Follow TV Tropes


Series / That '70s Show

Go To
The whole gang.note 

Hangin' out, down the street
The same old thing, we did last week
Not a thing to do, but talk to you
We're all alright! We're all alright!
Big Star, "In The Street", covered for the show by Todd Griffin (Season 1) and Cheap Trick (Seasons 2-8)

Think Happy Days for the late '90s and the early 2000s, except set in The '70s instead of The '50s.

That '70s Show is a sitcom about teenager Eric Forman and his friends and family living their lives in Point Place, Wisconsin from 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, as well as the final series from Carsey Werner to end its run (indeed, they haven't produced anything since then).

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." Even though it was never (explicitly) stated what they were really doing down there, 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 handheld camera) and fantasy sequences.

Fox attempted to get the ball rolling on a spin-off series, That '80s Show, in early 2002, but it only lasted half a season before going off the air after failing to gain a wide audience.

On October 8, 2021, it was announced that Netflix had ordered a new spin-off for the series, That '90s Show. The series shifts focus from Eric Forman to the daughter he had with Donna Pinciotti, Leia. Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp reprise their roles as series regulars, while other former cast members return in guest appearances. The series premiered on January 19, 2023.

Partial Trope Namer for That Nostalgia Show.

This series features examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A to G 
  • The '60s: 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 Forman's "working-class suburbanite" attitude is also a lot more '60s than it is '70s.
  • '70s Hair: Naturally, a lot of characters have haircuts from the 70's. Especially Kelso's feathered 'do and Hyde's and Bob's frizzy afros.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • 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.
    • "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.
    • Similarly, the writers originally had plans for a love triangle plot between Eric, Donna, and Hyde that would last more than a season. It went nowhere and was completely forgotten by the middle of Season 1, right after Hyde gave his first (and only) love confession to Donna. Except for a non-consequential reference in Season 2 and a "What If?" episode for the season 4 premiere, Hyde's crush on Donna was never ever brought up again.
    • Attempts to give Eric a Catchphrase (Yes, yes!) petered out early in the first season.
    • The storyline with Fez and Laurie's marriage has never been concluded. Fez was still married the last time it was mentioned.
  • Above the Influence: In "Roller Disco", Fez rejects a drunken Jackie's advances. Bonus points for creative use of the Good Angel, Bad Angel trope (Batman vs. Riddler variant).
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: In "Laurie Moves Out," after it looks like Laurie is moving out and Hyde's getting her room, she ends up staying. The end of the episode shows him standing there with the dresser up against the door telling her that she'll never get in. Cue Red opening the door outward.
  • Accidental Marriage: Hyde and Samantha's marriage is one of these and the two got married while drunk during Hyde's stay in Vegas. And like some other examples of this trope, their marriage isn't a valid one as Sam was already married and never got divorced prior to hooking up with Hyde.
  • Accidental Pervert:
    • In "Class Picture", one flashback reveals Hyde and Fez walked in on Donna while she was changing clothes, (and it was the first time Fez met Donna). A jealous Kelso has then attempted to invoke this by "accidentally" trying to walk in on her while she gets dressed, but failing every time. 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).
    • In "Squeeze Box", Hyde and Red accidentally walk in on Pam naked while helping her move in with Bob. She doesn't care, but they both mistake her nonchalance with her flirting with them, and become (even more) obsessed with her for the rest of the episode. When Kitty and Jackie find out they're both upset, and go to Bob's house to confront Pam about it, only for both to end up walking in on Bob naked instead, who has a similarly non-chalant reaction, much to the girl's horror.
    • "Short & Curlies" has a scene where Charlie walks in on a naked Kitty, much to Red's fury.
  • Action Figure Justification: Eric and Donna are arguing, when Kitty comes into the kitchen and asks her son if he was playing "with his little dolls in the tub again." Eric exasperatedly says, "It's an ACTION FIGURE!"
    Hyde: In the tub, Foreman? It's getting really hard to be your friend.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Billy Dee Williams, known for playing Lando Calrissian in the original Star Wars Trilogy, guest starred in "Baby Don't You Do It" as a preacher offering marriage advice to Donna and Eric. His character is just as obsessed with Star Wars as Eric.
    • Dwayne Johnson was cast as his father, Rocky Johnson, in "That Wrestling Show." His last line, to Red, was that one day he hopes his son will become "the most electrifying man in sports entertainment." Red answers, "Yeah, good luck with that."
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • When Eric tells Red that his (Red's) mother died immediately after Eric told her "I don't think being nice for a whole day would kill you," there's a beat where Red looks at Eric with his usual stern demeanour, before he bursts into laughter.
    "That could only happen to you, son!"
    • After Kitty tells them that Midge left Bob, Eric cracks a joke about how maybe she just got lost in the backyard instead, which Red laughs at.
    • When Fez starts giggling at the word "penal" (after hearing Michael talk about the penal code), Jackie and Hyde try to explain to him that it doesn't mean what he thinks it means, and that he is being immature... and in the process start laughing at the word themselves.
    • A bit of a Running Gag with Kelso; he always appreciates a good burn, even when he himself is the target.
  • Adam Westing: Semi-regular Tommy Chong, essentially playing a Captain Ersatz of himself.
  • Advertised Extra: After having been bumped to regular in season four, Tommy Chong as Leo actually started appearing less than he did as a recurring guest in seasons two and three. Averted in season eight when he helped fill the void left by Eric and Kelso leaving.
  • 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.
  • Amicable Exes:
    • Eric and Donna try and fail to be this in season four.
    • Once Kelso stops pursuing Jackie in season six, he becomes this with her.
  • Anti-Love Song: Hyde tells Jackie an Anti-Love Haiku:
    My heart aches with pain.
    When I see you, I vomit.
    Die away from me.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Red throws away Midge's chocolates in The Relapse, he gives one of these to Bob in regards to Midge because Bob was in serious need of a wake-up call; Bob refused to accept that Midge left and she would never come back.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Kitty: I have put up with a lot of weird things in this neighborhood. Hot tubs. Wife swapping. Jogging.
    • Also:
      Red: So what's it gonna be, Steven? Death, prison, or a birthday party?
  • Artistic License – Cars: In many shots, it is evident the Vista Cruiser is missing its windshield to allow for the in-vehicle closeups.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The two Canadian border crossings nearest anywhere in Wisconsin are in Grand Portage, Minnesota, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Technically, if they're supposed to be near Kenosha, Wisconsin (one of the Southern-most points in the state), the nearest border crossing is somewhere around Detroit. Either way, that must have been some good beer to make such a trek.
  • Artistic License – Law: When Eric, Hyde, Kelso, Fez and Leo drive to Canada for beer, they encounter RCMP when crossing back into America. The RCMP did indeed monitor border checkpoints at this timenote , but only for points of entry into Canada. US Border Patrol operate points of entry into the United States.
  • Ass Shove: Red's recurring threat to whoever offends him. Check out the "Foot In Your Ass" page above for examples. He claims to have actually done this on Iwo Jima, but can't talk about.
  • 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).
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Red. He always defends Eric when strangers criticize him or their relationship.
    • In turn Eric, despite constantly complaining to his close friends about Red, will always stand up for and defend his father against outsiders.
      David Millbank: I mean, I'm not supposed to say anything but we're just here until my dad closes down the plant.
      Eric: Wait. Closes? Your dad was opening the plant full-time.
      David Millbank: Yeah, they're burning off the inventory and then, that's all she wrote.
      Eric: My dad's depending on that job.
      David Millbank: Yeah, I guess he should have thought ahead like my dad.
      '[[Eric punches David Millbank in the face]''.
    • 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 "Water Tower," when Eric walks in on Red and Kitty having sex and is traumatized, Laurie finds out and comforts him.
  • Ax-Crazy: Caroline. Even Hyde calls her a psycho.
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Kitty once convinced Red to take Eric (along with the other males from the main cast) hunting in an attempt to get them to bond. They wind up spending the day in a tree with Red berating Eric for missing a shot at a deer. At the end of the trip, Eric demonstrates that he's a good shot by hitting a can off a fence and explains that he consciously decided not to kill the deer, which gains him some respect from Red, who would rather his son be a pacifist than a lousy shot. He then spoils any actual bonding by shooting a deer himself in utter disregard to Eric.
  • Bad Date: Donna's first date with Eric is ruined by unexpected alcohol and an unexpected profession of love... from someone else.
  • Back for the Finale: Eric and Kelso both come back for the final episode after being away the last season.
  • Bathtub Bonding: When Eric and Hyde first met they were kids and to spite him not liking Eric that much Kitty got them to have a bath together which as teenagers Eric seems less embarrassed about than Hyde.
  • Batman Gambit: Red tells Eric not to take the car out of town for the sole purpose of getting Eric to take the car out of town. Initially subverted in that Red's warning did not cause Eric to take the car out of town, he was planning to do it anyway and Red's warning almost caused him not to. Ultimately played straight because Red's purpose was to have an evening alone with Kitty, thanks to his plan the kids didn't call him for help when the car broke down.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Eric grows a small one after he and Donna break up.
  • Bed Trick: Fez tries multiple times in "2000 Light Years from Home" to arrange for himself to be switched with Hyde or Kelso in a dark room so he can sleep with Jackie or Angie, respectively. Which is, you know, rape.
  • Being Good Sucks: Red was not happy about letting Hyde stay with the family in "Hyde Moves In," as Cluster F-Bomb shows.
  • Beta Couple:
    • Jackie and either Kelso or Hyde, to Donna and Eric
    • Inverted: Jackie/Kelso is a much less stable relationship, Jackie/Hyde are a mismatched couple which results in many troubles.
    • Kelso attempts to invoke this with Eric & Donna when he drags them to his Cabin trip so he can mimic their behaviors in his ill-fated "master plan" to win Jackie back.
  • Betty and Veronica: Several examples throughout the show.
    • Donna is the Betty to Jackie's Veronica.
    • Eric is the Betty to Hyde's Veronica, and in the 1st season they were this to Donna's Archie.
    • Eric is the Betty to Casey's Veronica, and they are also this to Donna's Archie.
    • Kelso is the Betty to Hyde's Veronica and they are this to Jackie's Archie.
    • Fez is the Betty to Hyde's Veronica, and they again are this to Jackie's Archie.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • 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.
  • Big "OMG!": Kelso in Season 1's "Grandma's Dead". Twice.
  • 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 reveals that his mom buys "Twonkies." Which is more of a Brand X product, since he does mention Twinkies several times in that episode.
  • Blatant Lies: So, you're breaking up with Jackie, Kelso?
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • 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.
    • The Pinciotti family: Midge's a blonde, Bob a brunette and Donna is a redhead.
  • Bookends: The first and final episodes shows the protagonists in the Formans' Vista Cruiser singing Todd Rundgren's "Hello, It's Me" during the end credits.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Kitty uses Red's "dumbass" catchphrase a couple of times.
  • 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.
  • The Brainless Beauty: Jackie, Kelso, Midge Pinciotti, Samantha Hyde. Pam Macy, too.
    Kelso: [introducing his prom date] You guys know Pam?
    Donna: Oh, yeah, we have Biology together.
    Pam: (tilts head in confusion) ...Biology?
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Kelso had these in middle school.
  • Brainy Brunette: Brooke, the Hot Librarian. Inverted by Jackie.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    Eric: So, uh, anyone have any stories about Angie's new boyfriend and some of his crazy antics?
    Red: What do you want? I got one with water, one with fire, one where he burned himself underwater.
    • From "Laurie and the Professor":
      Kitty: I'll make coffee! I'll make cake! I'll make coffee cake! I'll make coffee!
    • Another one from Kitty in "The Good Son".
      I left the iron on. And the stove. I left the iron on on the stove which is also on and it can't be safe.
    • In "Take It Or Leave It".
      Jackie: You guys, I gotta talk to Steven about something really serious.
      Kelso: *gasp* Maybe she's pregnant!
      Fez: Maybe she cheated on him!
      Kelso: Maybe she cheated on him and she's pregnant!
    • In "A New Hope", Eric receives fighting tips from Red and Bob.
      Bob: And hit him with a banjo.
      Red: You wanna knee him in the groin.
      Bob: You can hit him in the groin with a banjo.
    • During the credits scene in "Hyde Moves In", the gang is watching Fez making his goddess tattoo dance by shaking his hips:
      Hyde: That's incredible.
      Jackie: That's disgusting.
      Kelso: That's incredible and disgusting!
    • Red on his friend Frank.
      Kitty: I think you're maturing.
      Red: You know, the truth is, Frank's getting on my nerves a little bit. He's kind of, he's an ass. And he's dumb. He's... a dumbass!
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In "The Good Son."
    Hyde: My mom always said that a waffle iron was a luxury like pillow cases or not getting hit.
  • Breakout Character: Kelso. Season seven even saw a shift of storylines focusing more on his Character Development than Eric's.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • An interesting case occurred in the Halloween episode "Too Old to Trick and Treat, Too Young 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 
    • 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 "Prank Day" when the target of said booby trap is not the one intended (Red, instead of Kelso.)
  • Burning Bag of Poop: "Canadian Road Trip" begins with Eric inviting Hyde, Leo, and Fez to buy beer in Canada, and bluntly telling Kelso he can't go with them. When Kelso asks why, Eric says because when they tried to do this prank on a teacher, Kelso lit the bag on the way over, and stomped it out in the car. Eric only changes his mind when Kelso offers to pay for the beer.
  • Buy or Get Lost: In "Eric's Buddy", the counterman tells Hyde to get out of the group's normal hangout spot since he had a wedding coming in and Hyde is just lounging around and didn't order anything yet. When Hyde brings up that there is no wedding, it doesn't matter since the counterman wants Hyde gone anyway.
Frank: Oh, did I say I have a big wedding? What I meant to say was: Buy something, or get out!
  • Call-Back:
    • The Thanksgiving episode in Season 5 used the "Baby, baby, baby, baby, oooo!" wipe, not used since Season 1.
    • A half-successful one in Season 7. Eric says, about Hyde and Kelso respectively, "No heart, no brain", then points to himself and says "No courage." This partly calls back Season 4's "Tornado Prom", wherein Jackie has a dream that she goes to Oz. Kelso and Hyde play the Scarecrow and Tin Man. However, Fez is the Cowardly Lion and Eric plays a Flying Monkey.
  • Call-Forward: Red talking about a friend, on Halloween in The '50s.
    Red: You know, the truth is, Frank's getting on my nerves a little bit. He's kind of, he's an ass. And he's dumb. He's... a dumbass!
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Eric is typically intimidated by his father Red, but in "What Is and What Should Never Be," 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 "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do," 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 "Red and Stacey," 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 jewelry (later department store, then Fez and Kelso's landlord) salesman. He attempts to make the jewelry 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 (oddly, they were attempting to enter the US, not Canada at the time). They solve the situation by singing "O Canada". The mounties do, as one would imagine, of course, confiscate their beer.
  • Canines Gambling in a Card Game: In "Hunting", Dogs Playing Poker is parodied by the characters taking the places of the dogs.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: In one episode, Eric can only say "Uh...... buh." in the presence of a girl he finds really attractive.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Exploited by Eric in "Stolen Car." Eric and the rest of the boys were mistakenly accused of grand theft auto and were briefly locked up. When Eric returned home late, Red questioned him where he went and just laughed it off when Eric matter-of-factly replied "prison". Red clearly mistaken Eric's "confession" with his regular snarkiness.
    • In "Young Man Blues", only the audience witnesses Eric successfully fix the lawnmower.
  • Casting Gag: A Running Gag on the show was casting actors from popular shows from The '70s either as one-off roles or minor, recurring characters. A few examples:
    • Season One had Eve Plumb (The Brady Bunch) as Jackie's (first) mom; Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family) as Eric's fast-food boss; Marion Ross (Happy Days) as Red's cantankerous mother
    • Season Two featured Midge's bridesmaids (all former Bond girls, as was Tanya Roberts); Season Three had Robert Hays, a TV staple and the star of Airplane! (and relating to Fox, the voice of Iron Man in the 90s Marvel cartoons, including some that aired on Fox Kids); in Season Four, Jackie had a dream wherein she visited "The Wizard," played by Pamela Sue Martin. Martin is known as Nancy Drew on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and Jackie is a big fan of Nancy Drew.
  • Catchphrase: Loads.
    • Red's "Dumbass!" and Fez's "Good day./I said good day!" are the most memorable.
    • Any rant from Fez that ends with, "You son of a bitch!'
    • 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.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: The focus of "Happy Jack" when Donna walks in on Eric masturbating at her house, after seeing a photo of Jackie's mom.
    Donna: But, you know, next time, be like a normal person. Go to your room, lock the door, light some candles, put on some Al Green and make an evening of it.
    Eric: Wow, Donna, that was really detailed. It's almost like...Oh, my God! You do it, too!
  • Chaos Architecture:
    • The Hub looked completely different in the pilot.
    • When you look at it closely, the design of the basement set doesn't match up with the rest of the Forman house.
  • Character Check: After two seasons of Kelso and Jackie being Amicable Exes, Kelso's sendoff episode Misfire revisits the relationship for one last time. Subverted in that between Kelso's new plans for the future and Jackie's Character Development since their final breakup, the episode is quick to show how far they've drifted apart.
  • Character Development:
    • 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).
    • Hyde has a crush on Donna, making him the third of the love triangle the creators were writing at the time. This went nowhere, and in later seasons, Hyde doesn't even act like he sees Donna as anything more than one of the guys.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Eric turns into a Star Wars fan who is a huge geek about it; and the other characters easily get tired of his habit of constantly making irrelevant references to the movies. However, an early episode has the characters watching Star Wars: A New Hope, and all of them like it, with no hint that Eric is especially enthralled by it; if anything, Kelso is the one who is too obsessed with it. Hyde, Donna, or Jackie show no sign that they feel it's a Guilty Pleasure or that "only a geek would like it" (certainly their stance in the later episodes, when making fun of Eric). Red's attitude, however, is consistent, with no need for any Retcon at all; he has only scorn for Star Wars in both the early episode and the later seasons.
    • In "Streaking," Red, who supported Nixon, was shown to have criticized Ford for pardoning Nixon. Then again, some Nixon supporters criticized Ford because they wanted to see Nixon exonerated and a innocent man shouldn't need a pardon.
    • Red wasn't as much of a jerk, Eric was far less of a Deadpan Snarker and more a put-upon, everyman, This Loser Is You kinda guy. This didn't really change that much, but he did start developing real flaws beyond a lack of assertiveness later on.
    • Fez, of all people, calls Kelso "stupid" after listening to a tape they made of themselves talking while high. In later seasons, it would be Hyde, or even Eric, and Fez would jump to his defense.
    • When she hits menopause in Season 5 onward, Kitty, of all people, becomes a lot bitchier.
    • In an early episode, Kitty falls for one of Lauries Blatant Lies and her innocent façade when she claims to need money for gas and tells Red to give her even more. In later episodes Kitty is really suspicious and doesn‘t trust Laurie at all because she knows her true colors and wouldn‘t fall for that trick. Her dislike of her own daughter hasn‘t been established yet.
  • 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?"
    • She actually had two sisters initially. Valerie was described as being away at college. This was the only time Valerie was ever mentioned, and nearly immediately after that, the three Pinciottis (Bob, Midge and Donna) were described by Bob as "the whole family." This predated even Tina.
    • The high school's strict, boring principal appeared a few times in the first season, but was phased out pretty early on.
    • Roy (see Ensemble Dark Horse on the YMMV page), as well. It's not explained when or how Eric and Hyde stop working in the restaurant. At the end of the sixth season, they're still employed, then at the beginning of the seventh season, Eric starts his "year of doing nothing", and Hyde later starts working at his dad's record store. They're never shown actually quitting or getting fired from the restaurant, though Eric says in season 7 episode 1 that he quits.
    • Laurie completely vanished after season 6, with Kitty mentioning she moved to Canada. Her absence is referenced in the series finale, when Kitty wonders out loud where she is.
    • Pam vanishes after the first episode of season 7, claiming she's moving in with Jackie, but she's never seen again.
  • Citizenship Marriage: A reoccurring plot point in Season 6 that got aborted with Laurie being written out of the show. At the end of season 5, Laurie married Fez only so that he doesn't get deported. The events of season 6 clearly demonstrated that its a marriage in name only.
    • Fez paid for Laurie's "honeymoon" without him attending (Implied to be a payment to Laurie so she would agree to enter this fake marriage), and was incensed when he realized why Laurie brought a "chaperone" with her.
    • At one point, Fez had to stay in the Forman's home temporarily to pretend he and Laurie were genuinely husband and wife.
    • After successfully tricking the INS into officially recognizing Fez and Laurie's marriage, Red and Kitty began forcing the two to divorce.
    • Overall, the interactions between this "couple" consist entirely of Fez slut-shaming Laurie and Laurie retaliating with an unapologetic barb going along the lines of "Yes, I will sleep with anyone else, but I won't sleep with you."
  • City Shout Outs: Referenced in the opening. After the theme tune, someone shouts "Hello Wisconsin!", the state the show takes place in.
  • 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 May 1976 and ends at the stroke of midnight on December 31st 1979, but lasted eight seasons. Despite taking place over 3.5 years, there are more Thanksgiving & Christmas episodes than the timeline would dictate, and several events are stated to have taken place over the course of a year within the same season, even though the show was still set in the same year as it was over a season ago. In Season 3, episode 4 is Halloween (October), episode 8 is Veteran's Day (November), episode 9 is Christmas (December) and 15 is Valentine's Day (February) but the license plate indicating the year remains as 1977 until episode 22. On top of this the characters age at a delayed rate until they graduate high school in season 5, but then seem to age at a normal rate over the remainder of the show - for example, Eric's 17th & 18th birthdays are in the first & sixth seasons, but Kelso's daughter is conceived, born & aged to a toddler during the show's 1979.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    • Red after he is guilted into letting 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!
      Hyde: (clearly terrified) Okay! (runs out the room)
      Kitty: You are just the sweetest man alive. (leaves)
      Red: (takes one last look around Hyde's house) FUCK!
    • 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!!!
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Red and Eric are working at Price-Mart, Red fires Eric's co-worker Earl for his chronic lateness and screwups when he actually comes to work. Eric later criticizes Red for the epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech that made Earl leave in tears:
    Eric: Dad, you yelled at him for fifteen minutes!
    Red: What kind of man cries after only fifteen minutes of yelling?
  • Coming-Out Story: Subverted; Red accepts the sexuality of his neighbors, but despises them for being Minnesota Vikings fans.
    "It's not our fault! We were born this way! We're from Minnesota!"
  • Continuity Nod: A few of them, including this gem in late season seven:
    Eric: I'm gonna fail gym...through no fault of my own."
    Donna: The last time you said that was when you ran over my cat!
    • "Mmmmm... (French accent) bacon."
    • In no less than four segments in the circle, Hyde mentions a car that runs on water, man. The first and last episodes of the series are among these.
    • Red is diagnosed with high blood pressure in Season 3 and has a heart attack in S5.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: "Kitty's Birthday". After Red and Eric forget Kitty's birthday, they give her presents including a map of Wisconsin.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    • 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.
    • 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."
      Red: So, you gonna see her again?
      Eric: Can I have the car again?
      Red: Oh, she's that girl. I know that girl. (Beat) Stay away from that girl.
    • The Stupid Helmet.
  • 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.
    • Red's Corvette.
    • 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.
  • Correlation/Causation Gag: Eric calls out his paternal grandmother for being openly mean and nasty to his mom Kitty. He then flat-out says it wouldn't kill her to be nice. She then slumps dead onto his shoulder.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: In one epsiode:
    Kitty: So, Laurie, who are you seeing up at the college?
    Laurie: Oh, I'm dating several.
    Eric: *cough* Slut!
    Kitty: Bless you.
    • Another example:
      Pastor Dave: Instead of LSD or PCP, I get high on G-O-D.
      Hyde: *cough* Virgin!
  • Crazy in the Head, Crazy in the Bed: When Kelso and Fez fall for the same woman in "Mother's Little Helper," it ends with her choosing Fez, and revealing that she has some issues. Kelso concedes defeat telling Fez "She's clearly a lunatic. Which means she's going to be really great in bed. Congratulations."
  • Creator Cameo: Series producer and writer Linda Wallem (aka Dr. Hutchison, and co-creator of Nurse Jackie) appeared a couple times, once as one of Kitty's hospital co-workers, another time as a celebrity partner in a a Pyramid takeoff Eric imagined.
  • Crying Wolf:
    • In "Eric Gets Suspended", Eric is suspended for smoking but swears he actually wasn't (the cigarette he was caught with was actually Donna's, whom Eric was covering for). Red doesn't believe Eric because of the latter's history of lying and it isn't until Donna admits that she was the one smoking that Red accepts Eric's word.
    • In "Sparks", Kelso wants to ride a kayak down a hill, Hyde actually tells Kelso he should wear a helmet, but Kelso thinks he's just trying to play a mean trick and refuses to fall for it. At one point Hyde remarks that he has become the boy who cried helmet.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: While he was usually The Brainless Beauty played straight, Kelso occasionally made predictions about the future which turned out to be correct.
    • In the episode A New Hope, in which the gang sees 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. Red at one point tells him he's about to remove the "doohicky", to which Kelso replies "Don't you think we should disconnect the transistor from the secondary circuit board first?"
    • 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.
  • Cutaway Gag: The series relied on this trope constantly, usually using it to display the character's Imagine Spot in many "what if" situations.
  • Dad the Veteran: Red served in the Navy in both WW2 and the Korean War. He claims to have actually put his foot up someone's ass on Iwo Jima, but doesn't like to talk about it.
  • Damned by Faint Praise:
    • Season 2: When Jackie got offended after hearing that Kelso was dating Laurie, Donna comforted Jackie with the following words: "She will make him more miserable than you ever did."
    • Season 6: Red's response to the INS' suspicions that Fez and Laurie are in a Citizenship Marriage: "These two kids are married and very much in love. In fact, I never seen a love like this." note 
    • Season 6: In one episode, Eric kept trying to convince his parents that he managed to fix the lawnmower. Kitty's response was that she "believed in him believing" that he fixed it.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Practically every character gets their shot in at one point or another, but most notably, Hyde, Eric, Red, and Donna.
    • None of them could hold a candle to Grandma Bea, Kitty's mother, who was played by Betty White, quite possibly the Grand Dame of this trope. As Eric noted to Donna after Grandma Bea insulted them:
      Donna: ...What the hell was that?
      Eric: That was the seldom-heard, much-feared, Grandma Burn.
  • Debating Names: Serves as a Running Gag in "You Can't Always Get What You Want." The main characters repeatedly try to come up with a name for Hyde's new record store while high, eventually settling on "The Head" until they forget it in their inebriated state. It turns out that the store already had a name, as it was part of a chain.
  • Demoted to Extra: Laurie in season 6, after having been recast. Despite appearing in most episodes of that season, she rarely spoke.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Fez drops one when asked where he's going to go with his girlfriend.
    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 fighter!
  • Depending on the Writer: Downplayed. While every episode acts like Kelso is/was in the wrong when it came to cheating on Jackie for Laurie, whether this is actually the case changes in the episodes. For example, in "Red's Last Day", it's very clear that Laurie is purposely seducing Kelso, and Kelso is clearly not okay with what's going on. The scene actually borders on Black Comedy Rape. Then in most of the episodes after, Kelso takes both Laurie and Jackie for granted, at one point even imagining being in a harem with both of them as well as Donna. Then it comes back around in "Kiss of Death", where Kelso expresses genuine feelings for Jackie and tries to break up with Laurie, which falls Off the Rails when Laurie tricks Kelso into kissing her in front of Jackie, ending their relationship as well.
  • 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.
    • In Season 7, Red gets a moment of this, too. Kitty is mad at him for flirting with a couple of women in bikinis at a car show. He tells her they're practically hookers because they get paid to flirt.
  • Digital Head Swap: Done in the scene where after getting high, the gang sees Kitty's and Red's heads on each other's bodies.
  • Dine and Dash: In the aptly titled episode "Dine and Dash." After Kelso's grandmother gives him $100, he treats the rest of the gang to dinner at a nice restaurant, and he tells them they should leave without paying, but after they convince him not to do it, he hesitantly goes to Eric's car, where he left his wallet, so he can pay for dinner. When Donna says he drove off laughing, they wait for sometime before realizing he left them there. Fez says Kelso's probably waiting for them in the parking lot and says he'll get the money from him, but after some waiting, they realize he's not coming back either. Jackie says she'll use the public phone in the lobby to call her dad, but after some time, it's determined she just went home, and Hyde decides to just make a break for it, leaving Eric and Donna stranded. After a minor argument, Eric and Donna decide to run away without paying. As payback for ditching them without money after an expensive meal, Eric and Donna give the others laxative laced "special" brownies.
  • Disco Sucks: The show traced disco's fall from grace. "That Disco Episode" in the first season, taking place in 1976, is about going to a disco and everyone is into it. In season six's "Baby Don't You Do It," a minister tries to connect with Eric and Donna by saying he likes disco and Eric says that disco is kind of lame. Finally in the last season's "We Will Rock You," which took place in 1979, Hyde stages a disco record burning and Fez tries to defend disco.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Eric accidentally kills Donna's cat, he tries hard to say it in a way that wouldn't hurt her. Donna gets incredibly pissed with him and rebuffs every attempt he makes to try to make her feel better from attending the cat's funeral to giving her another kitten. It takes Jackie to tell her how incredibly childish she's being, especially when she tries comparing her hurt feelings to Jackie's who was rightfully upset about catching Kelso and Laurie.
    Jackie: Eric put off telling you something because he didn't want to hurt you. That is way worse than cheating on you with another woman. Oh, wait...NO, IT'S NOT!
  • Distinction Without a Difference: In "Parents Find Out", Fez calls Hyde and Kelso shallow for not wanting to meet their secret dates because they look old. Kelso responds with: "I'm not shallow, I'm just judging them by their looks!"
  • The Ditz: Kelso and Jackie are a Ditz couple.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Due to her towering height over the rest of the cast, Laura Prepon was encouraged by the producers to not wear shoes as often as possible in her scenes. That is why Donna Pinciotti is either barefoot or wearing socks much more frequently than anyone else on the show.
  • Dork in a Sweater: Eric is usually a dork, especially since he wears sweaters in about half of the series. Another example is Hyde, who usually mocks Eric for his look, in which he had dressed in one with his name made by Kitty in his 18th birthday, obligated by Red (as well assisting to his own birthday).
  • Double Standard:
    • 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: 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 Forman's kid, before being told "You poor bastard!" after confirming it.
  • Driving a Desk: Most of the driving scenes in the Vista Cruiser.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Red's mentality, as well as other adult characters occasionally.
    • Subverted when Hyde has a bad trip and decides to give up the circle. Donna, Fez, and Leo stage a "reverse intervention."
      Fez: Your eyes are clear, your shirt is clean. I barely know you.
  • 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.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: According to Red, this is one of three times it is okay for a man to tell another man he loves him. Otherwise, it's just a given. note 
  • 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 circle in the pilot had a rare aerial view of the proceedings, and the background wasn't dark and smoky, but more out-of-focus than anything.
    • Jackie's parents, Fez's host parents, and Kelso's father all appeared at least once during the earlier episodes before disappearing while the rest of the series focuses on the Forman's and the Pinciotti's (Although Jackie's mom Pam does later shown up in season 6 for a subplot with Bob). Also, Donna had two sisters; an older one who was in college and was never seen, and a younger sister for a single episode who was never seen again.
    • The bumpers we're all familiar with weren't there at first. Instead we got green-and-black flowers doing things, or photos of famous people manipulated to say stuff; the more familiar bumpers began to appear about midway through the first season.
    • The Hub set in the pilot was a lot more elaborate than it would be in future episodes. Most of the regular sets also looked different in the first season, with slightly different decor and lighting (such as the kitchen seats being a mesh design with cushions).
    • In her first appearance, Kitty seemed to be under Laurie's sway as well. Later episode's make it clear she sees right through her act, and is firmly on Eric's side when she's involved.
    • The pilot had a lot of common slang for the era the show is set in, with Eric using "queer" as a stand-in for "weird" as one example. The dialogue quickly dropped it going forward and it became much more modern.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: In "Burning Down the House," Red and Kitty couldn't get Bob's toupee out of their mind so much so that they had problems concentrating on the board game session they are having with Midge and Bob, allowing Midge to win round after round repeatedly.
  • "El Niño" Is Spanish for "The Niño": El Camino is Spanish for "The Camino"
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue:
    Fez: Once you've had Fez, you never go back...that rhymes in my language.
  • Embarrassed by a Child: Linked to The Unfavorite. Red is constantly embarrassed by Eric's nerdiness and lack of manly characteristics. Kitty is embarrassed by Laurie's sluttiness, especially when she spends the entirety of youth Pastor Dave's visit blatantly hitting on him.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: Eric tries to hide the fact that he was reading Donna's journal by claiming to have been going through her underwear drawer and rubbing her underwear against his face.
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • Eric received a lot of these including; Foreplay, Foreskin, Zitty Stardust, Dr. Pee Pee, the list goes on.
    • Kelso has Big Chief Brown Bottom and Tater Nuts.
    • As kids, Donna was called Pinch-My-Butty (started by Eric, so she started Foreskin for him). Also known as Big Red, and sometimes Jugs-A-Poppin'. In S8, we find out the gang called her "Poop-chute Sally" for a long time after she ripped the back of her pants.
    • Jackie called Hyde her Little Puddin' Pop, which he of course claims is not him.
  • Erotic Dream: Every major character has one. To crank it up to eleven on the hilarity meter:
    Fez: Now, has any of you ever had a dream where you were with the opposite of a girl?
    Kelso: Right, two girls? Sure.
    Fez: Well see, I had a dream. And it was erotic. was about Kelso.
    • Kelso immediately displays his idiocy moment by somehow thinking that it makes him (not Fez) gay.
  • Escalating War: In Season 4's "Prank Day", the guys try to get back at Kelso for pranking them, but the results are disastrous, even with an unexpected ally, Red, on their side.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Happens once, when Red and Kitty accidentally eat some brownies laced with marijuana.
  • Everybody Owns a Ford:
    • Inverted, even though they're just outside Kenosha and this was the era of now-retro icons like the Gremlin and Pacer, Nobody Owns An AMC.
      • Well, the Kenosha part's in dispute- see further down the page.
    • Two single-episode exceptions: Bob Pinciotti was driving a red Pacer in season eight episode seven, but that was just for one scene. Fez also appears to own a Gremlin for a single episode in season 8, just so that Jackie has something of his to publicly vandalize.
  • Evolving Credits: the opening credits have been completely reshot four times, and reedited four times as well:
    • Between season 1 and 2, the entire sequence has been reshot to mark the addition of Lisa Robin Kelly to the main cast, and also include the adults.
    • Halfway through season 3, the title sequence is replaced once again by an entirely new one, shot without Laurie, since Lisa Robin Kelly had left the show. In certain markets, an edited version of the previous title sequence is used instead, with shots with Laurie either digitally edited to remove her or completely replaced.
    • The opening sequence has been completely reshot once again between season 3 and 4, Tanya Roberts has been removed from the main cast, and replaced with Tommy Chong.
    • Between season 4 and 5, the sequence has been slightly edited to replace the only shot with Tommy Chong, who no longer was in the main cast.
    • For the final season, the opening credits have been reshot once again, and now take place in the "circle" and not in the Vista Cruiser. Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher were removed and Tommy Chong was added back in. The sequence has been reedited twice during the season: once to include new cast member Josh Meyers, and once to update Kitty's hairstyle.
  • Extra-Long Episode: The season eight premiere, as well as the last episode were both originally broadcast as hour-long episodes.
  • Face Doodling: Can be a bad time to fall asleep while together with that group of friends, the rest would occasionally mess with the sleeping victim's face. After waking up, he/she would just go out to meet other people, not knowing what happened to his/her face. On screen this prank was played on at least Hyde (make-up), Jackie (unibrow), and Kelso (hitler moustache). Eric gets a variation where he's still awake and is given a napkin (with black ink) to wipe his face with.
  • Fan Disservice: Kitty's mental picture of a nude, soap-suds-covered Bob moaning "oh yeah..." (which comes absolutely out of nowhere) just... shouldn't have happened.
  • Fanservice Model: In the season 4, Kelso was called to be a male underwear model, who appeared in diverse magazines, was mocked by his friends, and caused a new split with his then-girlfriend Jackie, who always wanted to be a model.
  • Fashion Dissonance
  • Feathered Fiend: The season three Halloween episode included a parody of The Birds.
  • Fictional Accent: Fez is from an unidentified fictional island nation and as a result, speaks in an unidentifiable accent that borders on Spanish and Portuguese. In the final season of the show, Andrew (Fez's friend from the island) comes to visit and speaks with a British accent. When pressed by his friends about this, he explains that Andrew is from the west side of the island. When the gang asks what country the two of them are from, they explain that it depends on if you ask the British or the Dutch, further elaborating that the British hate them and wouldn't tell them and nobody can understand the Dutch.
  • Fiery Redhead: Donna, especially when it comes to her feminist beliefs. At least until she dyed her hair blonde.
  • Fight for the Last Bite:
    • In the episode "Misty Mountain Hop", Donna eats Eric's last Twinkie during the ride up to Jackie's cabin, igniting a fight.
    • In "Who Needs You", Fez was looking forward to a grape soda that he saved in the fridge, and even made up a song to sing for when he would eventually get around to drinking it. Cue his shock at finding an empty grape soda bottle in the fridge after Jackie drank it...
  • Final Season Casting: Randy instead of Eric and Kelso. Samantha to very obviously to add more sex appeal.
  • First-Name Basis:
    • Jackie and Kitty both call everyone by their first name (except Fez of course), regardless of their preference.
    • Jackie only calls Hyde Steven after she becomes interested in him and she only calls Kelso by his last name once, when they are broken up.
    • Hyde calls all the guys in the group by their last name (except Fez...maybe) but still occasionally calls Eric "Eric". Kelso, on the other hand, calls Eric by his first name most of the time, despite he and Hyde being called by their last names exclusively by almost everyone.
    • Hyde called Red "Mr. Forman" in the first season, but once he moves in, he starts calling him Red.
  • Flanderization: Early in the first season, Laurie's primary traits were that she hated Eric, and by extension, all his friends, was more than willing to exploit Red's preferential treatment of her, was an underachiever and had looser morals than the main teen cast. By the end of the first season, her sluttiness was her defining trait, and later on, she can't seem to meet a man without hitting on him and has had more partners than the town has residents.
  • Forgotten Birthday: In the appropriately named "Kitty's Birthday (That's Today?!)", Red and Eric forget Kitty's birthday and tried to pretend it was a case of Not-So-Forgotten Birthday, buying her a few balloons and a funnel from the gas station at 11:40 P.M. She sees through it, and they have to take her square dancing to make up for it.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Gender-Flipped for the four main teen males.
    • Fez is the naive one.
    • Hyde is the snarky one.
    • Kelso is the sexy one.
    • Eric is the TeamDad.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Forman Family:
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Eric and Jackie barely had any storylines with only the two of them. 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. There are only two episodes that have them hanging out together in some way. The first is in the fourth season when Eric catches Jackie kissing her boss and tries to blackmail her so that he'll keep quiet to Kelso. The second is in season six, when the two of them go shopping for wedding items with Donna using it to punish Eric's bad choices and Hyde trying to get Jackie to go shopping with someone else. Unlike their first storyline, Eric and Jackie end up having a good time when Jackie told him to stand aside and let her do everything. If Jackie's phonecall to Eric in his final episode as series regular is any indication, with time she came to think of him as a friend, but this sympathy remained largely one-sided.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • The Id- Jackie and Kelso
    • The Ego- Fez and Eric
    • The Superego- Hyde and Donna.
  • Frozen in Time
  • Funny Background Event: Once when Eric had to get something from the kitchen, he ran into his father and had a conversation with him. Eric is still stoned from The Circle and the wallpaper behind Red is visibly moving.
  • Funny Foreigner: Fez. Even the characters aren't sure what country he's from, though Wild Mass Guessing favors 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. 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.
  • Future 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).
  • Generation Xerox:
    • 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 "Forman 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.
  • Genius Ditz: Kelso comes across as this occasionally.
  • Girl Next Door: Donna.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: The opening scene of "Hyde Moves In."
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Instead of the usual Angel and Devil, though, Fez imagines Batman and the Riddler when he's tempted to take advantage of Jackie when she's drunk.
  • 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.
  • Grand Finale: New Year's Eve, 1979, the day the '70s died.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Red's father Albert Forman. He was a truly abusive bastard (as compared to Bernice, who doted on Red), and, is in many ways, why Red is the way he is (that, and his dad was quick to ship him off to the Navy). He's long dead by the time the show begins, but via Red, his influence lingers through the entire run. Red would probably think of his dad as a Greater-Scope Paragon, though.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Deliberately invoked when Eric says the first time he strapped on a pair of skates was like "the first time Joe Namath laid his hands on a bat."

    Tropes H to P 
  • Happily Married: Red and Kitty.
  • 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!"
  • Hate Sink: Kitty's mother Beatrice "Bea" Sigurdson, due to making Kitty's life miserable For the Evulz.
  • Height Insult: Jackie casually mocks Donna for her stature, often calling her a "giant" or "lumberjack" or referring to how big her limbs are which makes her sound huge. The fact that Jackie is a tiny, petite Rich Bitch probably adds to it.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: In one episode Kelso gets a leather jacket because he wants to look like Brando in The Wild One. Instead everybody laughs at him for looking like Fonzie. When he throws it away in anger Hyde puts it on and immediately becomes irresistible.
  • 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.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kelso and Fez. Most of the time.
    • Eric & Hyde and sometimes Donna & Jackie.
  • Hey, You!: Red calling Eric and co "dumbasses", and Eric calling him Red behind his back and "sir" to his face. Also, Laurie sometimes calls Eric "little brother" instead of Eric.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Red's mother. She's well-known for all the negative things she's done like insulting Kitty and her condescending attitude but she was also very nice to Fez and seemed rather fond of Eric, offering to have him live with her since he looked so thin. When she died, we also found out that she kept Red's model trains even when he thought she had thrown them out, she made a small blueberry pie for him when she made peach pie (he doesn't like peaches), and she was also the first person to call him Red.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Averted when Red gets one. Instead of dramatically gasping and clutching his chest, he just feels numbness in one arm (causing Kelso to deduce he's having an arm attack) and seems a bit winded.
  • Home-Early Surprise: Happens a few times:
    • Once in a very early episode in which Eric goes to Donna's house in the middle of the night while her parents are away to find that they've come home early.
    • Again when Donna and Eric take advantage of having the house to themselves, when all of the other characters come home almost immediately, much earlier than anticipated.
    • Also when Eric has "borrowed" his dad's car and relaxes, glad that he has so much time to clean up - but he learns that he only has forty minutes.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Bob Pinciotti's electronics outlet, as suggested by the following:
    Bob: I tell them the cheaper one will cost them more in the long-run, which is a mathematical impossibility,note  but they buy it anyway.
  • Hospital Hottie : The nursing convention in Season 5, where Hyde picks up a nurse.
  • Hot for Teacher: In one Thanksgiving episode, it's revealed that Kelso has been sleeping with Eric's math teacher.
  • Hot Librarian: Brooke.
  • Housewife: To a degree, Kitty. She does have a job for most of the series aside from taking care of the house (as a nurse), but otherwise fits this trope very well.
  • Huddle Shot: Some of the wipes.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Kelso and Jackie.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Big Rhonda. Donna is a subversion as she's very tall and strong, but is actually very confident too.
  • Humanizing Tears: Jackie, surprisingly. When she's genuinely upset about something, the others actually make an effort to comfort her in their own way. Yes, even Hyde and Red by way of being caught in her clingy hugs...and this was before Hyde and Jackie got a Relationship Upgrade.
    Hyde: Why is it always me?
  • Hurricane of Puns: Eric and Fez in one episode about how Kelso nailed Hyde's sister.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Leo says in "Canadian Road Trip" that he refuses to drink alcohol because it "messes up your mind." Despite him being a stoner. He also drinks sake but he's unaware that sake is alcoholic.
    • Laurie loves to jest about Eric supposedly being dumb, despite her own flunking out of college.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy":
    Kelso: Hey guys, guess which part of my body I nicknamed "Pink Floyd".
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: In "The Trails of M. Kelso", Fez is beaten up by a pep rally team from a rival school. As revenge, Eric, Hyde and Fez decide to deface the rival school's boy's locker room only to deface the girl's locker room by accident. They get beat up by the girls and when asked what happened to them, they lie about their attackers being men to save face.
  • Idea Bulb: Parodied and played straight in Streaking with the guys getting inspired to cause mischief when President Ford stops by for a visit. Light bulbs light up during points of the speech over Hyde ("Protesting accomplishes nothing."), Eric ("Oh, sure, you might see a chance to prove your manhood or show you're cool."), and Kelso ("No shenanigans, you hear me?") while Fez get the "Exit" sign ("If that's your kind of attitude, you might as well just go home right now."). Bob later gets a lamp lighting over his head with a doorbell sound when he has to find the right person to ask Ford a question ("I guess someone you and I would call a loser."). The last one where Red has the porch light over his head after he's inspired to tell the President his views gets called out on by Red.
    Red: Turn off that light.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Kitty actually pulls this on herself in "A New Hope," as she tries to criticize Red for teaching Eric to fight, and recalling the time Red beat up a guy who tried to put the moves on Kitty when they were first dating, only to describe how good Red looked doing it. She and Red then race each other to their bedroom.
  • 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.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • One of the group's favorite stories is of the time Kelso (as The Ditz) tried to do the "burning bag of dog poop" prank on someone, but lit the bag prematurely and then stomped it out himself. A frustrated Kelso counters "THE BAG WAS ON FIRE!"
    • Eric kissing another girl (Laurie's college roommate) while he and Donna were starting to form a relationship. Red came down on him for this gloriously.
      Eric: It's like bad things are always happening to me. Like I have bad luck or something.
      Red: (understanding voice) Son, you don't have bad luck. The reason bad things happen to you is because you're a dumbass. (harshly) Now fix it.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Subverted in "Black Dog". During an argument, Kelso accidentally shoots Hyde with a BB gun. The pellet merely grazes Hyde's shoulder but he pretends he was shot in the eye to make Kelso feel guilty about his anger over Hyde and Jackie's relationship.
    • It was also averted the time Red, Bob and the boys went hunting, if only because no one was willing to stay in the same room as Kelso and a loaded gun.
  • I Know Karate: Kelso unfortunately finds that out when he tries to beat up Jackie's co-worker after she kissed him.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: With cast members jumping, swinging and having fun in front of groovy backgrounds during an Eye Catch.
  • I'll Take Two Beers Too: In one episode:
    Kitty: "Bartender, could I have two coffees please?"
    Red: "I’ll have two more beers!"
    Kitty: "Red..."
    Red: "Okay okay, I’ll just have the one beer!"
  • Imagine Spot: When there's not a thing to do, these moments are abundant on the show, often with several per episode.
  • Informed Attribute:
    • Some fans consider Donna and Kelso's attractiveness to be this.
    • Additionally, Eric's supposed girliness. Most of the remarks on this seem to be based on his lack of athleticism. His personality is more akin to a geek or a nerd, which is usually considered to be at least gender-neutral if not more masculine. Possibly a case of Fair for Its Day as far as the 1970s setting is considered, as "nerd culture" was not remotely as widely accepted as it is now.
  • Informed Deformity: In season 8, Fez would sometimes call Jackie a "midget" despite her being only slightly shorter that him.
  • Informed Flaw: In Hyde Moves In, Kelso freaks out when he sees Jackie sick and without makeup, and proceeds to refer to her as "ugly" and "gross", while to the viewer, she doesn't look any different.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: In "Cat Fight", Fez admits to being turned on by Jackie kicking Laurie's ass in a fight.
  • 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.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Red and Kelso, of all people, would get together from time to time and play video games (which being the 70's consisted of Pong).
  • Intimate Marks: In "Eric's Hot Cousin," Eric's cousin, Penny, comes to stay with them and constantly wears tight t-shirts with large logos over her breasts. She catches Eric looking at her breasts, and "innocently" mistakes it for him reading her t-shirt logo. This becomes a running gag throughout the episode. At the end of the episode, it turns out all the flirty behavior and sexy clothing was calculated to attract Eric as payback for a prank he'd played on her years ago.
  • In the Blood: Eric has his father's old-fashioned thinking (and temper) and his mother's Deadpan Snarker tendencies. Laurie is a lot like her grandmothers, particularly Grandma Bea (Kitty's mother) with a dash of Grandma Bernice's (Red's mother) hypocrisy. Evil skips a generation, remember?
    Eric: So that means my... granddaughter is going to be the devil.
  • I Take Offence to That Last One: From "Bring It On Home":
    Red: Kitty, every time we have an empty room, you wanna fill it up with a stray child. You’re like … the old lady who lived in a shoe.
    Kitty: Did you just call me old?
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: In a episode 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) 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.
  • It Tastes Like Feet:
    Hyde: "What's convenient isn't always what's best. If it was, this frozen pizza wouldn't taste like monkey butt." Kelso would disagree, however.
  • Ironic Echo: Starting at the end of "Reefer Madness" and continuing throughout "Red Sees Red", Red uses some variation of the phrase "Playtime is over" when he announces further restrictions on the house. Then at the end of the episode when Kitty forces him to lift all of his rules, Eric says "Well... I guess 'playtime is over'".
  • I Want My Jetpack:
    • 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.
  • I Wished You Were Dead: Eric ends his calling out his grandmother over her treatment of Kitty with "I don't think being nice for a whole day would kill you." She promptly keels over.
  • Jerkass:
    • 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!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • 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.
    • William, Hyde's real dad also counts as this. He routinely seems to be giving something to Hyde, only to pull it back and ask him to do something (such as show him his Clapton tickets and then ask Hyde to house-sit). He also accuses Hyde of gold-digging within minutes of meeting, and crows frequently about being rich. He also fires Hyde and the other Grooves employees via a letter (which also counts as Artistic License – Law since they should have severance pay, among other procedures). Then he gives Hyde the record store.
  • Jumping the Shark:
    • 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
      Fez: Yeah, I did stop watching after that...
  • Karma Houdini:
    • 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.
  • Kids Raiding the Wine Cabinet: Early seasons feature numerous gags (and entire episodes) about the guys trying to get their hands on beer - in fact, the reason Eric gets the Vista Cruiser is because he overhears Red and Bob discussing how little trade-in value the car has whilst attempting to sneak beers downstairs from the adult party upstairs. The trope was eventually retired as the show progressed, as the characters had aged to the point where they could buy their own beer legally.
  • Kissing Cousins: In "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.
  • The Lad-ette: Donna doesn't have too many feminine traits. Eric first fell for her after she punched him in the gut.
  • Lady Drunk: Kitty hits the drinks quite often in the series, mostly after she hits menopause.
  • Language Fluency Denial: Fez tries to use this excuse when the gang are busted by the Mounties when trying to cross the border with Canadian beer.
  • 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 Forman "Forman". Casey Kelso calls Donna by her last name.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Combined with Rule of Three in this scene; the boys are talking about boobs, but Eric and Hyde swap out their words each time Eric's parents come in. When the topic changes to talking about Red, Kelso swaps out his words with "breasts the size of watermelons" when Red walked in the second time.
  • "Last Supper" Steal: In an early episode of That '70s Show, after Eric agrees to streak at a political rally with his friends, he informs the rest of the group that nobody can find out since "If my father finds out what we're planned, he will nail me to the wall," at which point a heavenly glow seems to hit the table and everyone is frozen in the poses from The Last Supper with Eric as Christ.
    Jackie: (walking by) Why are you all sitting on one side of the table?
  • 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.
  • Lazily Gender-Flipped Name: Hyde makes fun of Eric by calling him "Erica". Michael who goes by his surname Kelso laughs because you can't do that with "Kelso", at which point Hyde sarcastically points out that he'd be "Michelle". Eric and Kelso then struggle for a few seconds to think of a name for mocking name Hyde ("Hyde-o...lina?"), before he exasperatedly snaps "Heidi!"
  • Less Embarrassing Term: Eric has a collection of G.I. Joe and Star Wars toys. He calls them "action figures", everybody else calls them "dolls".
  • Les Yay: In-universe example; Kelso thinks that Laverne & Shirley are "one bottle of wine away from making out", just like Jackie and Donna. Jackie occasionally makes jibes that Donna is gay, the pair falling neatly into the butch/femme stereotypes and they grow increasingly close as the series progresses (partly through simple female solidarity as the only girls in the overwhelmingly male group). When the gang goes skinny dipping Donna comments that it's always cool to see her and Jackie naked, Jackie grinning in agreement.
  • 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 Men: In "Red and Stacey", Red Forman talks with a young cashier from Price Mart about being a good girl for his son Eric (as a way to cheer it up after his breakup with Donna), but she instead touches Red's leg with a naughty face implying she likes Red. Eric later realized about this when he decided to talk with this girl and she asked every time if Red would be in house too.
  • 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.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers:
    • In "Afterglow", after Donna and Eric have Their First Time, Eric feels ecstatic but Donna was very disappointed with the experience. When she confesses it to Jackie, Jackie immediately interprets it as Eric being bad in bed. When Donna protests and claims she was probably bad at it too, Jackie replies that "It's not up to the woman to be good". And despite Donna asking her to keep it a secret, Jackie immediately tells Kelso that "Eric was lame in the sack", who quickly proceeds to tell it to the guys so he can "burn" Eric with it. At first, Eric is crushed and has a fight with Donna, but by the end of the episode they talk and agree they both need "practice" and their second time is... a little better.
    • Played With in "Whole Lotta Love". When the virgin Fez has his first time with Nina, his sexual inexperience makes for an awful and awkward experience. His friends all pity him, and he fears that this means Nina will break up with him but she instead suggests that they practice until he gets better.
      Fez: Well, our faces didn't line up right, so I kept bumping my chin on her nose. And then there were some sounds.
      Hyde: What kind of sounds?
      Fez: Well, I will say this, it was not applause. There was no romantic music like in the movies, so I had to hum. And then Nina told me to stop humming. And, uh, then I started again without realizing it. And then she got mad. And then I think she got sad. (...) And then afterwards, I went into the bathroom, and, uh... And cried a little. And then I snuck out the back door.
      Donna: Poor Fez. Well, you know, at least it couldn't have been any worse.
      Fez: I left my underwear in her bathroom.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Fez's lechery is almost always played for laughs.
  • Love Triangle:
    • One develops between Kelso/Jackie/Hyde. Kelso eventually pulls a I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
    • 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. 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.
  • The Masochism Tango:
    • 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.
      Fez: Your relationship was one of the sickest freaking things I've ever seen. You're two deeply disturbed individuals and your union — well, your was a blasphemy!
    • 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.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: Some episodes show what the characters see after coming out of a "Circle". Let's just say, seeing people swap heads is an exaggeration of weed's effects.
  • Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration: Fez very frequently talks or alludes to masturbating, to illustrate his sexual frustration over being a virgin.
  • May the Farce Be with You: Being that the show takes place in the late '70s, Star Wars spoofs and references abound.
  • Meadow Run: Somewhat subverted. In "Going to California", Eric and Donna run across a beach in slow-motion, but stop short of hugging and stand at arm's length to talk. Then Kelso totally ruins the moment by tackling Donna to the ground, claiming that he "won" the foot race.
  • 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.
  • Mirror Reveal: When Kelso is up for inspection at the police academy, Hyde and Fez, who think that Kelso is becoming a "square", shave his mustache when he's asleep the night before. When the inspector fails him, Kelso starts yelling at Fez and Hyde, and when they show him a mirror, he admits that the Hitler mustache is a good burn.
  • Misery Builds Character: According to Red, "In order for [my son] to be a responsible adult, he has to be miserable now!"
  • The Missus and the Ex: In "Time Is on My Side", Bob begins reconnecting with his ex-wife Midge while he's in the middle of a relationship with Pam. Naturally, both women don't get along, and are angry with Bob over his inability to pick between them. Ultimately, Pam makes the decision to leave and gets Put on a Bus for the rest of the series.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • Eric. Buddy tried taking it a step further.
    • In "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!
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Basically: Guys can mess around in a fight. If girls fight; they fight.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Once Mila Kunis turned eighteen the show went all out, putting Jackie and Donna 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).
  • Mushroom Samba:
    • The show managed to do implied or obvious cannabis use Once an Episode and still keep it funny, with a Running Gag of all characters standing in a circle and talking about the events of the episode.
    • One Samba moment happens when Eric goes upstairs to make toast and runs into his father, Red; while they talk, the wall in the background is moving. Also, Red once accidentally eats a "special brownie" made by the kids. Hilarity Ensues.
    • One episode has Kitty voluntarily smokes a joint in the bathroom, and sees Red and Hyde's bodies morph.
  • Musical Episode: That '70s Musical, the 100th episode.
  • Musical Theme Naming: From the fifth season on, the episodes shared the names of songs of rock bands. Season five=Led Zeppelin, season six=The Who, season seven=The Rolling Stones, season eight=Queen.
  • Naked First Impression:
  • 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" or "stuff". 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.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Eric and Fez are nice, Jackie and Hyde are mean, and Kelso and Donna are in-between.
  • Nixon Mask: Played straight in one episode when the guys decide to streak during a presidential campaign stop in town, with Eric wearing said Nixon Mask.
  • No Accounting for Taste: The relationship between Jackie and Hyde.
  • No Indoor Voice: Kelso has the loudest voice of anyone in the group, especially when he's angry or excited. There's a reason why his catchphrase is yelling "BURN!!!" at the top of his lungs.
  • 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.
    • In "Fun It", it wasn't the first time Bob got into a fight with a ceramic clown.
  • No Smoking:
    • We never see anyone actually smoke marijuana, although we do sometimes see a smoky 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. Then there was the time that Kitty closed her eyes and demanded a cigarette when she was trying to quit smoking. An arm of one of the kids comes into frame with a cigarette. We didn't see the person who handed it to her, but Hyde was wearing denim and the arm had a denim sleeve. 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.
  • Not Helping Your Case: The B-plot of Season 3's "Roller Disco" featured Red being sued by Earl for wrongful dismissal after Red fired him from Price Mart. Red and Earl both do this at the labor board's hearing about Earl's complaint.
    • First, Red can barely restrain his Tranquil Fury when he thinks the labor board mediator is calling him a liar. Later, when the mediator asks Eric what he thinks of Red's leadership style, he stammers nervously until Red yells at him to "just answer the question, dumbass!"
    • The mediator still rules in Red's favor, since Earl is over seventy minutes late for his own hearing. The mediator even Lampshades this trope to Earl, having realized that Red was justified in firing him.
  • Not So Above It All: In one episode, even Jackie starts giggling like a schoolgirl after explaining to Fez that "penal code" doesn't mean what he think it does.
    • Also, when Red decides to help Eric prank Kelso.
  • 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.
  • Official Couple: Eric/Donna, Red/Kitty and in season 8, Fez/Jackie.
  • Once an Episode: Red threatening to put his foot up someone's ass. Not to mention "The Circle".
  • One Head Taller:
    • Kelso and Jackie.
    • Gender Flipped by Eric and Donna, who are a Huge Girl Scrawny Guy duo (though they are the same height).
    • And also by Fez and Big Rhonda.
    • Donna and Jackie. Almost all their scenes were staged with them sitting to work around this.
  • One Phone Call: In "Stolen Car", the boys are arrested for driving a car that was (mistakenly) reported as stolen. They get one phone call, and Kelso decides to call Jackie, because her father is a lawyer and she has a checkbook. When Jackie hears that Kelso is in jail, she promises that she'll sleep with him (for the first time) once he gets out. Kelso is so excited by this that he hangs up without telling her to bail them out.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • "Fez" (so-called due to his Overly Long Name - see below) is said to be an acronym for Foreign Exchange Student.
    • Red, as revealed in "Grandma's Dead," 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.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: In "Celebration Day", while camping Eric & Donna are planning to have a Two-Person Pool Party and Donna leaves camp first while Eric plans to follow her after. But unbeknown to them, Laurie decided to go Skinny Dipping and a naked Eric ends up walking on her instead, to their mutual horror. And Fez (who was planning on peeking on Laurie) ends up finding the naked Donna instead, who also has a Naked Freak-Out and has to throw rocks at him to get him to leave.
  • 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.
  • Pair the Dumb Ones:
    • In early seasons there's the couple of Kelso and Jackie, both being ditzy, shallow, and obsessed with their physical appearance.
    • Invoked by Hyde when Kelso hooks up with Eric's slutty sister Laurie.
    Hyde: No offense, Mrs. Forman, but those two could make the dumbest babies ever.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Hyde's mother abandons him at the end of season one, and the Formans take him in. In season five, Jackie's father is imprisoned, and her mother leaves, so she moves in with Donna for a while.
    • Fez's host parents kick him out when they realize he actually graduated a year ago.
  • Parental Substitute:
  • Parent with New Paramour: A sub-plot at the end of season 6 had Donna and Jackie being deeply uncomfortable about their parents dating each other, but for different reasons: Donna because she thinks Pam is a slutty Gold Digger and Jackie because he's not attractive enough for her mom.
  • The Permanent Record: In the episode "Halloween," the gang sneaks into their old elementary school, which burned down years ago, for some Halloween hi-jinks, but decide to leave soon after because they're not having any fun. Just as they're about to go, Jackie and Donna rejoin the others and show off some file folders from the principal's office containing their permanent records. When they open Hyde's file, they read a note from his second grade teacher that he's a born trouble maker after he lied about smashing another student's project, to which he still insists he didn't do. Just then, Eric admits to smashing the project becuase he was jealous, and Hyde then gets angry at Eric and blames him for getting yelled at in front of the class, and Eric's the reason he's been treated like a criminal ever since. When Hyde opens Jackie's file he tells everyone her middle name is Beulah, and finally they all turn on Kelso for lying about his age. He got held back and was now 18, and could have legally bought them beer. He didn't bring it up at all (the rest of the gang are 17, and the legal drinking age in Wisconsin at the time was 18). Finally, they decide to make peace and agree to forget the night's events and bury the records since they figured they couldn't be burned.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Red Forman is very attached his 1950's Corvette convertible and doesn't let anyone touch it let alone drive it. In one episode, Eric took the car on a joyride while his parents were out of town in order to impress a cheerleader. He accidentally drives the car into a ditch, it doesn't get damaged but it gets covered in mud and he has to clean it before his dad gets home. He succeeds but his cover is blown when his dad starts the car and finds the radio tuned to a different station.
  • Pregnancy Scare: In "The Pill", Jackie has a pregnancy scare. Donna starts taking the titular contraceptive, so the same thing wouldn't happen to her.
  • Present-Day Past:
    • The show was very good about the costumes and hair, but people didn't add "bitch" at the end of sentences back then, or call each other "whore", "dumbass" or "porky mouth", or shout "BURN!".
    • Sometimes items from The '80s 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 '90s and the Turn of the Millennium. Oddly enough, Boba Fett is mentioned in "Young Man Blues," 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.
  • Pretty Boy: Kelso is better described as "pretty" than "handsome". Lampshaded by Kelso himself.
    Kelso: I'm what's known as "man-pretty".
  • Primal Scene: Eric once walks in on his parents having sex. He is pretty traumatized by the experience.
    Kitty: Oh, Red!
    Red: Oh, Kitty!
    Eric: ... [staring, horrified]
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: Red takes the gang to a wrestling match in "That Wrestling Show".
  • Product Placement: You'd be surprised how many products from The '70s are still around.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • After she had a The Other Darrin phase during the sixth season, Laurie went to Canada for the rest of the show.
    • Eric was also absent during the final season, though he returned for the series finale.
    • Kelso appeared in only four episodes of the final season before going to Chicago but also returned for the finale.
    • Midge Pinciotti who suddenly divorced Bob and only returned at the end of season 6.

    Tropes Q to Z 
  • 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.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Lisa Robin Kelly was fired from the show in season 3 due to her drinking and substance abuse problems, Laurie having left for beauty school. She was replaced in season 6 after returning the previous year for the same reason.
    • Tanya Roberts left after season 3 to care for her terminally ill husband (this is also why her return in seasons 6 and 7 did not stick) . In-universe, Midge left Bob.
    • 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 and Kelso leaves at the beginning of season eight because Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher were going to be shooting Spider-Man 3 and The Guardian respectively at the same time season eight would have been in production. Hence the introduction of Josh Meyers' Randy and Jud Tylor's Samantha to try to fill the void.
  • Really Gets Around: Laurie is notoriously promiscuous.
  • "Rear Window" Homage: In "To Old to Trick or Treat, Too Young Too Die", Fez is stuck in wheelchair with a sprained ankle in the Forman's house. Watching next door with binoculars in the hope of seeing Midge naked, he becomes convinced that Bob has murdered Midge.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Kitty bashed Laurie with a very simple sentence: "You're a brat, you're goofing off in college and you're mean to your brother".
    • Then there was the time Eric chewed out two jocks who complained that the beer keg at Eric's party had a broken tap...which was broken because they had broken it a few minutes ago.
    • In "Love, Wisconsin Style" Red and Kitty give one to Eric after Eric refused to get back with Donna after Casey Kelso dumps her.
      Eric: Casey dumps (Donna) and she comes back to me? I'm not a rebound!
      Red: So you're too proud to take her back? And what do you have to be so proud of? You're not an athlete! The only smart thing about you is your mouth! (Beat) And look at you!
      Kitty: Red, He looks fine. He's just so darn stupid!
    • Hyde gives one to Eric in "The Good Son".
      You know Forman, I used to think Red was a real hardass, but after doing your chores for the last five days, I've come to the conclusion that you're just a lazy, spoiled brat.
  • Recurring Camera Shot: A regular occurrence - nearly Once an Episode - is the Circle where the camera spins around between the characters as they're implied to be passing a joint around.
  • Relationship Sabotage: Given that this show is about relationships between teenagers/youths, this would inevitably happen. Very often Kelso is the butt of it.
    • During the affair between Laurie and Kelso, Hyde would try to set up situations for Kelso to get caught by Jackie. Unlike most other examples, Hyde did it to entertain himself and there wasn't any jealousy involved. He had at least succeeded in rousing Jackie's suspicions.
    • Laurie deliberately kissed an unwitting Kelso in front of Jackie, finally exposing Kelso's cheating on Jackie and thus angering Jackie into breaking up with him.
    • Occasionally throughout the series, Fez would attempt to sabotage the relationship between Kelso and Jackie by badmouthing Kelso and/or presenting himself as a better option for Jackie. That never worked. On a similar note, in season 5, Kelso was offended that Hyde was dating Jackie, and resort to either win Jackie back or ruin the relationship.
    • Averted for the love triangle between Eric, Donna, and Hyde in Season 1. It was so short-lived that it never escalated beyond Hyde making his first and only love confession to Donna (which she probably forgot anyway since she was drunk at that time) in the midst of her date with Eric.
  • Repeated Cue, Tardy Response: Donna tells Eric to hide in the woods so he can jump out at the end of a ghost story she is going to tell.
    Donna: You'll know when she's coming because she screams before she kills. Let's see if we can hear her.
    Donna: I said, let's see if we can hear her!
    Eric: [off-screen] Donna, I'm stuck in a thorn bush.
  • Retcon:
    • Donna went from having an older sister named Valerie (mentioned in Eric's Birthday) and younger sister named Tina (seen in Eric's Burger Job) to being an only child starting from season two.
    • Red switched from being anti- to pro-Nixon.
      • Red's view of the US Government as a whole changed. In the beginning he was bitter about the direction America was going after the war. He angrily remarks that he was "promised a hovercraft" when he got back. In "Streaking", he shows a dislike towards President Ford and blames him for the poor economy and his plant closing and believes his freedom of speech is being taken away by wealthy political committees who are forcing him to ask the President a dishonest question. He tearfully looks to God and asks "Where's the America I was promised as a boy?" Later seasons would switch Red from being a veteran screwed over by his government to being a typical patroitic conservative Good Ol' Boy who is angered by Hyde's antigovernmental statements and seems content with the idea of the government hypothetically putting trackers on people.
  • Retool: Several changes were made to the show in season 5:
    • Episodes started being named after songs from various '70s bands.
    • Eric became a Star Wars geek, despite having shown only casual interest in it in previous seasons.
    • Donna's tendency to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing has been downplayed, and some of her previously unseen flaws have surfaced, such as having Bob's levels of bad taste.
    • The on-again, off-again relationship between Kelso and Jackie has been broken up for good, Jackie started dating Hyde, which jump-started her Character Development and, to a lesser extent, his.
    • With Hyde now paired with Jackie, Kelso took over his place as one of Those Two Guys with Fez.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: After Eric walked in on Red and Kitty having sex, his subsequent change in behavior led them to believe he was getting high, which of course he was, but that had nothing to do with it.
  • 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 Jackie’s dad, using minimal character exaggeration, to show why Eric got the job and Kelso didn’t. 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".
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: Hyde and Fez play a variant Hyde invents to see who will be Eric's best man. Fez can't get past a Poor, Predictable Rock strategy, even after a lot of rounds.
  • 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".
  • Running Gag:
    • Any time Hyde and Kelso start wrestling with each other, you can practically time when Kelso calls "foul" because he hurt his eye.
    • Fez's country of origin and nationality remain ambiguous throughout the series, even to the other characters.
    • Kelso, Fez, Hyde and Eric have all fallen off the water tower at least once. Then there was the character who died doing so, and the water tower was renamed after his memory.
    • Laurie literally being the devil. (She was apparently born with a tail and everything.)
    • Laurie being extremely easy and sleeping with, oh, every guy in town.
    • The first season had Kelso saying he was going to break up with Jackie. The gag stops after she breaks up with him (though they get back together a few episodes later.)
    • Fez's feud with clerk then landlord Fenton. Each of their run-ins starts with "Oh, it's you", followed by a shouting match, followed by both men cartoonishly turning in different directions and pouting.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Red and Kitty. Hyde and Jackie are a variation.
  • Scenery Censor: When Hyde makes Fez serve customers naked in the Foto Hut.
  • Scenery Gorn: That basement...though it grows on you after a while. Probably the most famous sitcom basement ever.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Eric and Fez are the Sensitive Guys to Hyde and Kelso's Manly Men.
  • 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!"
  • Serial Escalation: Invoked in "Red Sees Red". His restrictions start with a simple curfew, is followed by watching over the kids while they hang out and removing anything that could be considered "drugs" (Including glue), and then promptly crosses the Moral Event Horizon by nailing the windows shut, showing complete indifference to the possibility of zero escape from a fire for Eric. Same goes for the way the kids try to rebel; It starts out with trying to get away with the stuff they usually do, just in a short amount of time. Then Eric tries jumping out the window, only to find Red waiting right there for him. Then both Eric and Laurie try to sneak Donna and Kelso into their rooms to have sex with them, and culminates with the entire gang trying to push the (demobilized) Vista Cruiser out of the driveway.
  • Sex with the Ex: In "The Relapse" after her mother leaves, Donna is distraught and ends up having Sex for Solace with her ex-boyfriend, Eric. Eric believes that this means that they're back together, and is quite upset when he learns that it doesn't.
  • Shag Wagon: Kelso bought his uncle's used van for this very purpose.
  • She Is All Grown Up:
    • Gender flipped—the one who's all grown up is Kelso's brother Casey, and Donna goes ga-ga for him.
    Donna: [Upon seeing Casey enter a diner] Oh my God, it's Casey Kelso and he's so dreamy!
    • Also done with Eric's cousin, Penny, in "Eric's Hot Cousin".
  • Ship Sinking: Jackie/Kelso break up for good after season 5. Jackie actually referred to this trope at one point in time: Seeing Kelso's van sink into the frozen pond/river, she remarked that its a sign from God that she and Kelso are not meant to be together.
  • Ship Tease: Jackie/Hyde had their fair share of teasing in the early seasons whenever she broke up with Kelso. Both couples actually came to fruition over the course of the series.
  • Shoulders-Up Nudity:
    • After the gang goes Skinny Dipping and has their clothes stolen in "Hyde Moves In", we see them all wet and naked in the car as they drive back home, but everyone's only seen from the shoulders up.
    • In "Class Picture", when Donna flashes Kelson, the audience only sees her from the shoulders up.
  • In "Celebration Day", when a naked Eric walks in on Laurie (assuming she was Donna), we only see him from the waist up, while Laure has Hand-or-Object Underwear. Similarly when Fez founds the naked Donna, she's only shot from the shoulders up.
    • In "Squeeze Box", Hyde and Red walk in on Pam just as she's got undressed. The scene used a Toplessness from the Back shot in combination with a frontal should where you only see her from above the shoulders to imply her state of undress.
  • Shout-Out:
    • 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.
    • One episode ends in a Shout-Out to the Cult Classic Reefer Madness.
      Eric: I tried pot once, and now I'm incurably insane!
    • A Halloween Episode was made up of stringing together the plotlines of Alfred Hitchcock's most famous films.
      • 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.
    • Fez parodies Charlie's Angels with his own "Fez's Angel's". Ironically the real Charlie's Angel in the cast, Tanya Roberts, doesn't appear in the episode.
    • Leo's origin (and Leo himself in many ways) is similar to Reverend Jim Ignatowski's.
    • During S2, when Bob and Midge decide to date other people, their dates' names are Ted and Carol, a Shout-Out to Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
    • In "Sally Simpson" (itself a reference to The Who), the therapist who observes the Formans is named Stuart Sutcliffe, of all things.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Donna is fond of giving these to Eric.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Eric and Laurie. It ends up spilling over to Hyde in "The Good Son" when both of them team up against him. Red and Kitty are just not good at loving one child equally.
  • Significant Name Shift: Originally everyone calls Steven Hyde by his last name. Jackie, however, starts calling him "Steven" when she becomes romantically interested in him.
  • Signs of Disrepair: "Neighbours complaining about your loud muff###?"
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Fenton, to Fez. Also Laurie, to Jackie.
    • Hyde and Jackie had this at first but it soon blossomed into a mutual understanding (albeit with a lot of bickering) that became a Relationship Upgrade.
  • Slice of Life: The show focuses on the day-to-day lives of six teenagers in the 70s.
  • Slow Clap: After Bob (rightfully) calls out Donna & Jackie for trying to 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. The only time Laurie doesn't seem to enjoy being called a slut is in Season 2's "Laurie Moves Out." Red finds out she's living with a guy and is furious. He says no one will buy the cow if they get the milk for free, and she's visibly wounded, which was the one time Eric felt like it wasn't funny anymore.
    • In Season 8, there are many jokes made about Jackie being a slut, though she's never seen dating anyone, yet Fez sleeps with a number of women through the season and at least four in one episode.
    • A more serious (and rare male example) happens when Red finds out his old war buddy Bull, who had just offered him a job, was a swinger. Red immediately tells Bull that he doesn't know him anymore and ends their friendship. Red actually said that Bull didn't deserve his success because he was a pervert.
    • In season 6, Pam gets a lot of slut shaming from Kitty and Donna when she starts dating Bob (Not helped by her Gol Digger ways), such as when Kitty snarked at her for wearing a Sexy Slit Dress.
    Kitty: Pamela, I noticed that your skirt was torn all the way up to your thigh.
    Pam: No, I actually bought it this way. See, most skirts are only slit up to the knee, but I think people want to see more than that.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Edna's gone for weeks before the Formans step in, and although Hyde makes jokes about it, his home life is pretty abusive.
    Hyde: "We never had waffles at my house. My mom always said a waffle iron was a luxury, like pillowcases, or not getting hit."
  • Sorry Ociffer: Almost word-for-word.
    Leo: "Is there a problem, Ociffer?"
  • 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.
  • Special Guest:
  • Speed Sex: In "The Velvet Rope", Jackie and Kelso are shown kissing and laying down on her bed. The camera then shifts to a 1970s-style digital clock as it ticks away... two minutes.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • "Fez" is an acronym for "Foreign Exchange Student", so it should be spelled with an "s".
    • At least in fandom, the Formans' name is occasionally spelled with an "e" in the middle.
  • Spin-Off:
    • An indirect one with That '80s Show, set in 1984 San Diego. It didn't include anyone from this show and was heavily criticized for being a wannabe That 70s Show, leading to its cancellation after only a season.
    • A more direct example launched in 2023 with That '90s Show, in which Eric's 15 year old daughter spends the summer of 1995 staying with her grandparents and hanging out in their basement. Whilst only Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp return as series regulars, the vast majority of the original cast appear over the course of the first season.
  • Split Screen: Done a few times when two sets of characters are talking about the same thing (usually each other).
  • Skinny Dipping:
    • The episode "Hyde Moves In" had the gang skinny dipping in the Cold Open and lead to Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen situation where they had to drive back home naked.
    • In "Graduation", Eric and Donna plan to go skinny dipping together, only to get lost and Eric finds his sister Laurie swimming naked instead while Fez walks in on Donna.
  • Stacy's Mom:
    • Midge Pinciotti. The boys have all 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.
    Fez: I am attracted to Miss Kitty in a sexual way.
    • The boys similarly have the hots for Jackie's mom Pam, and merely being in her presense often makes them Distracted by the Sexy.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Laurie became a (relatively) better person by the end of season 5, but reverted back to her Jerkass manners in season 6 before being written out. This was possibly due to writers hastily writing the character out of the show when it became clear that the original actress will no longer return and the replacement actress simply couldn't pull off the same role as effectively.
    • Red would always be disappointed in Eric. No matter what achievement or Character Development Eric had accomplished, he would often mess up by the end of the episode or story arc. Even if not, Red on subsequent episodes would continue treating Eric as if he is still the same "dumbass" as before.
    • From season 1 to 6, Hyde will always have parental abandonment issues, be it from his mother or father... Even if the father returns, he would abandon him in the next season.
  • Stepford Smiler: When in critical situations, Kitty usually has to force a smile.
  • Stock Sitcom Grand Finale: The empty basement, as the characters count down the last seconds of 1979 upstairs.
  • The Stoner: Leo is by far the most prominent example. All the main kid characters are as well.
  • Stoners Are Funny: The Circle scenes, which show them smoking something that's very obviously pot but is never officially confirmed as pot. They occur in every episode and the conversations that follow are (almost always) hilarious.
  • 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.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Kelso. Even the girls who hate him can't deny he's good-looking.
  • Suddenly Ethnicity: Hyde and his real family, as his father is later revealed to be a black man.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Eric, Donna, Jackie, Fez, (and maybe, maybe not) Kelso when it comes to losing their virginity. They hyped it as a goal that was especially important and special. When that moment actually arrived... "Meh". Donna and Jackie admitted that their first time with Eric and Kelso respectively didn't feel impressive at all. Before hearing that, Eric and Kelso were cluelessly ecstatic. An "interview montage" with Laurie, Midge, and Kitty revealed that their own first-time wasn't impressive either. And finally, Fez described his first-time with Nina as somewhat disastrous. After all, in real life a novice IS unimpressive.
      Kitty: "and it was just wonderful... eventually."
    • Eric trying to kick open a door. It isn't as easy as in the films.
  • 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.
    • Charlie was originally meant to be one for Eric, but the actor didn't stay for the season, so the character has been killed off.
    • In Leo's absence, his role as Hyde's paternal figure has been filled by Roy in season 6 and WB in season 7.
  • Sweater Girl:
    • When Midge left Bob, the boys lament over losing "her sweet uptown rack".
      Fez: Oh, good God, man, what a marvelous set of kittens. Remember that sweater?
      Kelso: Oh. Remember the other sweater?
      Eric: Yeah. Remember that time she ran up to us in a sweater?
      Hyde: Remember the week she took up jump rope? In a sweater?
      (This is followed by a montage of said sweaters.)
    • After deciding they want to chase older women, Fez and Kelso decide that Kitty is hot and maybe they should buy her a sweater.
  • Sweet Tooth: Fez
    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.
    • Another aimed at Peter Frampton:
      Peter Frampton: The talentless idiot a million teenage girls made a star!
    • Red and Kitty also snarked at popular TV shows of the era, such as Gilligan's Island:
      Red Oh, Gilligan screwed it up! He always screws it up! Why don't they just kill him?
      Red: Who the hell gave those people a whole hour?!?
      Kitty: Oh my God, this is crap.
  • Taking the Heat: Hyde does this for Jackie after she's caught with a bag of pot. He spends the night in jail and is almost kicked out of the Formans house until Donna tells Kitty and Red what happened. Kitty thinks it was a noble gesture while Red chews Hyde out for risking his entire future over something he didn't even do.
  • Tempting Fate: What was the last thing Eric said to his grandmother before she died?
    Eric: I don't think being nice for a whole day would kill you. (cue her dropping dead)
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage:
    • In "Eric's Burger Job", Eric, Hyde, Kelso, and Fez all interview for a part-time job at Fatso Burger. The latter three give terrible answers resulting in Eric getting hired.
      Ricky: Why do you want to work for Fatso Burger?
      Eric: I feel it would be a wonderful experience.
      Kelso: My girlfriend's dad owns it.
      Fez: I love the uniforms.
      Hyde: To unionize the workers, man.
      Ricky: Tell me, what do you consider your best quality?
      Eric: I'm a real people person.
      Hyde: I don't answer stupid questions.
      Fez: I speak Dutch.
      Kelso: My eyes... and I guess my butt too.
      Ricky: Name something about yourself that you consider to be a weakness.
      Eric: I allow people to boss me around.
      Fez: I love chocolate.
      Hyde: I'm brutally honest... Pinhead.
      Kelso: [tilts back in his char in thought and falls over]
      Ricky: Where do you see yourself in five years?
      Eric: Fatso Burger.
      Fez: Covered in gold chains.
      Kelso: Rock star... no, movie star... no, rock star.
      Hyde: Prison.
    • In "Canadian Road Trip", after Eric, Hyde, Kelso, Fez, and Leo are detained by the RCMP for allegedly smuggling Fez (he misplaced his green card). They are each taken into a room for interrogation. Eric is the only one giving honest answers, Hyde makes up a story on how they're secretly terrorists planning on invading the country, Kelso asks pointless trivial questions about Canada, Fez pretends to not know English, and Leo simply repeats the Mountie's questions back to them.
    • In "Hyde Gets the Girl", Hyde is speed-dating at a party and each girl says something strange, unromantic, or disturbing. This however does not phase Hyde and remarks that he could easily have sex with all of them.
  • 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). Afterwards it is so obvious to Jackie she literally sees the words "I had sex" printed on Donna's forehead.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Almost every single episode, unsurprisingly. A great deal of conversations takes place during mealtimes in someone's home, typically Red's. We would assume the eating happens offscreen, or sometimes it doesn't, such as when Eric gets chased out before he finishes his meal.
  • 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." Subverted at the end of the same episode with Donna thinking of sexy things to make her hornier after kissing Eric. Her inner monologue goes: "Silk sheets, Joe Namath's butt, strawberries, slow dancing, ...the washing machine with an unbalanced load!"
  • Third-Person Person: Fez occasionally refers to himself in the third person.
  • Those Two Guys: Hyde and Fez up until season five, where Hyde starts dating Jackie, and Kelso starts hanging out with Fez.
  • Title-Only Opening: Subverted. In most episodes, a Title-Only Opening appears in the beginning of the episode, followed by the teaser, then followed by another Title Sequence with everything but the show's title. Though on some occasions, the second Title Sequence is absent and the trope is played straight.
  • Token Houseguest: Eric's friend Hyde moves in with the Forman family at the end due to his parents leaving him, living in their basement for much of the rest of the show. He even stays with them after Eric leaves.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Kelso. Jackie falls into this occasionally as well during the early seasons.
    • Eric's sister Laurie. Hilariously lampshaded by Hyde when Laurie and Kelso hook up.
      Hyde: Those two are gonna make the dumbest kids ever.
    • While Eric is reasonably smart most of the time, dropping a bowling ball on the couch in the first season, at Kelso's urging, was an example of this.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: The entire show revolves around the lives of six teenagers in the 1970s, and every single one of them are prone to succumbing to peer pressure to do something that can potentially (and often) get them in trouble. Kelso is the biggest offender among the six but even the straight man characters Eric and Donna had their moments.
  • Trapped In a Tanning Bed: In one episode, Donna and Jackie decide to get tans and fall asleep under a tanning lamp; the two end up getting sunburned as a result.
  • Truth-Telling Session: Eric and Laurie get into this at one point. The show-stopper is when Eric reveals that Laurie was born with a tail, which causes her to run away in tears.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: Most episodes have two storylines about the teenagers and one about the adults.
  • Totally Radical: Pastor Dave, as he tries to make the church seem cool and appealing to the kids.
  • Toplessness from the Back:
    • When Red and Hyde walk in on a naked Pam in "Squeeze Box", the audience only sees her naked back as she stands in front of them, combined with a frontal shot of her from the shoulders up.
    • In "Short & Curlies", when Charlie walks in on Kitty naked, only her back is seen by the audience.
    • In "Somebody to Love", when Jackie's dress has a Wardrobe Malfunction, the audience only sees her front the back as she stands there talking to a bemused crowd.
  • Trapped In a Tanning Bed: Donna and Jackie decide to get tans and fall asleep under a tanning lamp; the two end up getting sunburned as a result.
  • Trial Balloon Question: Eric (secretly) asks Donna to marry him at one point, and Eric asks Bob what he would do if they were engaged. Bob's answer was less than favorable, so they decide to keep the secret.
  • Trojan Gauntlet:
    • In one episode, Eric goes to the pharmacy to pick up some photos while his Bob is there to pick up her prescription, which he believes to be cough syrup. When the pharmacist tells him it's birth control, Eric bolts out of the store.
    • In a similar and kind of Inverted example: in one episode, Kitty provides Eric with a bag of condoms, which is embarrassing. However, later Kitty and Red are planning to have sex and realize that they're out, so Red sneaks into Eric's room to take one. Eric walks in, Red is angry/embarrassed, and Eric freaks out because he incorrectly believes that Red saw his marijuana stash.

  • True Companions:
    • 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 started burning her, Fez started worshiping her, Donna became closer friends with her, and Eric realized that she pissed Laurie off (even though he never became friends with her, see The Friends Who Never Hang above) that she became a full part of the circle.
  • Uncool Undies: Donna gets pantsed by Eric in a basketball game, exposing her granny panties, which Hyde delightfully makes fun of. The episode is even titled "Donna's Panties."
  • Unknowingly Possessing Stolen Goods: In "Stolen Car", after Eric gets the car taken away by his father after finding a scratch, Eric and his friends are left car-less until Kelso's cousin lets Kelso drive his car and takes the guys around. They get arrested after learning the car is stolen. It's subverted when the police learn the truth: that the cousin borrowed it from his grandmother and she had forgotten about it and reported it stolen.
  • 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. Averted with Bob's relationship with the more average Joanne, with whom he's more evenly matched, just after Midge leaves.
  • The Unfavorite: Subverted in that Eric is this to Red, while Laurie is this to Kitty. Overlaps with Double Standard as it is frequently shown that Red is hard on Eric because he cares. Being a product of his time, Red would probably believe that it would be important to teach his son self-sufficiency while his daughter would eventually be taken care of by her husband. As the series progresses Red becomes increasingly less tolerant of Laurie's ungrateful mooching behavior, but he never tries to teach her how to become a productive member of society, he just enjoys her prolonged absences. Once when she returned Red reacted by saying "We gotta start locking that door."
  • Unnecessary Makeover: In-Universe, Donna and Jackie give one to Big Rhonda in "Red And Stacey", in time for Rhonda's date with Fez. Fez doesn't like it.
    Fez: What have you two meddling whores done with my Rhonda?
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • Every time Fez is asked where he comes from, he always answers with a joke or a sarcastic remark.
    • Fez's real name has also never been revealed, as instead of saying it, people either call Fez something else or stop and ask how the name is pronounced. When Fez's friend from his country comes to visit he never calls Fez by any name.
  • Unusual Euphemism: After listening to George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words album, Eric decides to create a system for using the words in public by numbering them. Unfortunately, only about half of what he says makes sense when taking the original order of Carlin’s list into account.
  • 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.
  • The Vamp: Laurie, Eric's slutty older sister, is nicknamed "the witch" and "the Devil".
    Red: Eric, what have I told you about calling your sister "The Devil"?
    Eric: It's offensive to the Devil?
    • Played hilariously in one episode where the family is playing a game called Church Rummy with the Youth Minister at their church and Laurie shows her cards: 6, 6, and 6.
  • Vandalism Backfire: After Jackie breaks up with him, Kelso tries writing a song to win her back. Eventually, he annoys Eric into taking his guitar and smashing it.
    Eric: Well, isn't that funny?
    Kelso: You know what's even funnier? That was your guitar! Burn!
  • 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.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • 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.
  • Wannabe Line: One episode had this as an A plot, where Eric, Donna, Hyde and Fez try to get into a Studio 54 knock off in Chicago. Donna as the designated hot girl gets in right away but the boys take longer. Fez gets in with his dance moves, Hyde with his anti-conformity speech, and Eric simply because he is Donna's boyfriend (the bouncer couldn't believe she was dating him, and thought they were siblings).
  • Weakness Turns Her On: In "Hyde Get's The Girl", Eric is hit on by a girl who finds being depressed over his break up with Donna a turn on. He decides to use a wounded puppy façade to draw sympathy from other girls at the party until Donna reveals that he was the one who ended the relationship not her.
  • Webcomic Time: The show was on for eight years, though in-universe only 4 years passed. The show was set in 1976 for the first 12 episodes, 1977 until the end of the third season, 1978 until early in season 6, and 1979 for the rest of the series.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • 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."
  • Wham Line: Kelso spends "The Acid Queen" insisting he and Brooke slept together, but she denies it, so the others think he's lying or confused. When she later admits it did happen, Kelso gloats to the others until she explains why she just admitted it.
    Brooke: Michael, I just found out I'm pregnant.
  • Wham Shot: In the first episode of the fifth season, as soon as Hyde and Jackie are alone with each other they began making out, thus revealing the new romance pairing of the series.
  • 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.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Point Place was never given a specific location within the state of Wisconsin—sometimes it was stated they were in the "Greater Kenosha Area", sometimes they were close to Green Bay (especially when Red, Eric and the gang went to a Packers game), sometimes they were closer to Milwaukee. Chicago was also referenced a few times (it's where Kelso moved to in the final season), so that doesn't really help anything. The old Fox website said it was set in the fictional "Greater Oshkosh Area" (supported by a line of dialogue Kelso has in the early episode "Date Night"), and Bonnie Turner based it off a section of Toledo, Ohio (where she grew up) called Point Place.
  • 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.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Lampshaded by Hyde after Eric and Donna first had sex.
    Hyde: Good, I couldn't take one more week of that 'will they, won't they' crap.
  • With Friends Like 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...
  • Work Info Title: The show is indeed about a stereotypical American family and their friends in the 70's.
  • 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 unexpected skill in fixing cars, earning Red's respect.
  • Written-In Absence: When the Formans and the Pinciottis first met, both Laurie and Midge were absent. While there was no explanation for 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.
  • You Just Told Me:
    • Red pulls one on Eric during "Eric Gets Suspended" 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.



Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): That Seventies Show


"Well, be a man!"

Red reacts poorly when his wife says she's pregnant again. It takes Eric standing up to him for once to make him see sense.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / CallingTheOldManOut

Media sources: