Think Happy Days for The Nineties and The Turn of the Millennium. Except this show is set in The Seventies instead of The Fifties.This show is about teenager Eric Forman and his friends and family living their lives in Point Place, Wisconsin through the years 1976 to 1979. Remarkably, despite only three years passing through the whole series' universe, it ran for eight seasons on Fox from 1998 to 2006, becoming the network's second-longest-running live-action sitcom after Married... with Children.Part of the humor came from anachronisms playing off modern audiences, such as the amazing video game graphics of Pong. The show's recurring running gag was that the teens often went down to Eric's basement for a "circle." Probably the best drug use humor ever used on any TV show. Even though it was never (explicitly) stated on what they were really doing down there, but you can pretty much guess (the camera in the circle represented the "item" being passed around). The occasional lighter being flashed and/or puffs of smoke billowing in the background help too.The show also employed other techniques such as scene transitions of the actors dancing in front of colorful backgrounds, split screens, scenes shown from a singular point of view (expressed through a hand held camera) and fantasy sequences.
That '70s Show contains examples of the following tropes:
After Tommy Chong went to prison, Bobcat Goldthwait appeared as Leo's cousin, implying he was going to be his replacement. He never appeared again.
The episode "A New Hope" featured plot points that were apparently meant to continue into a subsequent episode, most glaringly David Milbank and his attempts to court Donna. But for whatever reason, the writers didn't follow up on it, and David was never seen or mentioned again.
Attempts to give Eric a Catchphrase (Yes, yes!) petered out early in the first season.
Actually Pretty Funny: When Eric tells Red that his (Red's) mother died immediately after Eric told her "Y'know, being nice for once wouldn't kill you.", there's a beat where Red looks at Eric with his usual stern demeanour, before he bursts into laughter.
The Alcatraz: Red turns the house into one in "Red Sees Red".
All Girls Want Bad Boys: This is part of Donna's attraction to Kelso's brother Casey (along with his car), who even Kelso realizes is bad news. It was also the reason why a cashier at Price-Mart that Red was trying to set up on a date with Eric ended up falling for Red himself instead - Hyde explains to Eric that the cashier loved Red because he was a "hardass."
All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Inverted with Hyde, who, among other reasons, doesn't want to date Jackie because she's a cheerleader, thus a "square", opposed to him. However, after they get together, she once does a dance for him in her uniform.
AlternateFuture Me Scares Me: In one episode, Eric's guardian angel takes him into an alternate timeline in which he'd never dated Donna—including a foray into the 80s, where Donna is married (with kids) to Hyde, and Alternate!Eric is a hopeless loser. Notable because even though it was an alternate timeline, it was the only time the show ever accurately depicted the 1980s (70s!Eric even remarks on "The Safety Dance," which will be released five years into his future).
A Real Man Is a Killer: Red enjoys killing things, ranging from the deer and fish he kills during his hunting and fishing trips to the squirrels that he shoots with a pellet gun. He occasionally goes on solo hunting and fishing trips when he's very angry and needs to cool down, and Eric noted that Red found gutting worms on a hook to be very therapeutic.
Red: I killed people (in the Korean War), never said that I didn't enjoy it.
Note that Red doesn't believe the trope himself — on the hunting trip, when Eric missed an easy shot on a deer, Red berated him for that, but relented when Eric made a much more difficult shot on a tin can and admitted he missed on purpose because he didn't want to kill the deer.
Kitty: I have put up with a lot of weird things in this neighborhood. Hot tubs. Wife swapping. Jogging.
Artistic License - Geography: The two Canadian border crossings nearest anywhere in Wisconsin are in Grand Portage, Minnesota, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Either way, that must have been some good beer to make such a trek.
Ass Shove: Red's recurring threat to whoever offends him.
Auto Erotica: This show has it all over the place, but in particular with Red's Corvette (which it should be mentioned is not, in fact, a red Corvette).
Red. He always defends Eric when strangers criticize him or their relationship.
Eric and Laurie constantly jump at the chance to deliver a low blow to one another, but when Red overreacts to the point that it makes Laurie cry, Eric stands steadily by her, additionally in one episode when Eric walks in on Red and Kitty having sex and is traumatized, Laurie finds out and comforts him.
Eric's generally a skinny wimp, but if you push him too far he will retaliate and kick your ass.
And then there's Jackie, while not a nice person, still a girlish cheerleader who's normally even more useless in a fight than Eric. When Laurie insulted Jackie for letting her steal Kelso, though, Jackie finally snapped and attacked Laurie in a vicious Cat Fight. Even Hyde was impressed, telling Jackie that you kicked her ass, man! Jackie also beats up her karate instructor in her first lesson after Donna makes a point about her (Jackie's) breakup with Hyde.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Donna MUCH of the time. She can get mad at Eric easily because he's less prone to fight back and she's considered justified.
Bland-Name Product: "Sheer Heart Attack" features graham crackers from the "Kubler Dwarves" (a parody of the Keebler Elves).
In "Misty Mountain Hop", Eric gets mad at Donna for eating his "Twonkie".
Laurie/nearly every other girl introduced later (blonde), Jackie (brunette), and Donna (redhead). This changed after Laurie's character was written out from Season six onward and Donna went blonde in season seven (for a different role the actress was filming).
When Fez meets the trio of ladies from the CB radio in season two, they are a perfect example of this trope.
Bowdlerize: The UK version has a lot of swear words (including the many times Red threatens to put a foot up someone's ass or calls someone a dumbass), drug content, and sexual content cut, making the show unwatchable at times.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: An interesting case occurred in the Halloween episode "Too Young to Trick and Treat, Too Old to Die", where after Kelso made a comment that was actually the main idea of the episode (namely being in an Alfred Hitchcock movie without knowing), a musical sting played, where with each beat that played, we cut to a closeup of each member of the gang staring at the camera.note Actually, they turn their head to the camera in time with the dramatic music.
In "Water Tower", after Eric tells Laurie that the reason he was acting weird was because he saw Red and Kitty have sex, the camera zooms in on Laurie's shocked face looking to said camera before she hugs Eric in comfort.
Bucket Booby-Trap: Horribly subverted in one episode when the target of said booby trap is not the one intended (Red, instead of Kelso.)
Bumbling Dad: Mercifully averted with Red, who is clearly an intelligent man, and hardly ever does anything foolish. Played straight with Bob and Kelso.
Eric is typically intimidated by his father Red, but in one episode he finally has enough and bluntly tells Red to stop feeling sorry for himself and support Kitty, who's extremely distraught - first by believing she's pregnant and feeling not supported by Red, later by going through menopause and not being able to have any more children.
Subverted in one episode where Eric called Red out when he thought he cost him a good job at a bank, only to learn Kitty did it. Then Eric tries to buddy up to Red when it looks like he's going to kick his ass.
Subverted even further in the episode where Red attempts to set up Eric with a co-worker only for her to fall for him instead. Eric decides to call out Red for having been too tough on him and therefore ruining his self-esteem. Red then rather vehemently recounts what his father had in store for him right around Eric's age: The Navy. Red then tells Eric to be thankful that he has a father who is trying to hook him up because if he wants, he can unleash hell from depths hitherto uncombed. Not surprisingly, this shuts Eric up.
Camp Gay: Fenton, the jewellery (later department store, then Fez and Kelso's landlord) salesman. He attempts to make the jewellery look more 'appealing' by wearing it to show how it looks. Eric asks if used the same sales technique while he worked at the lingerie boutique. He doesn't deny it.
After displaying some jewelry for Eric by wearing it:
Fenton: I used to work in a lingerie boutique... (beat) They fired me...
Canada, Eh?: Played hilariously straight when the guys travel to Canada to buy beer and are detained by a couple of Mounties (played by Joe Flaherty and Dave Thomas) when Fez misplaces his Green Card. They solve the situation by singing "O Canada". The mounties do, as one would imagine, of course, confiscate their beer.
Cannot Talk to Women: In one episode, Eric can only say "Uh...... buh." in the presence of a girl he finds really attractive.
Red's "Dumbass!" and Fez's "Good day./I said good day!" are the most memorable.
Any time Red threatens to put his foot up somebody's ass also qualifies.
Whenever anyone pulls a prank/someone snarks while Kelso is around, he says "BURN!!!"
Bob almost always greets people with "Hey there, hi there, ho there!"
Catholic School Girls Rule: To punish her for running away to California, Bob enrolls Donna in Catholic school. At first Eric tries to talk him out of it, but then he sees what Donna looks like in her uniform (which in actuality looks distinctly unflattering on the well-built woman). The other male members of the group share his opinion:
Donna: Geeze, what is it with you guys and this uniform?
Fez: It makes us want to corrupt you.
In an interesting variation the uniform itself is actually rather realistic with a skirt that's roughly knee-length, and a shapeless shirt.
Although nearly everyone goes through gradual character development over the period of the series, the most notable was Jackie when she started dating Hyde.
The latter part of season six until the beginning of season eight turned out to be this for Kelso, as it showed his development as an expectant father (season six), taking care of a newborn child (season seven), and finding and getting the opportunity to work near and live with his new family (season eight).
Christmas Episode: A few of them, including one with a Christmas remix of the theme tune.
Chocolate Baby: After Hyde meets his real father, William Barnett, who's black, Hyde mentions his mother must have been pretty relieved when he came out white.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Donna has a younger sister for exactly one episode. She is never seen again. They lampshaded this in the credits of one episode (which was parodying the "tune in next time to find out" ending from Soap).
Narrator: "What ever happened to Midge's daughter, Tina?"
Closer to Earth: Donna, most of the time, is more mature than Eric. Only by comparison between Kelso and Jackie, and inverted with Jackie and Hyde. Also Gender Flipped by Kitty and Red, who occasionally has to deal with his wife's emotional meltdowns due to her menopause.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Lots of characters have moments of this (especially when they're in the circle), but Fez and Kelso have the most.
Comic Book Time: The show starts in 1976 and ends at the stroke of midnight on December 31st 1979, but lasted eight seasons.
Cool Car: Being a show set in the 1970s, there's a lot of them.
Eric's 1969 Vista Cruiser. Sometimes The Alleged Car because it breaks down often in the series.
Hyde gets an El Camino in the middle of the series and Eric is a little jealous of it.
Kelso thinks his old van is cool but his friends aren't too impressed. Jackie thought it was disgusting.
Later Kelso's van is replaced with a Volkswagon Microbus which is much nicer than his old one. The van is replaced by an MG Midget later in the series after the VW gets destroyed.
Jackie is occasionally seen driving a Lincoln Town Car.
In the episode A New Hope, in which the gang see the first Star Wars film, Kelso correctly guesses that Leia will end up with Han rather than Luke, a prediction that Hyde immediately shoots down.
In the episode The Punk Chick, Kelso and Red modify a Pong game system to make the paddles smaller, thinking the game is too easy. Upon successfully modifying the system (which wouldn't have been possible in reality), Kelso excitedly predicts that "home computers" are the future. Red dismisses this as nothing more than Kelso being his usual Cloud Cuckoo Lander self.
Red after he decides to let Hyde stay at his house.
Red: Goddamnit! I'm tired of being fucking Santa Claus! Steven, you get your shit together, and you get your ass in the Goddamn car! We're going, fucker! Now, Goddamnit! Move it!
Kitty: You are just the sweetest man alive.
Fez also has quite the potty mouth, if we consider all of his "son of a bitch" moments. Especially his rant when he's about to be deported.
Fez: Where am I going to go? France? Fuck France!
Kitty dropped one on Red when he encouraged Eric and Donna to move away.
Kitty: (After ranting about missing her last summer with Eric, Red has suggested a car show in Kenosha for the 4th of July) A car show?! I don't wanna go to a Goddamn car show in fucking Kenosha! I want three more fucking months with my baby boy, and now they're gone because of your bullshit!! WAY TO GO, DUMBASS!!!
Red is a certified master at dishing these out. It's occasionally subverted when he lets Eric off the hook for things that initially piss him off but that Eric did for reasons of which Red would approve:
When he ended up covered in oatmeal after Eric's Bucket Booby-Trap backfired, Red was initially ready to go nuclear on Eric. However, when he learns that Eric was trying to get back at Kelso, instead of punishing Eric Red decides to show him how to do a prank right.
On another occasion, when Eric stole the Corvette to go on a date with a hot blonde cheerleader, Red lets him off with a very stern warning to "stay away from that girl."
Fez: Oh, we're going to the Red Lobster to have a romantic dinner of red lobster.
Eric speaks one as well in "The Relapse":
Eric: I'm gonna go yell at her with...yelling!
And Kitty in "Grandma's Dead":
Kitty: My son, getting into a bar fight like some kind of...bar fighter!
Did You Just Have Sex?: After Donna and Eric have sex for the first time, Jackie immediately notices and points that out. It helps that there's visual aid for the audience, with the words "I had sex" labeled on Donna's forehead and "Guilty" on Eric's.
Diet Episode: Red, after his heart attack, tries to sneak around his diet. After he gets busted, he says "This isn't food! This is what food eats!"
Digging Yourself Deeper: This goes for any of the kids, but Eric has a real knack for it. For example, when Donna is going to go away to college, Eric (who doesn't want her to leave) ruins their intended last moment. He later says that he was well-aware he was ruining it and just continued to ruin it anyway.
Digital Head Swap: Done in the scene where after getting high, the gang sees Kitty's and Red's heads on each others bodies.
When Kelso continues to ride Jackie's back about her kissing a co-worker, completely ignoring the fact that he's done far worse with other women behind Jackie's back when they were together. Kelso himself attempts to justify this by claiming "you cheated out of hate, while I cheated out of joy".
After they break up, Donna and Eric go to the Price Mart Ball, and are awkward around each other until they talk and agree they're just there as friends. Donna leaves and Eric is approached by a girl who asks him to dance, but he turns her down since he's there with Donna. Red then points out Donna is talking to several men. A few scenes later, Kitty points out Eric dancing with the girl, and Donna yells at him, suddenly deciding they're on a date.
Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male / Black Comedy Rape: The first time Laurie and Kelso have sex, she forces herself on him while he repeatedly tells her no. Kelso's "noes" quickly turn into "yeses" as the van starts a rockin'. When he tells the guys about it in the circle afterward, it's obvious that he is not traumatized at all but rather is stoked that he had sex with Laurie. He does bring up the fact that she violated him, but he only says this as an alibi for going through with it even though he was with Jackie. The guys are not convinced.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Red has this reputation; to the point that when the guys were mistakenly arrested for stealing Kelso's grandmother's car, one of the arresting officers asks Eric if he's Red Foreman's kid, before being told "You poor bastard!" after confirming it.
During the War: Red, when Kitty starts complaining that the kids don't go to church anymore, mentions he became close with God when his destroyer was sunk in World War II. He brings it up numerous times later on, but only goes as far as "When my destroyer went down in the Pacific..." after the first mention.
Eagle Land: Red tends to view America as Type 1. Hyde views it as Type 2.
Early-Installment Weirdness: In the pilot, Kitty and Red are having a party with a whole houseful of friends. In every other episode, they don't seem to have any friends but Bob and Midge, which explains why they put up with their craziness. Also Eric, Hyde, and Kelso all refer to each other by their first names, although that could be because the writers wanted to establish them.
The Teens: Eric is phlegmatic, Donna is melancholic, Kelso and Laurie are sanguine, Hyde is choleric, Fez is phlegmatic II, Jackie is sanguine/choleric, and Randy is phlegmatic/sanguine.
The Adults: Red is choleric, Kitty is phlegmatic, Bob is sanguine, Midge is melancholic, and Leo is phlegmatic II.
Fridge Brilliance: This is invoked by Hyde upon learning that his real father is black. According to him, it explains "my fro, my inherent coolness, my constant suspicion of the man."
The Friends Who Never Hang: Eric and Jackie barely had any storylines with only the two of them in That '70s Show. While Jackie started out as The Friend Nobody Likes, eventually the entire gang warmed up to her, and she eventually shared storylines with pretty much all of them... except for Eric, who kept wanting to have nothing to do with her throughout the series.
Funny Foreigner: Fez. Even the characters aren't sure what country he's from, though Wild Mass Guessing favours Trinidad and/or Tobago. It seems to be a completely made-up location, at one point he mentions it has a population of around fourteen and a message in a bottle is the most reliable way to get a message home. And everyone on the other side of the island is white and speaks with a horrible fake English accent. (I'm looking at you, Justin Long.) And people are outnumbered by lizards - Played for laughs, but actually very common in smaller countries (with lizard habitats, of course). People tend to forget that animals other than themselves can be quite numerous.
It's not hard to see where Eric's attributes and personality stems from. Red even lampshades it in one episode when Eric beats up a Green Bay Packers fan at a football game, claiming Eric's got the "Foreman rage in him".
Also, Grandma Bea and Laurie. Evil does skip a generation.
Donna, much like her mother, winds up dating a guy nowhere near as attractive as her.
The suggestions about the kids getting high in "the circle". For the first few seasons, the show couldn't name any drugs.
There is one episode with the parents in the circle (without the younger cast). They were also all high in that episode.
The producers have said that the camera pans around the circle should be thought of as focusing on a cast member just moments after they have passed "something" on, the camera having just missed the exchange.
There was one episode where Eric, at the beginning of a circle scene, said, "Mm-hmm, thissa good pot." Then he holds up cards and we see that everyone's playing poker.
In one episode Kitty apparently finds a bag of Eric's weed and obliviously asks why he has a bag of oregano.
In 'The Wrestling Show', Hyde wears a T-shirt that clearly says "Cannabis" on it, and has a marijuana leaf below it.
Similarly, Leo often wears an upside-down marijuana leaf necklace, especially in season four.
In the episode Eric's Naughty No-no, the guys see an X-rated movie, which makes Eric think he needs to start using new "moves" when having sex with Donna. Later in the episode, when Eric and Donna are about to have sex, the camera pans up to one of Eric's G.I. Joe figures with its hand in a very suggestive position. Off-screen, Donna cries out in shock and disgust. Naughty no-no indeed...
Donna's fantasy in season one about the washing machine with an unbalanced load.
Done In-Universe in one of the episodes after Eric and Donna break up, the gang goes to Funland where Hyde picks up a t-shirt emblazoned with Fun University. On the back, it says F U.
Good Parents: Red and Kitty. It may seem hard to believe with Red taking Laurie's side over Eric's along with belittling him constantly and Kitty drinking a lot (which it is explained early on that her job is what causes her to drink), but when you think about it, they are better parents to Eric (and Hyde when he moves in) than any of the other parents in the series. As mean as Red can be to Eric, he's only punished him when he actually deserved it, and even reluctantly apologized one time when Eric hadn't done anything wrong and punished him.
Has Two Thumbs and...: In the first episode of season two, "Garage Sale", Hyde bakes a batch of special brownies, prompting Kelso to say "You know what's got two thumbs and really likes brownies?" (points thumbs at himself) This guy!"
Heroes Want Redheads: Mainly with Eric and Donna, but a vast majority of male characters (from Hyde, Kelso, Kelso's brother Casey and Fez to many one-time minor characters) had an interest in Donna, despite her beauty being subjective.
Kelso: Hey guys, guess which part of my body I nicknamed "Pink Floyd".
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episodes from the first four seasons had rather straightforward titles. In season five, all episode titles were names of Led Zeppelin songs with sometimes a "normal" title stuck behind (example: Misty Mountain Hop aka Jackie's Cabin). All season six episodes were named after The Who songs, ditto for season seven and Rolling Stones and season eight (except the finale) and Queen.
I Know Karate: Kelso unfortunately finds that out when he tries to beat up Jackie's co-worker after she kissed him.
Informed Attractiveness: Donna has been called 'The Hottest Chick in Town' several times. There was also a Running Gag about how she is way out of Eric's league. While Donna can be pretty, she's certainly not hotter than Jackie or most of the female guest stars and the idea of her being out of Eric's league is asinine. Potentially Justified by changes in the perception of attractiveness—Mila Kunis is very attractive by today's standards, but Florence Henderson was considered extremely hot when she was on The Brady Bunch.
Internal Reformist: Hyde meets a girl as rebellious and anti-establishment as he is, but she leaves because she wants to go to college so she can get a job in the government to work the system from within.
Red: Kitty, every time we have an empty room, you wanna fill it up with a stray child. Youíre like Ö the old lady who lived in a shoe.
Kitty: Did you just call me old ?
It's a Wonderful Plot: S4 Ep01, actually titled "It's a Wonderful Life", has Eric down in the dumps about his and Donna's breakup and wishing they had never been together. An angel (Wayne Knight [Newman on Seinfeld and Igor on Toonsylvania]) shows Eric what his and everyone else's life would be like if he and Donna had never started dating, and it sucks bad. However, in a subversion, Eric still thinks it's worse that he had her and lost her, though he does eventually agree when the angel shows him a flashback of all the wonderful moments he never would have had.
Red muses on what he thought life was going to be like by that point when he was off at war, done in the style of a 1950's educational film. The fantasy ends with Eric asking to borrow the car and Red telling him to take the hovercraft instead. Back in reality Kitty gives him an odd look. "Hovercraft?" He then shouts angrily, "What? They promised us hovercrafts! Just another damn broken promise."
Another episode has Red playing Santa Claus, a little girl says she wants a flying car for Christmas. Red's reply? "Yeah, so did I, when I was your age. But then the future came and took my dream away. Just like it will take away yours."
Another episode uses a deliberately over-the-top version of the future (1997) when Laurie is dating Kelso, and Red is imagining what their future will be like. The Formans live in a house resembling Superman's Fortress of Solitude, Fez is their robot butler, Serve-O-Tron 2000, and Red takes a jetpack to Saturn on business for a week, warning Kelso that it's off to the asteroid mines if he doesn't have a job by the time Red gets back.
Everyone has moments of this, but Hyde and Laurie take it to an art form. (Hyde will also occasionally lampshade his jerkass nature.) Jackie is also a shameless bitch, though she stumbles somewhat pulling this off against Hyde.
Red might qualify; he practically hates people:
Red: This house is always littered with kids! It's like we're...Mormons!
Hyde, for all his Jerkass tendencies he is shown to actually care about his friends when they need him and has a sweet spot in his heart for Kitty and Jackie, who can guilt him by crying.
Even before they dated or were really even friends, he appeared to have at least a bit of a soft spot for Jackie, or at least a protective streak regarding her. He heard one of her boyfriends bad-mouthing her behind her back, and, without a moment's hesitation, punched the guy so hard he fell onto the table behind him and broke it.
As abrasive and foul-mouthed as he is, Red truly does love his family, even Eric.
Done literally in-universe. In one episode, Fez daydreams about how cool it would make him if he jumped over a shark like Fonzie before Hyde reminds him it was arguably the worst moment in TV history.invoked
Casey Kelso. His reputation as a handsome charming ladies' man comes off as an Informed Attribute when he's completely unlikeable who never does anything decent in any of his appearances and in his latter performances looks greasy and unhealthy. He acts as a corrupting influence on Donna, getting her to skip school and drink in the middle of the day — keep in mind of course Donna is underage and much younger than him. However even when saying horrible things, he continues to charm everyone around him, which Donna even notes doesn't line up ("The words are wrong, but they sound so good coming out of his mouth"). He also tells Donna he loves her, then casually brags to Eric that they're "just words". When the parents finally intervene on his relationship with Donna, Casey just breaks it off immediately, offering no resistance to them, and walks away breaking Donna's heart. He never suffers any consequences or repercussions. He later reappears twice, both times as sleazy as ever, and aside from a Shut Up, Hannibal! from Eric again gets away scot-free.
Laurie constantly tortures Eric, is incredibly promiscuous, purposefully ruins Kelso's relationship with Jackie, not to mention forcing herself on him, and routinely takes her barbs against Eric further than words and sabotages his plans with his friends. She never suffers any repercussions from her actions that last any further than a single episode, and is always Red's little girl.
Kissing Cousins: In S4 Ep14, "Eric's Hot Cousin", Eric meets his cousin, Penny, after several years, and she is now all grown up, leaving Eric trying to fight off incestuous feelings. When she reveals she's adopted and propositions him, he is about to happily give in before she reveals it was a prank she pulled in revenge to one he pulled on her when they were kids.
Knight in Shining Armor: Jackie views Hyde literally as one after he sticks up for her, much to his displeasure. The audience sees Hyde as Jackie sees him in an Imagine Spot, even as he repeatedly insists that he's not that kind of guy.
Lady Drunk: Kitty, mostly after she hits menopause.
Laser-Guided Karma: Kelso cheated on Jackie with Laurie, only to later on learn that Laurie is cheating on him. Unlike other examples in this trope, a hurt Kelso (dumb as he is) realizes how much he hurt Jackie and therefore believes he deserved to be hurt like this himself.
Last Name Basis: Everybody, except Jackie (after they start dating), Kitty and Red, calls Steven Hyde "Hyde", and everybody, except Jackie and Kitty, calls Michael Kelso "Kelso". Hyde calls Eric Foreman "Foreman". Casey Kelso calls Donna by her last name.
Laxative Prank: In "Dine and Dash", the rest of the gang split out of a meal early and leave Donna and Eric with the check. To "show that they're good sports", Donna and Eric make a batch of special brownies. Afterwards, they reveal that the special ingredient wasn't marijuana but Chocolate Super Lax.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "Going Mobile", when all of the show's prominent characters except Eric are gathered in the church for Eric and Donna's wedding, Kitty suggests that the reason Eric isn't present is because he is caught in traffic. Hyde disagrees, stating that 90% of the town's population is in the room, a reference to how only the main characters are ever on the show.
Les Yay: In-universe example; Kelso thinks that Laverne and Shirley are "one bottle of wine away from making out", just like Jackie and Donna.
Like a God to Me: When the (false) revelation that Eric slept with Midge hits, everyone is shocked and Kelso yells, "Eric! You are a god!" He and Fez then bow down to him.
Likes Older Women: When Kelso and Fez go to the grocery store to try and pick up an older woman for Fez, they grab one woman's butt while she's bending over in the produce section. The woman turns out to be Kitty, who takes the boys home and warns them about the cougars that prowl that store. As she's leaving, she turns around and thanks them for the compliment, which she says made her day.
The producers initially wanted the love triangle to be Eric/Donna/Hyde, the seeds of which can be seen in a few episodes of the first season, but the idea was dropped.
Lysistrata Gambit: Played with in one episode, in which Eric and Donna decide to hold out on each other after an argument over a school report. While Eric caves in the end, Donna had to bluff her way for him to concede as a last-ditch effort.
In the same episode, Donna accidentally gives her mother the idea (she's either so horny or such an airhead it's never even occurred to her). Instead of offering advice, she cheerfully announces that she's getting the bathroom painted.
Jackie and Hyde. Before they got together, their interactions consisted almost entirely of slinging barbs and insults at each other. Continues in a pale imitation during their relationship.
Also applies to Kelso and Jackie, especially after they got back together.
Manly Tears: When Eric presents him with a ticket to a Green Bay Packers game, Red immediately begins trembling with happiness. He then runs out of the room as he starts to cry the joyful version of this trope.
Mean Boss: Red is one of these as the manager of Price-Mart, and doesn't deny it if you mention it to him. When the rest of the family is congratulating Red on getting the job, Hyde says "God help the poor bastards who work for you!" Red merely smiles and laughs, taking it as a compliment.
Misery Builds Character: According to Red, "In order for [my son] to be a responsible adult, he has to be miserable now!"
S7 Ep 20, "Gimme Shelter" has this happen with Kelso and Fez. They're looking for an apartment and find a great one only to discover the landlord is Fenton, an enemy of Fez, who refuses them a lease. As they're leaving Kelso comments that they'll have to find some place to live with the baby, referring to his with Brooke, however, Fenton misinterprets this and lets them move in since he can't turn away two men raising a baby.
Monkeys on a Typewriter: In "Battle of the Sexists", Eric compares Donna making a basket to monkeys writing Hamlet.
Moon Landing Hoax: In the episode "Can't You Hear Me Knocking": Kelso accidentally threatens the president and the gang start to believe that everything is the Feds coming to arrest them. Even a car parking outside the house.
Eric: The Feds wouldn't park a car right outside my house
Hyde: Everything you think the Government aren't doing, they are doing, the only thing they didn't do was land man on the moon, Spielberg shot the whole thing in a Hollywood movie set, that's how he got the job for Jaws!
Ms. Fanservice: Once Mila Kunis turned eighteen the show went all out, putting her and Laura Prepon in various sexy outfits. Samantha Hyde's entire purpose was to be this. Laurie and several female guest stars also filled this trope.
Multiple Demographic Appeal: The show was expected to fare well with teens and young adults (i.e. those around the same age as the cast), and it did, but the makers were surprised following the pilot at how popular it was among middle-aged adults (i.e. those who'd been teens/young adults during the time-frame of the show).
Fez saw Donna for the first time when he and Hyde walked in on her changing her clothes.
Prompting Kelso to repeatedly try to catch her in the buff. He never did, but his persistence caused Donna to Throw the Dog a Bone and flash him on purpose so he'd leave her alone (which seems weird if you remember that the gang went skinny-dipping in season 1).
Naked in Mink: Kitty tells Donna that when Red left for Korea, she gave him a boudoir photo of her wearing nothing but a fur coat.
Nerd Nanny: Donna and/or Jackie for Eric, Kelso, and Fez.
Never Say "Die": The show refrains from using the word "marijuana" or any of the common slang for it. They often refer to it as "the stash". Some of the adults call it "marijuana" once or twice. But mostly it's just "the stash" or they leave the viewer to make the obvious conclusion. Every use of the word "pot" played with this but turned out to be a real pot (in a Poker game, kitchenware, that sort of stuff). Red tends to call it dope, and as such, refers to anyone using it as dopeheads or hopheads.
No Name Given: Fez is short for "foreign exchange student". His actual name is played with during one episode where he does say it, but is drowned out by the sound of a school bell. During this scene, Fez' actor just said the names of all of the main actors in a row quickly.
Noodle Incident: Fez never does get around to telling that story of how he came to be naked in the basement; although he is quite eager to relate it, the others are determined to keep cutting him off.
And then there was what happened when someone finally asked Red about his threats to put his foot up various peoples' asses:
Hyde: You ever actually do that with your foot?
Red: Once, when I was at Iwo Jima...I can't talk about that.
We never see anyone actually smoke marijuana, although we do sometimes see a smokey room and it is very strongly implied.
Subverted when smoking cigarettes is prevalent during the earlier seasons, especially with Kitty.
There were a few hints that Hyde might be a smoker: he had no trouble smoking Donna's cigarette in season two, and put a cigarette butt in the beer Samantha was about to drink in season eight, but that's all.
Somebody in the group is a smoker. Kitty once closed her eyes and demanded a cigarette when she was trying to quit smoking, and someone reached in and handed her one. After she was handed the cigarette, all five members of the group present at the time pulled out lighters to light it.
When Red punished Eric by making him smoke a pack of cigarettes, he apparently did it offscreen, as he was never seen smoking on screen.
Not so Above It All: In one episode, even Jackie starts giggling like a schoolgirl after explaining to Fez that "penal colony" doesn't mean what he think it does.
Not Now, Kiddo: Kelso tells Jackie to watch him drink his eggs. Jackie tries to tell him something, only for Kelso to keep shutting her up, saying that whatever it is can wait till after he has drunk his eggs. She does so and after he has drunk his eggs, reminds him that he is actually allergic to eggs.
Red, as revealed in the episode where his mother dies. As he says, "She was the first one to call me 'Red.'" His real name is Reginald.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: While convincing Red to take Hyde back in the season 3 premiere, Leo (played by Canadian actor Tommy Chong) pronounces "out" in a decidedly Canadian manner.
Overly Long Name: Fez' real name and home country; taken to the point of a Running Gag. When Fez does say his real name but is drowned out by the bell, in real life he was reciting all the actors on the series' names.
Eric accidentally pulls Donna's pants down during a game of basketball, and it turns out she's wearing "granny panties", for which the rest of the group teases her mercilessly.
In "Eric's Birthday", Eric's sister Laurie is doing her laundry putting her jeans in a washing machine when Eric and his friends find her just wearing a red T-shirt and white undies, which she flashes Eric and his friends to prove that she, in fact, is wearing some. Kelso takes this as her seducing him.
Sometimes items from The Eighties appear in scenes. Examples include the Super Speak and Spell and the Intellivision II.
Whenever Eric's Star Wars toys were shown, they were rarely the original ones from the Seventies, but rather the contemporary ones from The Nineties and the Turn of the Millennium. Oddly enough, Boba Fett is mentioned in an episode which would appear to be an example of this, but he was actually introduced in 1978 in the infamous The Star Wars Holiday Special.
If you look closely in any of the Driving a Desk scenes, sometimes modern cars are seen in the background. This is also present in the theme song.
Raw Eggs Make You Stronger: Subverted and Played for Laughs. Kelso attempts to impress Jackie by working out and during a conversation with her announces that he's going to drink a cup of raw eggs. She tries to say something and he rudely stops her, drinking the eggs anyway. When he's done, she reminds him that he's allergic to eggs.
Donna dyed her hair blonde, because Laura Prepon did so for a film role.
Tommy Chong (Leo) was absent for two and a half seasons because of a prison sentence.
Eric leaves at the end of season seven because Topher Grace was going to be shooting Spider-Man 3 at the same time season eight would have been in production (which is why season eight had him 'replaced' with Josh Meyers as Randy).
Real Song Theme Tune: A cover of Big Star's "In the Street". By Cheap Trick, no less, a group who are substantially more famous than Big Star. Random score for a then-fledgling sitcom. In later seasons, the theme song would be appended to feature the line "we're all alright", from Cheap Trick's hit "Surrender".
Right Way/Wrong Way Pair: One strange '50s-style fantasy sequence had "Doofus and Diligent" (Kelso and Eric, respectively) working at a fast food restaurant. The segment was an Imagine Spot by Jackieís dad, using minimal character exaggeration, to show why Eric got the job and Kelso didnít. Jackie's dad intentionally (and rightly) framed her boyfriend Kelso as "Doofus". Eric, with the threat of his dad's foot up his ass, was of course "Diligent".
Room Full of Crazy: Never seen, but apparently Fez's girlfriend Caroline had one of these for him.
Round Table Shot: A trademark of the show, when the gang gathers and discusses their current situation, often under the influence of pot. A stylistic reference to The Wonder Years, but has become so associated with the show it's not uncommon to hear its use in other media referred to as a "That '70s Show shot".
Serious Business: Delivering newspapers apparently. In the kid's own words, "I'm a very serious paper boy". He made good on that too, to the point of chasing Kelso down with a remote control plane to get his $2.50 "Plus a fifty cent tip, 'cause I'm GOOD!"
'70s Hair: Naturally. Especially Kelso's feathered 'do and Hyde's and Bob's frizzy afros.
to the actors' names, combined with Call Back to season four (see No Name Given above): in season eight, Fez mentioned that the first five Ks of his name were silent. The names of the cast members who were on the show before and during the fourth season have exactly five Ks: Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Kurtwood Smith, Don StarK and Lisa Robin Kelly.
Eric is plagued with vertigo after seeing Fez fall off the roof when he was hanging off it. Donna then puts on an outfit reminiscent of Madeleine and falls off a water tower, mimicking the ending of Vertigo.
Fez breaks his leg from said fall, and is confined to Eric's bedroom for the rest of the day, watching the Pinciotti's house in a manner similar to Rear Window.
Kitty goes to a neighbor's house to take care of some birds, which get loose and reenact scenes from The Birds.
Kelso is attacked by a plane just like in North by Northwest and then gets attacked by Laurie in the shower as in Psycho. He also makes reference to "cases of mistaken identity", a common theme in Hitchcock film.
The Sixties: Inevitable, since the action is set in a somewhat backward Midwestern town that's a little behind the times. In particular, the rampant marijuana use and fascination with psychedelia (which were clearly being eclipsed by cocaine and the disco aesthetic in hipper parts of America by 1976). Red Foreman's "working-class suburbanite" attitude is also a lot more '60s than it is '70s.
Slow Clap: After Bob (Rightfully) calls Donna & Jackie out breaking him & Pam up because they were uncomfortable with their parents dating, he finishes off by declaring that "the old Bob" who dated women far more attractive than him is back. Cue slow clap by the guys.
Slut Shaming: Most of the jokes that are made about Laurie is that she sleeps with numerous men, including Kelso and one of her college professors, but those jokes are considered okay because of how bitchy she acts to everyone, including her frequent snarking against Eric, his friends, and Kitty, the way she sucks up to Red, and how she actively tried to destroy Kelso's relationship with Jackie.
Split Screen: Done a few times when two sets of characters are talking about the same thing (usually each other).
Sound Effect Bleep: Twice on the season eight episode "Fun It," with Randy using an actual clown horn ("Find me a really trashy clown hooker with long legs and a pair of double D [honk honk]" and "Well, kids, looks like you're really in some deep [honk honk]") while imitating the Fatso Burger clown.
Stacy's Mom: Midge Pinciotti. The boys have fantasized and made lewd comments about her, and even spied on her. Fez and Kelso fell prostrate and worshipped Eric when they mistakenly believed he'd shagged her. Kitty also gets her fair share of attention. The boys similarly have the hots for Jackie's mom Pam, played by Brooke Shields.
Strictly Formula: An awful lot of episodes featured Eric pissing off Donna (by saying or doing something), her rejecting him, both talking to their respective friends and family about it, and then Donna forgiving Eric and one of them apologizing.
Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: Jackie says this when Kelso justifies his cheating on her as a reaction to her constantly insulting his intelligence. Kelso realizes she's just insulted him yet again, tells her he isn't sorry for cheating on her, and dumps her himself.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Randy for Eric. Only the audience had spent time with Eric and gotten used to his foibles unlike with Randy, who was so obviously meant as a replacement the fanbase rejected him with some ire.
Fez (on Halloween, when he goes trick or treating): An apple? WHERE'S MY CANDY, YOU SON OF A BITCH?!
Take That: Working at Grooves allowed Hyde and Randy to voice quite a few Take Thats at some music artists of the era.
Randy (to a client): Thank you. Enjoy your Ann Murray... though I don't see how that's possible.
That Nostalgia Show: That '70s Show deliberately plays on nostalgia for the 1970s, basing many of its plotlines on issues contemporary for the era.
Their First Time: While all of the main cast have a first time, Eric and Donna's is perhaps the most recognizable to use in this trope (it's subverted).
Think Unsexy Thoughts: In the episode "Thanksgiving", Eric makes out with Kate, his sister's attractive friend, and wants to get rid of his erection before getting up. His inner monologue goes: "Okay, baseball, Vietnam, Richard Nixon, Pat Nixon, Pat Boone, the girl that gives the weather, no, no! Okay, jellyfish, really big spiders, come on, dig deep, dig deep, okay, the day we backed over Skipper in the driveway, instead of going to the county fair, I had to bury him in the backyard."
Despite problems often prone to tear them apart (such as Eric and Donna breaking up, or Jackie and Hyde breaking up), Eric and his friends pretty much always stay together. Even as Eric left for Africa
An interesting variant occurs with Jackie, who wasn't really part of the group at first and was only tolerated by the others because she was Kelso's girlfriend. It was only after Hyde starting burning her, Fez started worshipping her, Donna became closer friends with her and Eric realized that she pissed Laurie off that she became a full part of the circle.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Bob & Midge, and later Bob & Jackie's mom Pam. Eric & Donna are portrayed as this, with characters frequently commenting on the relationship as such.
Unwanted Gift Plot: Donna gives Eric a "man ring." Said ring is huge and gaudy and promptly stolen by Fez.
Uptown Girl: Jackie is a rich girl and cheerleader, Hyde is a poor delinquent with a messed up family who lives with Eric's family because he has nowhere else to go. Initially Hyde stated their differences in social status as a reason they shouldn't go out: they had nothing in common.
Uranus Is Showing: Kelso has his UFO pictures developed, only for his friends to find out later that there were naked pictures of him on the same roll. Fez's response:
Fez: I don't see a UFO, but I can definitely see Uranus.
Verbal Tic: Leo ends most of his sentences with the word "man".
Very Special Episode: The first-run promos on Fox for the episode "Happy Jack" advertised the episode as one of these. This was the episode where Donna caught Eric masturbating and everybody made his life hell, so these promos were both a subversion and a parody of the very special episode trope.
Hyde has this sort of relationship with all his close friends, Kelso in particular.
Red and Eric are always at each others' throats with their constant snarking, but it's been shown that they really do care about each other.
Let's not forget Donna and Jackie. Donna is amazed and a little horrified when she realizes they've become friends, and Jackie never lets up making fun of Donna's shoe size or calling her a lumberjack.
Red and Bob's relationship is kinda like this but it's mostly one-way with Red frequently insulting Bob. Bob does take shots at Red sometimes but it's rare.
Vocal Dissonance: In the musical episode, all the characters sound like themselves while singing, except for Donna and Jackie, who, in a case of Special Effects Failure as well, sound totally different.
Webcomic Time: The show was on for eight years, though in-universe only two/three years passed.
Eric and Red. Red once said that, as Eric's father, it was his job to make Eric a man, "which he's not."
A female version of this trope occurs with Kitty both as a mother and as a daughter. Kitty has a very strained relationship with her daughter Laurie due to the fact that Laurie Really Gets Around and can't seem to do anything constructive with her life. Grandma Bea, Kitty's mother, also uses her razor-sharp Deadpan Snarker abilities to mercilessly insult Kitty and everything she tries to do. Kitty even cited the similarities between Laurie and Grandma Bea as proof that "evil skips a generation."
What the Hell, Hero?: In one Christmas Episode, Eric is supposed to direct a "Birth of Christ" pageant, but the others goof off and won't follow his directions. After Pastor Dave fires Eric and takes over, they respond by tying Dave up in Christmas lights. By this point, Leo calls them out on their behavior.
Leo: I can't believe you guys. You've managed to bring a man of God to tears. Dave: I'm not crying. Leo: I'm talkin' about me, man. You know, you guys can hassle your skinny friend Eric, but when it comes down to a fundamental moral core, he's the only one of you that's got one. So congratulations, you've ruined Christmas.
Where Did We Go Wrong?: Mostly Red's attitude toward Eric but even Kitty seems to question him at times. Kitty also tends to feel this way about Laurie in general.
Wild Teen Party: "'Burning Down The House." When Kelso invites Hyde and Fez over to Jackie's house for a party, the party quickly becomes one of these.
Eric's friends, especially Hyde, are also his perdition.
Also, Donna and Jackie, but theirs is much milder compared to what the guys have...
World of Snark: It's hard to find characters who don't fit the pattern. Eric snarks. Donna snarks (especially at Jackie). Hyde does almost nothing but snark. Eventually Fez snarks a lot too. Laurie snarks. Red snarks. Kitty slips her snarks in almost under the radar. Jackie and Kelso, on the other hand, don't seem to grasp sarcasm.
Wrench Wench: In the episode "Career Day", Jackie shows unlikely skill in fixing cars, earning Red's respect.
Written-In Absence: When the Foremans and the Pinciottis first met, both Laurie and Midge were absent. While there were no explanation to Laurie's absence, Bob did mention that Midge got her finger stuck in something.
Yandere: Played straight and subverted with Fez's girlfriend Caroline. She acts like this when they date, but once Donna flat-out says Fez doesn't like her and Fez admits it nervously, Caroline takes it very calmly and just leaves. Doubly subverted in her appearances in season eight, where she's still crazy.
Red pulls one on Eric during the episode where he thinks his son's taken up smoking.
Red: You lied when you said you weren't going to take the car out of town...
Eric: You knew about that?!
Red: I do now! Hah!
Done with Eric and Laurie.
Eric: I'll tell Dad that you're flunking out of college.
Laurie: *gasp* How did you know?
Eric: I didn't! *laughs*
Your Makeup Is Running: In one episode Jackie puts some makeup on Kelso, telling him it'll make him look better. Eventually it gets out of hand. When he meets up with the guys later, it's revealed that he's forgotten to remove all of it, and he's informed that his mascara is running.