk. Don't know what's hard to understand about that.
  • The entire timeline cock-up bugs the heck out of me. Eight Christmases in four years, Eric turns 17 a year after Hyde in spite of them both being 16 during the same year, and so on and so forth. The 1970s setting really had nothing to do with the plot after the first season—would it have killed them to make some effort to create a plausable series of events?
    • I agree, at least about the Christmas episode. I don't even understand why TV shows feel the need to have a Christmas episode every year. This is especially true for shows that have a set timeframe and run for a long time, like MASH. The Korean War spanned three Christmases, but MASH was on for 13 years and had at least 12 Christmases.
      • It's a ratings thing, some shows (especially half-hour comedies) feel the need to compete with whichever network has the rights to the big-name Christmas specials at the time so they make their own in an attempt to cash in on the big Christmas rush.
    • In addition to the time continuity problem, I dislike how family members are never mentioned until they make an appearance. This may not be a problem when you're talking about someone like Kelso's brother because no one would have a reason to mention him until he's seen, but Red's brother is a good example. His mom (Marion Ross) shows up a few times, but she doesn't mention him having a brother. The same seems to be true about Eric's sister.
    • Given that Red's brother is seen as something of a disappointment, not mentioning him would actually make sense.
      • Red's brother is brought up in the very first episode Red's mom shows up. Repeatedly. She mentions him having a nicer car and a better job.
    • Well, in relation to the question above, I read somewhere the creators explained that each season of the series represented Half a year. Here's how it looked:
      Season One: 1976-77
      Season Two/Three: 1977
      Season Four/Five: 1978
      Season Six/Seven/Eight: 1979
    • That makes it even worse! That makes three Christmas in 1977 and 1979 and two in 1978, with only 1976 even resembling a normal year. It bugs me because they could've easily been deliberately vague about when it took place, but instead they chose a firm starting year for the series, thus dooming it to serious issues should it last more than four years. If they needed a real starting point, rather than making it vague and then Retconing it into some sort of sense after the fact, why start so late in the game and risk the show going on for longer than the era it takes place in? Why 1976 instead of 1974, or maybe JUST 1970?! The Ford episode wasn't that great...
    • They probably thought it won't last that long. Most shows don't. And they wanted to involve Star Wars.
      • According to The Other Wiki, the show was the only one to debut on FOX in 1998 and survive cancellation, and it lasted even longer than most of the shows at the time (Look up the fourth season opener on Family Guy for further reference). This, combined with the first season jump to 1977, caused the slowdown of the timeline, and it proved to be really problematic.
    • It bugs this troper that the group's junior year (and Jackie's sophomore year) lasted four seasons. I can't remember how long the first few seasons were supposed to be, but the third season should've been the end of junior year, but they don't mention senior year starting until the fifth season.
      • This brings up another problem. Jackie is a year younger than the rest of the group who graduated in 1979, so she should have still been in high school at the end of the show.
    • There's now a WMG about this.
  • Where the heck is Fez from? I once read an essay suggesting that he is from Curacao (because he mentions that they speak both Spanish and Dutch) but I can't find that now.
    • This troper read somewhere that he was from Borneo.
    • I think his country is deliberately described to fit no real one, so they could say what they want about it without offending anybody.
    • Hardtopronouncia.
      • Judging by the information given from in the penultimate episode, we know Fez's country can only be reached by Brazil. He mentions that he has to transfer from Brazil to his country, and that he's done it before. This leads to the conclusion that Brazil is the only place that flies there. Further more, it's mentioned that the name of the country depends on who you ask, the British, or the Dutch. However, the British wouldn't tell you because they hate the country where Fez is from. And the Dutch are impossible to understand, so when you ask them the name you can't understand it. Therefore we know these facts: It can only be reached by Brazil, it has a history with the British and the Dutch, and the British don't seem very fond of them. Have I thought long and hard about this? Yes! And I hope this nerdy information will be able to help Tropers everywhere.
    • Aruba?
      • Jamaica?
      • "Ooh, I wanna take ya,"
  • Fez also is not of Latin descent. Though he does have Latin pride.
  • Why the hell did Donna open the bathroom door anyway? If you think someone might be in there, wait for them to answer! Surely there could've been another way to start the Caught With His Pants Down episode.
    • Being fair, this is her house. Plus they might have more then one bathroom. And she might not have assumed that anyone was in the bathroom.
  • So let me get this straight, Eric gets engaged, and Red destroys most of his chance at a future? The fuck? And Kitty says nothing, even HELPING!
    • Kitty didn't want Eric to have a future because then he would leave her. Kitty continued to sabotage Eric's future even after Red gave up.
      • And Red only did everything to stop Eric from getting married as a means to keep Eric from rushing into anything he wouldn't be able to get through, and as a test of his resolve to marry Donna.
  • Tommy Chong as Leo doesn't make sense. He's played as a burnt out stoner in his 50s to 60s, but that would have had him born in the 1920s to 1910s, making him even older than Red. At best, he ought to be a burnt-out beatnik!
    • Drugs are older than you think. For instance, Reefer Madness came out in 1936, when he would have been around college age, so weed was already popular with youth even by then. LSD was invented two years later.
      • Yes, but the point stands that the "old hippie" tropes that surround Leo are hugely anachronistic. I suppose this is part of the joke.
      • I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that there's actually some kind of important difference between a hippie and a beatnik. But maybe Leo just keeps up with the times and reinvented himself as a hippie when that trend came along. Some old people are surprisingly culturally adaptable, in defiance of the stereotype.
    • Wasn't there an episode where they showed him as a young man around the time of WWII, and someone gave him some marijuana for the first time?
      • Yep. Red is surprised to learn that Leo is a military veteran, so we get treated to a flashback featuring a clean-cut, morally upstanding Leo leaving a military base after getting discharged and hitching a ride with a car full of stoned jazz musicians. And, yes, he is older than Red.
  • Why do the main characters have to express 1990's and later attitudes in a show set in the late 1970's?
    • How are they expressing 1990s attitudes? I figured it strange at first that they remind me more of the 90s in behaviour and traits than the 70s, but then this troper grew up in the 90s, and consequently developed a schema where he associated teenagers with 90s culture. Who's to say teenagers weren't the same in the 70s? Difficult to say unless you actually lived it. Ask anyone who grew up as a teenager in the 70s, and ask them if That 70s Show is a good reflection of what teenagers were like in the 70s. Whatever era, they were still teenagers. Although teenagers in the 70s weren't as highly sexed and useless as teenagers are now.
  • JBM: The Jackie/Hyde/Kelso triangle has always bugged me. Even if you can accept that Hyde and Kelso were good enough friends for Kelso not to have a problem w/ Jackie being w/ Hyde,you'd still have the issue of a very immature Jackie now dating another member of the same group she hangs out with and being able to deal w/ the issues that would cause. Sure she got angry when she saw Kelso kissing another girl after they had broken up,but the whole thing was presented in such a fraudulent manner that it was unbelievable. Jackie would have left the group after she left Kelso,because there would have been no place for her. Or the change in group dynamics would have caused the group to break up.
    • You can't say for sure whether or not she would leave or the group would break up. Keep in mind that she really had no other close friends at that point, and even if she only started hanging out with them because of Kelso, she did (sort of) become friends with the rest of them. At the very least, she became good friends with Donna (even if Donna wasn't that keen on it.) That would've been a difficult time for her, and she'd want to be around friends. As well, when she started dating Hyde, Kelso did have a problem with it, but he eventually got over it. I doubt he or anyone else in the group would let something like that tear everyone apart, since they didn't have any other close friends either.
    • Then there's the whole reason as to why Kelso and Jackie broke up that doesn't make much sense. Jackie (and everyone else including Kelso) claims Kelso's cheating broke them up when in fact it's Jackie's wanting to get married while they were still in high school. Kelso like anyone else doesn't want to, but him being Kelso figures she can't get married without him and runs away to California.
    • Kelso didn't have a problem with Hyde and Jackie getting together? Er wrong. Kelso spent a good part of their relationships openly exclaiming how Jackie should be back with him instead. Kelso saw it as a friendly rivalrly. Of course it wasn't a friendly rivalry, Jackie was well and truely with Hyde (until they split up later), but Kelso is just an idiot.
  • The episode when Eric was hit on by the gay student. Not wanting to sound homophobic, but that was unbelievable. In the late 1970's, homosexuality outside the bigger cities was a taboo (and wasn't too welcome in most areas of the cities) and unless Eric was exceptionally tolerant for that era, his responses would have been very harsh and probably would have caused the other guy a number of problems later. This seems to have been a case of the writer's views trumping historical reality.
    • Though the era's views on homosexuality may seem to lean towards the homophobic, the LGBT movement experienced relatively impressive gains throughout the 70s. The Stonewall riots were in June of 1969, and homosexuality was removed from the list of psychiatric disorders in 1973. The early 70s also displayed the first laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexuality, and the first openly gay people to be elected into political office. Although, to be fair to your point, the most notable of the political officials had been assassinated for their sexuality at the end of the decade, and the mainstream community generally became more opposed to the movement as homosexuals started coming out of the closet.
    • Also, Eric expressed rather clearly in the pilot episode that he seemed quite proud to be tolerant of alternative lifestyles when they're at the concert.
      • Not to mention that Red, of all people, didn't have a problem with his gay neighbors' sexuality and even had a good time watching football games on TV with them. The only reason he began to hate them, call them "freaks" and throw them out of his house was because they were Minnesota Vikings fans, not because of their sexuality.
      • Rule of Funny, also having a homophobic character on the show just makes things awkward
    • Not to be Captain Obvious, but That 70s Show is a fictional universe. Why should it have the same attitudes of the 70s that real life had? If it was a documentary trying to accurately portray real life, then yes, but it's a sit-com that just happens to have a 70s design theme. It's not the same thing.
  • It just bugs me that the Crowning Moment of Funny page was deleted.
  • What bugs me is how Eric and Donna broke up during the eighth season. What, just because he was in Africa? And the way the writers put the blame on him and had virtually every character side with Donna. In real-life, that would be logical. But in a TV show that previously had Eric as the main character? It reeked of laziness to get Donna together with Randy, that cross between Suspiciously Similar Substitute and The Scrappy. Something tells this troper that the writers didn't expect fans to cry foul over this development.
    • Yeah, it doesn't make any sense. Especially when you consider him going away to Africa was at least partly so they could have a future together! And fine, okay, she gets together with Randy, but then by the end of the season they break up, making the relationship completely pointless. I get they did that because Eric was coming back for the finale, and everyone hated Randy and all, but from a in-universe standpoint... It always bugged me.
    • While it is no excuse for bad writing, I think the in show excuse was that Eric realized in Africa it wasn't fair to Donna, waiting for him, so he broke it off. Later in the finale he said Red was right and he was a dumbass.
  • For that matter, the entire eighth season. What was the point? This troper would argue that the seventh season was the logical end to the series. Fans objected to Eric going to Africa, but there was a certain irony to him (out of every character) being the one to leave Point Place. For one, several familiar faces (Leo, Midge, Casey, Fenton) all made re-appearances. More importantly, all the main characters were moving forward with their lives - Eric deciding to become a teacher and leaving home for a program to pay for college; Hyde meeting his dad and getting a job at his record place; Donna's radio show gig; Kelso being a father and a police officer; Fez getting his own apartment (with Kelso); and Jackie embarking on her career. Even Red got a new business. Never before has a Post Script Season been such a horrible mistake.
  • What was Donna's problem in the season one Star Wars episode "A New Hope"? Red's boss' son David comes back no longer with scoliosis or asthma, but hot and thinking Donna is a nice piece of work herself. Eric is almost immediately threatened and spends the rest of the episode telling Donna to stay away from him. Donna is angry that Eric is acting like a possessive jerk and is somewhat justified in that... until the end of the episode when Eric challenges David to a fight and David reveals that he WAS trying to get into Donna's pants this whole time and Eric WAS completely right about everything. Instead of admitting to Eric that he was right about David (even if he was a tool about it) and that she should have listened, Donna yells at Eric for not trusting her or respecting her and marching off. What the hell? This entire incident is forgotten about by the next episode and this Troper was left confused and angry.
    • Just because David wanted to get into Donna's pants didn't mean she would've let him. Eric should've trusted Donna to say no.
  • The episode where Donna and Eric get caught having sex in the Vista Crusier. Just the begining part with the police for a few reasons:
    1. They were not on the side of the road or anywhere the public could see them presumably, Eric may be a bit of a dope sometimes but he's not that much of a dumbass.
    • No, it was kind of a given they were near a road. And even then, they were in public, and it was illegal for them to have sex there.
    1. The cop shouldn't of had the power to arrest them. While Eric smarted off to him, that's just petty. He should have at least just asked them to get dressed and leave.
    • Cops can arrest people for having sex in a public place. It's called "Public indecency", like streaking.
    1. How did he know where they lived?
  • One thing that always bugged me about the later seasons, why did the kids still hang out in the basement after Eric left? Am I the only one that found that strange? I'm sure they were welcome there but I would have thought Donna of all people would have found it awkward being around there.
    • For one, Hyde still lives there, and Donna hung out there before, why not now?
      • Why does Hyde still live there? He graduated school, had a steady job, and was MARRIED! Plus, Red caught him with weed late Season 7... Every other time that subject has come up, he's kicked him out until someone else took responsibility.
      • The key there is "graduated school and had a steady job". Despite his other failings, Hyde was meeting Red's definition of a responsible member of the community by earning his diploma and keeping a job. He thus would have gone rather easier on him than in other situations. He may not have said "Get the hell out and get your own place" because not-very-deep down he actually likes Hyde and didn't want him to leave until Hyde decided he wanted to.
  • Fair enough, the Hyde thing is reasonable. But I always thought it was weird with Donna after Eric left. They were supposed to get married, the basement would bring up so many memories.
  • What happened to the kid Fez was on the exchange with? I thought the point of the exchange was that you came back.
    • Well, there was an episode that focussed on Fez having to take a citizenship test to stay in America. Presumably that's when the exchange was over and the other child came home. But Fez's host parents allowed him to stay with them until he graduated high school, after which he got his own apartment with Kelso.
    • Exchanges aren't always literally "you send us a kid, we send you a kid back". They're usually played that way on TV shows for comedy and convenience, but in real life exchange programs have a bit broader scope. Fez's equivalent may have been from an entirely different town and may have come home years before Fez was even due to.
  • Midge is portrayed as a victorious feminist, with the voiceover crowd cheering when she throws an attitude at Bob. be she did not have a job, so she was not independant, and her family (mostly Bob) was seen eating sandwiches in the kitchen, denied a hot meal (it sounds sexist, but she has no job, it's the least she can do) because she is having her feminist friends over.
    • Bob is also somewhat sexist. The crowd was probably cheering that someone finally told him off.
    • Also it's easy to get a crowd to cheer for anything where you stand up for hot-button issues like feminism, even if it makes no sense.
  • It just bugs me that Donna, of all characters, is considered significantly hotter than Jackie, and to a ridiculous extent. Probably every single male character is obsessed with her! Laura Prepon, the actress who plays her, isn't exactly noted for her beauty, meanwhile Mila Kunis is something of a sex icon and has been on Maxim's Hot 100 multiple times. I know Jackie's personality is supposed to make her more unattractive on the show, but come ON.
    • Do you watch the show? Donna has been said to be somewhat hot but not nearly as Jackie. Everyone specially Jackie make fun of her tomboyish nature and her numerous physical imperfections. Jackie is the Liby, who everyone except Eric had the hots for her at some point, and even so Hyde told Eric to think of Jackie mute, and noticed how incredibly hot she is.
    • It's apples and oranges. Laura Prepon is a pale, blue-eyed statuesque valkyrie, and Mila Kunis is a petite Jewish sex goddess. They're both equally hot, but for different reasons.A
    • Before being hired onto T7S, Prepon was a model. So, clearly she kind of is "noted for her beauty."
    • First, and most obviously: the people calling Donna hot were usually attracted to her. All it took was a thirty-second conversation for a guy to realize that not only was Jackie annoying and unpleasant, or 15 when filming began and Laura Prepon was 17. Kunis looked like a cute little girl up until season three or so; all her male castmates were at least four years older than her, making her seem even younger by comparison. Third: Laura Prepon was in Maxim's Hot 100 in 2000(at number 36); in 2001, she was at number 21 while Mila Kunis was at 62. Prepon also made appearances on the list at least twice more, in 2002 and 2005. The idea that Kunis was "way hotter" during the show's run is debatable.
  • This doesn't really bug me, it's more of a question about the 70's. In the episode where we see Eric's life had he never dated Donna, he is a loser on the chess team and earned a varsity letter. It's on a sweater he is wearing, is that how they used to do it in the 70s? At my school and every other I know of, you either put your letter on a varsity jacket or you just keep the letter.
    • Yes, it's called a varsity sweater, which was common until the 80s.
  • In "Eric's Corvette Caper" Red busts Eric for stealing his corvette and grounds him for a month. When Eric reveals that he stole the car to impress a girl, Red reduces the punishment to two weeks. Then Hyde and Fez come out and pin the fact that they drank all of Red's beer on Eric. And Eric just accepts it! Why on earth didn't Eric just say "I was gone all night with Red's corvette so I couldn't have drank the beer. You two were the only ones here all night."
    • He's grown so used to being treated unfairly that he doesn't bother to fight it any more.

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