With the recent announcement of That ‘90s Show getting the green light for production, many are reminiscing on its predecessor, That ‘70s Show. The sitcom ran from 1998 to 2006 and was the jumping off point for a lot of careers. Actors like Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, who are now married to each other, played an onscreen couple on the hit sitcom that started their careers. That ‘70s Show follows Eric Forman and his band of buddies who are teens in the 1970s. Their main meeting ground is Eric’s basement which serves as the comfort place and their go-to hang out.
The trials and tribulations of teen-hood serve as the crutch of the plot, helping to make it relatable to not only those who grew up in the ‘70s but teens of any generation. All the characters in That ‘70s Show are lovable in their own way. It is almost impossible not to find their individual comedy and their dynamic as a group entertaining. Even the parents have a piece of the pie in the core satire that is the show. The friendships feel lived in, and each embodies the quirkiness of the character making them whole and fully fleshed out. These were the funniest characters in That ’70s Show
Kitty Forman is played by Debra Jo Rupp, and most notably remembered for her infectious nervous laugh. She is Eric’s mom and very slowly, overtime, she became a mother figure for almost the entire group. Most of the other parents in That ’70s Show were absent, except for Bob and Midge. This not only made Kitty one of the heart’s of the show, but humbled her in ways that made her more of a person and less of a caricature. She is known for being mostly oblivious to the shenanigans of her children, but she is unmistakeably kind in nature. Her reaction to stress is to naturally make her way over to the Forman’s in home miniature bar where she is always able to nurse her ailing problem with a spirit of her choice. She is often paired off with each of the teens at moments and that is where the true delight of her comedy comes out. Not only are they her best moments, outside those with Red Forman, but they are the moments that bring her character to life as a mother.
If there was ever a man who was going to tell you where he was going to put his foot, it was Red Forman. He is your typical portrayal of a tough dad who very silently loves his children. He is undeniably difficult when it comes to Eric, but the best part about Red is that you can tell he really cares. His comedic timing is mainly dialed in on the fear of him getting completely irate, but his mild-tempered nature with Kitty makes him all the more lovable. When both Kitty and Red are in a scene together, the room lights up. Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith bounce off of each other with both ease and grace. It is no surprise that fans of the original series are so excited to see the onscreen married couple come together again in a brand-new decade.
Leo, played by Tommy Chong, was probably one of the best castings of That ’70s Show as a period piece-style sitcom. Tommy Chong was most well known for his Cheech and Chong-themed comedy films and music in the 70s. The plots of his movies were mostly drug-based, and he often played a blank-minded stoner who loved to have a good time. The creators of That ’70s Show asked exactly that of him and basically had him play one of the characters from his films to keep it in true 70s fashion. The irony alone easily makes Leo one of the best characters on the show because he is so perfectly placed in the setting. He never knows the day, and his stories are wild beyond belief, but never really hold any true relevance to the original topic at hand. Leo serves the purpose of nostalgia for not only the 70s as a whole, but those who grew up knowing someone like this.
One of the longest running jokes of the show is that the audience never finds out where Fez is from, or what his full name is. When the gang first meets Fez ,he is hung up in a locker. Over the course of the show, Fez transforms from lovable nerd to the guy who eventually gets the girl. His funniest and best pairings are with Kelso. Yet, he is most notably remembered for his line, “I said good day,” right before walking away when things fluster him. His style is part of his charm, but also fuels his desperate want to fit in. However, the overall emphasis on his overly extensive outfits pair with his outgoing personality. Fez’s comedic charm fluctuates with whoever he is on-screen with, making him one of the most pleasing characters to have on screen.
Donna is the foundation of what a feminist, hippie teen in the 70s was. She dates Eric, and the running joke is that she is so completely out of his league. Eric is a lanky teen with shaggy hair, and Donna is his strong girlfriend whom he sometimes hides behind. She is tough and smart and is constantly putting people in their place when they try to put her down. This is one of the characteristics that she increasingly inherits as the series progresses and what ultimately leads to her and Eric splitting temporarily. She is arguably the brains of the group and when she is right, she always lets them know in the most hilarious of ways. Donna is the constant target of Jackie’s jokes which mainly consist of ripping on her height or calling her a lumberjack, but it is in Donna’s reactions with Jackie that her true humor comes out. One of the Donna’s best moments is when she and Jackie try to get a tan from heat lamps in Donna’s room, but instead get sunburn. The two end up fighting about whose fault it is and slapping each other’s burns.
When Mila Kunis auditioned for the role of Jackie, she lied and told casting that she was eighteen years old. At the time she was only 14, but production was so pleased with her audition that they let her remain. Their explanation was that she was a grade behind and was the youngest of the group. Jackie is undeniably one of the funniest characters on That ’70s Show. She is the pretty, popular cheerleader who is spoiled by the wealth of her family. She dates Kelso, the handsome boy with nothing going on upstairs and is constantly let down by his poor decisions. Her quick one-liners and nasty teen remarks make her one of the characters that can actually generate a decent laugh-out-loud response. Kunis’ role as Jackie jump-started her career, but also brought to life one of the best portrayals of a teen girl in a regularly broadcasted sitcom.
Micheal Kelso, portrayed by Ashton Kutcher, was the constant brunt of the joke during the series’ eight-season run. Handsome, brainless, and questionably well-intentioned, Kelso is a friend or even classmate that someone has had in their life. He is a clown at heart, and has no trouble finding a date. Ashton Kutcher found his long term home on That ’70s Show thanks to Kelso, and went on to have a decent career in early-2000s comedy films. Most of his characters were on the same wavelength as Kelso, but just a tad bit more grown up. Any fan of the series wouldn’t be disappointed if Uncle Kelso and Aunt Jackie made an appearance on the That ’90s Show reboot. It would probably even serve as a fairly decent spoof being that Kunis and Kutcher are now married in real life. As far as sitcoms of the 2000s go, That ’70s Show deserves a spot on the highest rank for its heart and good intentioned humor.