From 1998 to 2006, That ‘70s Show was one of the most popular sitcoms on television. It spawned a spin-off, and helped launch the careers of many of the actors and actresses in the show. Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, and Laura Prepon went on to do much bigger things.
But in watching the show, which lasted for eight seasons, we can’t help but notice discrepancies and things that made little sense. It’s to be expected when you film a show in one decade, when it’s supposed to take place two decades earlier. Continuity errors and such abound— it’s only natural.
That ‘70s Show aired for 200 episodes, which gave it plenty of time to mess things up. And even though we got so many episodes, some things were simply never explained, and it left many fans infuriated once the show ended.
Here are 20 things that still don’t make sense about That ‘70s Show.
20The Disappearance And Reappearance Of Laurie
For the first three seasons of That ‘70s Show, Lisa Robin Kelly played Eric’s sister, Laurie Foreman. But then she was written off the show for a while (she went to beauty school), leaving midway through the third season due to an alcohol problem. After Lisa returned for a few episodes in season five, she was replaced by Christina Moore for season six, and Laurie didn’t show up for any of the episodes in the final two seasons. Lisa Robin Kelly passed away in 2013 at the age of 43.
19The Promise Ring
In the 25th episode and season finale of season 3, Eric buys a promise ring for Donna, and Kelso also buys one for Jackie. Both guys are surprised at their girlfriends’ reaction, and then Eric goes on to break up with Donna. The promise ring was blown out of proportion a bit, as it seemed like a big deal at the time but didn’t really have much to do with the future—Eric would eventually get back together with Donna. What was the point of the ring?
18All The Circle Sessions With Red In The House
One of the common threads throughout That ‘70s Show was showing the teens not so subtly partaking in illicit substances in Eric’s basement. The Circle, as the gang was called, was a big part of the show, but none of them ever seemed to get in trouble. Red catches them in his basement in season seven, but they don’t even get in trouble. How would he not have realized sooner what was going on under his own roof, and why wouldn’t he lay down the law?
17Jackie Tolerating Kelso
Jackie might have ping-ponged between boyfriends quite frequently (Kelso, Hyde, Fez, etc.), but it was really Kelso who got away with too much. He treated her pretty horribly throughout the show. He kept cheating on her, but she kept taking him back. She deserved better (which she eventually got, much to the chagrin of many viewers), and it just doesn’t make sense why she would have such Stockholm Syndrome for Kelso.
Trying to show Kitty aging through the course of the show is one thing— it’s a natural part of life— but That ‘70s Show really harped on the idea too much, to the point where it became unnecessary. Like, we get it. Debra Jo Rupp of course played the part masterfully, but turning Kitty’s menopause into a running gag was a bit tiring and, at the end of the day, rude.
15Where Did Donna’s Sisters Go?
Many people might have assumed that Donna was an only child, but that was false. In the episode “Eric’s Burger Job,” we find out she has a sister named Tina. Then we find out she has another sister named Valerie in “Eric’s Birthday.” After season two, the show never mentioned either of these sisters again, and the writers even made Donna an only child. Where did the sisters go?! Why were they forgotten?
14The Timeline And Everyone’s Ages
That ‘70s Show had a wonky timeline unlike any other show. The first season started in ’76 and changed to ’77 after 12 episodes. Then it became ’78 by the end of the third season, which lasted all the way until the sixth season. The rest of the show took place in ’79, with the finale ringing in the ‘80s. The confusing timeline, mixed with their high school lives, made tracking the character’s ages very difficult.
13The Eight Christmases Over 3.5 Years
Here’s another issue with having such a varied timeline: holiday episodes become quite a mess. Even though the events of the show lasted only four years (though it aired for eight), there was a Christmas-themed episode nearly every season. Christmas episodes are great for ratings, but it doesn’t explain how there would be eight Christmases in just over 3.5 years!
Other continuity errors are all over the place. Producers were constantly putting in things that didn’t exist yet, despite being careful about most things. For instance, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are shown in multiple episodes, but the company didn’t come to Wisconsin until 2000. Eric has Spider-Man sheets on his bed, but the illustration of Spider-Man is from the 1990s cartoon. There was an Indiana license plate shown in one episode that wasn’t issued until 1993. The errors continued.
11The Racist Treatment Of Fez
No one ever knew where Fez was from— it was a running gag on the show. Fans wondered for years, and while it was a different time period, Fez wasn’t treated very well. People weren’t as politically correct in the ‘70s, and characters were often really racist toward him. But that doesn’t excuse his own behavior that we’ll discuss…
10And Fez’s Treatment Of Women
The writers made Fez incredibly inappropriate toward women. He would hide in the women’s bathrooms, which is gross, and while the ‘70s might have been a different time for women, it’s an odd decision for show-runners to include in a show that was filmed from 1998 to 2006. Despite his treatment of women, Laurie (who wasn’t a nice character) ended up marrying him so he wouldn’t be deported in season five, which was also baffling.
9Eric Leaving The Show
Eric Foreman was the heart of the show. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but That ‘70s Show truly went downhill with his absence (which came about when Topher Grace was given the part of Venom in Spider-Man 3). He decided he wanted to become a teacher, and by the end of season seven he’d been shipped off to… Africa, to teach for a year. That’s the excuse they gave why he wasn’t in season eight, until the finale.
8Hyde’s Black Dad
Okay, this is a bit interesting, unless we’re led to believe that Hyde was adopted. First off, Danny Masterson is clearly white. So when a new dad was introduced for Hyde in season seven, and the man was black, it left us all scratching our heads. Sure, Hyde might’ve had more style than some of his friends, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that this just didn’t work.
Randy is frequently considered the worst character on the show. To introduce a new main character in season eight, trying to replace Eric (& Kelso) and failing, was a bit of a slap to the face of fans. Josh Meyers was originally going to replace Grace as Eric, but he became his own (disliked) character. Also, we just don’t see how Donna would’ve ever been with him.
6Jackie And Fez
When Jackie and Fez ended up together in the show’s finale, everyone groaned in unison. While it was appropriate, it was not what anyone wanted. Yes, Fez treated Jackie like a princess, but he also treated other women horribly (similar to how Kelso treated her). Many people wanted Hyde and Jackie to end up together, but that didn’t happen, as Hyde very strangely illegally married a woman named Samantha.
5The Final Season
That ‘70s Show had a strong fan base, but many people will admit that season eight was a disaster. Without Eric at the forefront, and with a new, unlikable character in Randy, it floundered. Show-runners should have focused on developing the other characters, but they didn’t. Ashton Kutcher also had a limited role in the eighth season, and they were basically the two main characters of the show. The show shouldn’t have soldiered on without Eric and Kelso.
4Kelso Becoming A Cop
This was an absolutely baffling decision that still makes no sense. Kelso had multiple run-ins with the law in previous seasons, and he did illegal activities with his friends on a daily basis. He was also pretty dumb. Then in season six he became a police officer, out of the blue. While it was mainly done for laughs, it seems unlikely that Kelso would’ve ever made it through a police academy.
3Using Red’s Basement When Eric Is Gone
It’s one thing for Red Foreman to either ignore or not realize the shenanigans going on in his own basement, with all the Circle fun and such. But it’s another thing for him to allow the kids to hang out in his basement when Eric isn’t even in the country! The gang still hangs out in the basement when Eric has supposedly been shipped off to Africa. This scenario just makes no sense.
2Hyde Marrying Samantha
Samantha was a minor character who didn’t add a lot to the show. She was a stripper, and not that that’s an issue, but she had very little personality. So, to see Hyde end up marrying her (even though it was discovered to be an illegal marriage) just made little sense. Everyone wanted Hyde and Jackie to end up together, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Laurie Foreman was a character that was all over the place— absent for much of the show, played by two different actresses, etc. She was extremely different from her sibling Eric: where he was nerdy and aloof, she was cool and little miss Judy Attitudy. She’s also manipulative, mean, and gets away with anything. Her dad also clearly favors her, though Kitty favors Eric. Given Red’s strict demeanor, why on Earth would he put up with all of Laurie’s shenanigans and see her as the favorite child?