In this universe, Canada is an entire nation of Butt Monkeys. At least in one episode.
Laurie was considered fair game because of what a complete bitch she was, and that made it okay to make fun of how she sleeps around.
Likewise, Kelso's status as the Butt-Monkey of the cast was due in part to sleeping around behind Jackie's back. Not only did none of the characters feel any sympathy for the misery that resulted from this, they would occasionally make it worse.
For all Red's threats to "put [his] foot in Eric's ass", to the point that it became his Catchphrase, he's never shown so much as raising a hand to his son, or any of the kids note The one time he's depicted doing anything remotely violent to Eric is when he puts him in a hold so Laurie can get in a free shot, which Kitty puts a stop to before it can happen. This is due to the medium; even with all the Deliberate Values Dissonance at play, the joke only works when Red is threatening to hurt Eric, because if he actually does, it can't be Played for Laughs anymore, at least not on a primetime Sitcom. This leaves two conclusions: either there's a whole lot of physical abusegoing on behind closed doors at the Forman house, or Red is all talk.
Donna. For some fans, she's the quirky girl-next-door who's also a feminist and independent. Others see her as vindictive and manipulative, especially in her relationship with Eric. During their relationship, she'd get mad at Eric for things that weren't his fault, Donna also made Eric give her money every time he referenced one of his interests and would use feminism and sex to win arguments. When she ditched Eric for HOURS to hang out with Ted Nugent, Donna saw no problem with what she had done and saw no reason to apologize. Eric brought the situation to his parents, and Kitty said she would have apologized to Red if she were to do that to him. When Eric says this to Donna, she says that's only because Red and Kitty are married and she still refuses to apologize. When Donna and Eric do break up (for the first time) it's because Donna's worried about being "chained down" to Eric and Point Place. Eric had only given her a promise ring and had never made any indication of undermining her future or interests, only asking if they were together in the hypothetical futures she brought up. But when they are broken up, Donna constantly insults him, messes up his chances of moving on, and leads him on with possibilities of them getting back together.
Donna. Some people like her and thinks she adds a lot of funny moments to the show, others think she's a Jerkass and a hypocrite who uses feminism to get her way in an argument or some other aspect of her life when she has shown she's not above acting like a stereotypical woman if it benefits her somehow. The fact that she often overacts to some of the smaller things Eric has done and treats him like crap even when he really hasn't done anything wrong and never gets called out on it doesn't help.
Laurie, for those who see her as a perfect Token Evil Teammate to the main group and who gets a lot of the funniest lines in the show, to those who find her antagonism completely over-the-top and based on nothing but a weak For the Evulz / Spoiled Brat explanation and otherwise is mainly just defined throughout the show by a bunch of cheap Really Gets Around jokes.
Catharsis Factor: For people who didn't like Laurie, seeing karma hit her starting in the second half of season two, starting in "Laurie Moves Out" where Red catches her in the act of having sex. He forgives her, but sheds the rose-colored lenses he had in previous episodes when it came to her. This is followed by moments of her still acting like he has that demeanor going as well as you'd expect. Especially where she tries to defend her relationship with Kelso with the "But I love him!" argument and slowly realizing he's not buying it. In particular, viewers who were mad at Eric being unable to expose Laurie's affair with the professor and allowing Laurie the opportunity to play for sympathy would enjoy Eric realizing that she was born with a tail, much to her horror, and people who disliked the way she got zero blame for essentially derailing Kelso and Jackie's relationship will like Jackie physically attacking her in "Cat Fight Club".
Randy. Apparently the writers assumed if all of the characters thought that he was perfect, so would the audience.
"Randy is perfect. That lady at the fair who did the caricatures? She refused to draw him cause she couldn't find a flaw."
For many people, Donna. The fact that she's always portrayed as being in the right even when she really isn't and her overall treatment of Eric in their relationship are just two of the many other sore spots people have with her as a character.
Critical Research Failure: In the Veterans' Day episode, Red and Bob both throw barbecues and everyone is dressed for summer weather. Veterans' Day is November 11, late fall and well past barbecue season, and even in warmer climates it isn't known as a barbecue holiday. Having it instead be Memorial Day would have been more logical, since that falls in May and is known for barbecues.
Crosses the Line Twice: "Grandma's Dead", where Eric's grandmother dies as he is driving her home. Seeing Grandma Forman's lifeless body flop around in Eric's passenger seat, or having Kelso crawl over her to reach his 8-Track, would not be nearly as funny if the viewers had not wanted to kill the character themselves.
Kelso occasionally. He was a jerk, but sometimes he was portrayed as the bad guy when he was really being reasonable. When he lent Jackie his van and she smashed it, he reasonably wants her to pay to have it fixed, but Jackie refuses because she bought him gifts while they were together.
When Eric breaks up with Donna, the show treats it as though it was his fault and everyone believes Donna actually broke up with him despite Eric's protests. Then when Donna breaks up with Casey and immediately wants to get back together with Eric, his refusal is treated as selfish and idiotic by Red and Kitty. Regardless what one thinks of Eric's old-fashioned values, the fact is that he and Donna had very different visions for the future and if neither was willing to compromise for the other then it's for the best they broke up, and when Donna wanted to hook up again she was clearly on the rebound from Casey and she and Eric still had those tensions that broke them up the first time to work out.
Red can get this treatment, despite his thorough "Well Done, Son!" Guy and The Unfavorite relationship with Eric, his supposedly hard-line modes of discipline can seem rather reasonable and far from severe (and whenever it does stray to Kick the Dog territory he's always called out on it). Given this makes sense since it's often an In-Universe reaction from Eric.
Fanon Discontinuity: Many fans refuse to acknowledge the existence of the eighth season and prefer the cut-off to be somewhere mid-seventh season.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Hyde/Jackie, which is also a subversion; the two were together for a large chunk of the series (about 3 seasons), but officially ended in season seven after some other temporary break ups. They were very popular with the fandom because they were seen as a surprisingly stable relationship in comparison to Eric and Donna's constant arguments, a stability that only compared to Red and Kitty's relationship. There was a reason why Kelso wanted them to be his daughter's godparents. Hyde's actor Danny Masterson has even tweeted his agreement with the fans that were disappointed Jackie and Hyde didn't end up together.
The next to last episode of season 2, "Cat Fight Club", features Red fantasizing about the year 1997 and bemoaning Laurie dating Kelso with the declaration that he'll "have a heart attack before [he] gets his jetpack." At the time, a crack about how we still don't have jetpacks in 2000 was funny, but it became this as of the season 5 finale, "Celebration Day", when Red really does have a (non-fatal) heart attack as a result of hearing Laurie and Fez got married so the latter will stay in the country. Additionally, in another episode, Red faked a heart attack to get Kitty off his ass about his health.
The episode "Grandma's Dead" does have a heartbreaking real world example though during the otherwise hilarious funeral scene when each character observes Grandma Forman's open casket and we hear the thoughts that run through their head. Laurie reflects on how life is complicated because you "get all old and die... thank God I'm young and hot!" In light of the death of actress Lisa Robin Kelly at the age of 43, it's cringe-inducing.
When Hyde took the fall for Jackie buying pot, some of the gang makes cracks about Hyde becoming someone's "girlfriend" in jail. In 2017, Danny Masterson was fired from The Ranch after allegations arose that he committed rape; in 2020, he was arrested and charged with three rapes.
There was a scene from the episode where the gang goes to a wrestling match. After it was announced on TV, Donna starts wrestling Eric and she laughingly exclaims that Eric isn't fighting back, cut to Hyde's deadpan "Why would he?". Back then, it was funny because Eric wouldn't dare fight back someone who is as attractive as Donna if it meant getting to her; now looks more acute with how Masterson was alleged to have raped women.
A big deal is made of Bob and Midge renewing their vows, which is particularly sweet after they'd fought and argued for so long, and then Midge abruptly leaves him and Donna just two seasons later.
"Career Day": the back-and-forth between Hyde and his mom, Edna, gets so vicious that he eventually storms out, which is likened to how his father left. Talking to Red convinces Hyde to at least try to work things out, and Edna acknowledges she's not being a good mom but wants to do better. Then a few episodes later, she abandons him.
Meta example: Hyde says "I always thought it was the loss of freedom...and the uninvited man-love" when Jackie talks about why prisoners are unhappy. Come 2020, Danny Masterson gets arrested for allegedly raping three women.
Kelso's decision in Season 7 to make Hyde and Jackie his daughter's godparents instead of Eric and Donna has this a couple times over. Kelso says Hyde and Jackie are simply the more stable couple and cites Eric and Donna's wedding falling through. A few episodes later, however, Hyde and Jackie's relationship hits another rough patch before ending for good at the start of Season 8. Then a few episodes after that we learn that Eric and Donna have broken up, though they at least get a Maybe Ever After in the Grand Finale.
The outspoken Feminist and Progressive Donna wanting to get an interview with Ted Nugent and getting angry at Eric for sabotaging it becomes more hilarious when one sees that Nugent in real life has gotten involved with a number of ultra-right wing causes and is noted for his open sexism.
Eric, wearing an all-black outfit, wishing he could shoot webs and later saying he learned how to fight from Spider-Man. Topher Grace went on to play Venom in Spider-Man 3, who had all of Spidey's powers, wore a symbiote that was black as a costume, and could shoot webs.
In "Going To California," Hyde tells Eric that he "has no problem fooling whitey." Eric reminds Hyde that he's white, and Hyde responds by saying, "Barely." Cut to Season 7, where it is revealed that Hyde is half-black.
Also in Season 5, after Jackie and Hyde break up because he cheats on her, a distraught Hyde turns on the radio to a country music station and says he finally gets country music. Cue 2016.
The fact that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis started dating in 2012 after playing a couple when the show started. It became Heartwarming in Hindsight in February 2014, when they announced their engagement, and as of 2017, are the proud parents of two children.
In one episode, Kelso starts donating sperm. Jackie makes him go and get them back because she "wants to have his babies someday."
Speaking of Star Wars, considering the year of the series, it is not uncommon for people like Eric to pair Luke Skywalker with Leia Organa. Eric even has an Imagine Spot where Luke and Darth Vader are fighting for Leia's affection and sometimes dress up as Luke while getting Donna to dress up as Leia. Wait 'til he watched the two sequels and gets the shock of his life when he finds out the true relationship between Luke, Leia, and Vader.
In Season 7's "Let's Spend the Night Together," Eric gets attacked (by a group of women) at a feminist rally. Donna tells him to run... like Bruce (now known as Caitlyn) Jenner. She then curses herself because Eric is too "feminine" to know about sports.
Both Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderrama would eventually be romantically linked to celebrities namedDemi.
In Season 4's "An Eric Forman Christmas", Eric winds up coming up with the term "space unicorn" over a decade before Parry Grippdid.
During The Rock's cameo portraying his dad, Rock makes a reference to himself, where he hopes "his son" will one day become "the most electrifying man in sports entertainment". Well... The Rock will grow up into becoming someone who is far bigger than that.
Eric's uneasy attitude toward W.B., Hyde's black biological father, in "Let's Spend The Night Together" became much funnier once Topher Grace went on to play David Duke in BlacKkKlansman. Ironically, both the episode and the film take place in 1979.
Relating to the above, in "It's a Wonderful Life" Eric Forman is initially pleased that his future self grew a mustache, only to be told that it was just chocolate cake. In BlacKkKlansman, Topher Grace plays Duke with an actual mustache.
When Kelso reveals he's been donating sperm, Hyde mentions, among other things, "libraries will fall into disrepair" from Kelso having children. Kelso later impregnates Brooke, a librarian.
Fez once fantasized himself as Ricky Ricardo alongside Donna as Lucy from I Love Lucy. Wilmer Valderama would go on to play Desi Arnaz in himself in Lucy Loves Desi, a radio play about the creation and early years of I Love Lucy.
When the gang are being interrogated about their visit to Canada, Hyde claims he's there to "nail Margaret Trudeau". Margaret Trudeau's actual son Justin would go on to legalize marijuana in Canada.
There was an episode where Eric became friends with a guy called Buddy (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt). There was a montage of them hanging out to a Best Friends song, only for it to turn out that Eric's friend was gay. At the end of the episode, Red and Bob had a Best Friends montage.
Hyde: You're like half in love with him aren't you?
There's also this little gem:
Kelso: ...Did you just kiss my ear a little? Fez: ...Yes. Kelso: (beat) I kinda liked it.
Then there was the episode where Fez had an erotic dream about Kelso.
They've also kissed:
Fez: Ah, this is tomorrow's school paper. Oh my god, on the front page, there's a picture of me kissing Kelso by the lake! Eric: Fez, why are you kissing Kelso by the lake? Fez: We caught a fish, I was excited. I kissed the fish too, but, of course, they don't show you that.
Mainly with Hyde having such an awful childhood his casualJerkass traits feel rather mild to what could've been, and who generally becomes a more well-rounded and at least well-meaning character -if not entirely shedding some of his Jerk-ier tendacies- after he moves in with the Formans (and later while dating Jackie).
Jackie, although she has her extreme Control Freak tendencies towards Kelso while they're dating and her generally shrill Spoiled Brat personality, she still doesn't deserve a lot of the crap she gets as The Friend Nobody Likes and Kelso constantly fooling around behind her back. Character Development in the later seasons, though, tended to rub off much of her Jerkass traits, and while despite having a semblance of her original personality, thanks to her Broken Bird storyline she eventually becomes one of the more level-headed and emphatic characters on the show.
"Dumbass!"Explanation Red's favorite insult for pretty much everyone.
"I love you." "I love cake."Explanation Eric's fumbled reaction to Donna saying the L-word for the first time.
"Damn, Jackie! I can't control the weather!"
"Why is the dog on the table?" "He likes to be tall."
"I'm going to bed for a few days."
"Red, do you think I'm smart?" or any type of question that results in "Oh, is that what we're doing today? We're gonna fight?"
"If I were a bird, I'd fly into a ceiling fan."
"It's a car. That runs on water, man!"
One-Scene Wonder: Buddy Guy, Eric's new and very wealthy best friend in Eric's Buddy who has a secret crush on him. Although controversial at the time, perhaps in a strong sign of Society Marches On he's retroactively seen as one of the show's most popular one-shot characters. Being played by a young Joseph-Gordon Levitt certainly doesn't hurt.
Replacement Scrappy: Poor Randy. After Eric left for Africa Randy was added in as a replacement to round out the cast. Was he given his own personality and be his own character? Nope! Randy was added in as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Eric despite being pretty much the opposite in looks (tall and handsome with long blonde hair) and even dated Donna after she and Eric broke up off-screen. When Kelso left, did the writers get a new character to replace him? Nope! Someone decided that Randy had to play both the nerd and the dumbass, resulting in an inconsistent and unfunny character who was a dumb nerd but also a socially awkward player but also an unfunny clown who constantly bounces between roles and never really works with any of them. The writers caught on and barely shown him in the series finale.
Romantic Plot Tumor: Even though most people prefer it to Randy, Eric and Donna's relationship over the series gets to this level at several points, to the point it seems like the writers were trying to think of any reason to break them up so they could get them back together again. The crowning example is when they broke up because Donna wouldn't accept Eric's promise ring, not wanting to be "trapped" in Point Place, listing several reasons because of it. Maybe this would have been understandable... had Donna not almost immediately hooked up with Kelso's brother, who's the living embodiment of everything she supposedly left Eric because. Let's just say it's some of those things that caused Donna to be one of the more divisive characters in the cast...
This at least gets acknowledged semi-frequently in universe though, with several characters (Hyde being the most frequent) stating they keep getting rather sick of hearing Eric and Donna constantly talking about and discussing every little thing about their relationship.
Hyde: I couldn't put up with one more week of that "Will they won't they" crap.
Casey and Donna, big time. Mainly since Casey was such a flatJerkass who Donna inexplicably fell heed over heels for no real reason other than a shallow All Girls Want Bad Boys, despite previously showing she could easily see through that façade, and him ultimately getting no Hidden Depths whatsoever and the writers doubling down on his Jerk with a Heart of Jerk personality only being made more affable thanks to Luke Wilson's typically laid back delivery. While it did become increasingly obvious that he was a Romantic False Lead in comparison to Eric, making Donna take a level in dumbass so they could get together and the love triangle taking up so much time in the latter half of season 4, for many it brought down the show as a result.
Seasonal Rot: Opinions vary on exactly how early it started, but many agree that Season 8 (where Kelso and Eric left and brought in Randy to replace them) was the single worst season of the show.
Retroactively, though, Season 7 is viewed by most fans to be the start of the show's decline in quality, with the jokes feeling forced and not as funny, the characters getting flanderized to one trait (i.e. Kelso's stupidity, Eric's love of Star Wars, etc.) and the storylines feeling played out being pointed out as the reasons for why.
Shipping Goggles: Fans seem to disregard Hyde's actions in the final season and claim he and Jackie broke up because he didn't want to get married when really the reason was the opposite.
Signature Scene: While it's more of a Running Gag, the scenes where the camera pans to-and-from each main character in a "circle" of implied pot sharing is what the show's best remembered for.
Donna and Randy. Donna is noticeably attracted to Randy while she's still in a relationship with Eric. The fact that the writers also broke up the Official Couple (and having it be an off-screen Eric's fault, no less) just to get them together doesn't help.
Jackie and Fez's Relationship Upgrade comes pretty close as well, especially since a lot of people weren't happy that she didn't get back together with Hyde. She basically went from regarding Fez as a good friend to being head over heels in love with him in the span of a few episodes. Though it needs to be noted that in an episode from one of the earlier seasons that Jackie has admitted that she found Fez to be attractive.
Strawman Has a Point: After getting Brooke pregnant, Kelso is initially reluctant to get involved or take responsibility, which leads to the others criticizing him. While they're certainly not wrong, Kelso has a pretty understandable response: "Y'know, it's real easy to talk about the right thing when it's not your life."
Charlie Richardson, who only appeared for three episodes in the show was supposed to be Eric's replacement for the last season. Instead, his character is killed in only the first episode of said season. The ultimate replacement is Randy, who was not well received from fans, who some preferred Charlie over Randy.
Samantha; if you're going to have Hyde get married, then do more with his wife besides using her for Dumb Blonde or stripper jokes.
Kelso, being The Ditz, is naturally a fountain of this. One of the group's favorite stories is of the time Kelso 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!"
A particularly stupid came from 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.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Eric and Donna pressuring Jackie and Hyde to admit their relationship to Kelso — and shaming them for doing it in the first place and keeping it a secret — comes off as rather meddlesome and hypocritical to many fans, considering the two of them didn't seem to have any trouble keeping Kelso's actual affair with Laurie a secret from Jackie for months. For Kelso himself, the idea that Jackie really owes him anything (after years of dealing with his cheating, passive aggressively insulting her, pestering her for sex, and ditching her with no explanation) has become a point of contention among fans, especially in recent years.
Additionally and more pressingly, the shows lack of concern about sexual consent is a lot more troubling to viewers in recent years than it was while the show was airing. From Jackie and Donna being the target of frequent sexual harassment and even assaults from their male friends note (Including frequent attempts by Fez to spy on them getting undressed or having sex, Kelso grabbing Donnas butts or breasts against her consent, and numerous demeaning nicknames and jokes about their appearances or sexual history, amongst other things), Eric planning to have sex with the inebriated Donna, Jackie offhandedly mentioning that Kelso had coerced her into sex by repeatedly asking her for it despite her initial refuses, to outright rape via Laurie forcing herself on a verbally non-consenting Kelso, its all Played for Laughs.
Another troubling note is how in one episode, Eric notes he knew how to shoot a gun after going through a "Taxi Driver phase". This has become even worse since the episode originally aired since there have been so many mass shootings in the US and guns in general are a hot-button issue.
The plot with Kelso training to be a cop was at the time seen as very unrealistic, pointless and a sign of seasonal rot, however after the 2016 elections in the US, people became more forgiving of the plot and the idea that someone that dumb could have a position of power and even be chosen to have it.
The Jackie and fez romance and them being endgame was also widely disliked by fans initially with many preferring Jackie and Hyde, but after the allegations and charges were brought up regarding Danny irl, fans slowly warmed up to the pairing of Jackie/fez.
Win the Crowd: Despite being seen somewhat as a Spiritual Successor to Happy Days, since that show ended there hadn't many successful TV franchises mining a previous era's nostalgia and many were initially hesitant about this attempt at the beginning. However, the show found it's footing quickly by seasoning in 70's-specific culture quite effectively but not using it as a crutch, and instead relying on the strength of it's own well-defined humor and character-driven storylines to make it's appeal feel more timeless. No doubt a key factor in the show becoming a rare cross-generational hit.
Win Back the Crowd: As poorly receiving as nearly all of Season 8 is, managing to get the original main cast back together for the finale, with as few appearences from Randy as possible and giving the characters a satisfying end to their narratives (even if some were left intentionally open-ended), even in the case of Seasonal Rot that was being experienced up to that point the finale is still considered one of the best episodes and a strong way to send the show off in classic sitcom fashion.