A fan theory for That ’70s Show argues that Eric Forman really met an angel in season 4, episode 1, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” According to the theory, Eric even traveled to the future with the angel, who was played by Wayne Knight. Originally airing on Fox from 1998 to 2006, That ’70s Show often featured references to pop culture from the ’70s, although it occasionally spoofed other content as well — such as the season 4 parody of It’s a Wonderful Life.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” parodied the 1946 movie of the same name, but with comedically lower stakes. In the original Frank Capra film, the protagonist George Bailey wished he’d never been born until an angel showed him a somber version of the world without his existence. The That ’70s Show episode started with a similar wish; however, instead of a world without himself, Eric wished for a reality in which he had never kissed Donna, which occurred back in season 1. An angel, Wayne Knight, appeared and brought Eric on a journey, demonstrating the warped reality of a world without Pinciotti and Forman ever locking lips. The assumption is that these events are just a dream — but a fan theory argues that the events had to have happened in Eric’s real life.
A Reddit user proposed the theory that the angel was real in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The angel showed Eric several key moments that happened as a result of Eric and Donna not kissing in That ’70s Showseason 1. In the last futuristic scene, he led Eric to a high school reunion where Fez sang the popular ’80s song, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight.” The theory argues that while this might not appear odd at first glance (since the reunion took place in the ’80s), it doesn’t explain how Eric dreamt about a song that wouldn’t come out until the next decade? This minute detail seemingly proves the author’s theory that an angel visited Eric and presented a distorted future to him and the audience.
Upon rewatching the episode, fans can see further proof of this theory because Wang Chung’s song wasn’t the only ’80s bop in the episode. When the angel announced their departure to the ’80s, Eric heard the song “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, which came out in 1982. Then at Hyde and Donna’s wedding, which elaborated on That ’70s Shows’ famous love triangle, the gang regrouped for a classic stoner moment in Eric’s basement where Fez performed the tune “I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls, which also debuted in 1982.
Fans in the comment section of the original Reddit post agreed with the author’s theory, although there are other considerations as well. The series is infamously anachronistic: That ’70s Show even has a Gremlins Easter egg in one Christmas episode, despite that movie debuting in 1984. Still, there is some merit to the theory. The post was published in February 2021, so for a sitcom that ended 15 years ago, That ’70s Show continues to showcase its staying power and lasting effect on pop culture.