Premiering in 1998 and concluding in 2006 after eight seasons, “That ’70s Show” brought its unique brand of tie-dyed nostalgic humor to Fox’s airwaves for nearly a decade. From the intimate, smoky basement Circles, in which the cast can be found imbibing while Hyde (Danny Masterson) expounds government conspiracies even before the dawn of the Internet, to the group’s discovery of and obsession with “Star Wars,” the beloved period sitcom captured the mundane lives of a close-knit group of friends growing up in one of the most memorable decades in recent American history.
Anyone who has ever been a part of such a close group of friends can attest that the funniest jokes are often at the (ideally affectionate) expense of someone in the group. “That ’70s Show” was no exception to this rule: Over the years, the series developed some of the best recurring gags based on the principle, such as the inevitable harm to Kelso’s (Ashton Kutcher) sensitive eye, the show’s very own version of the cone of shame (known as the “stupid helmet”), and of course, the dreaded burn.
Fans think the best That ’70s Show burn involves a brand of instant breakfast
The show’s burns were often great stinging insults or pranks played on a hapless target — and if the audience was lucky, Kelso would follow up with a beautifully delivered “burn!” to add insult to injury.
As expected, the show is rife with memorable jabs, but which one reigns supreme? In a discussion in r/That70sshow, Redditor u/kurosaki715 took the cake when they suggested what is likely one of the deadliest one-liners in the series. It left the recipient speechless and the onlookers mortified (yet very impressed) by the heat behind the insult. In one episode, Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) enters the frame in a pair of tights and a frock. The guys instantly take notice and commence with the insults. When Eric (Topher Grace) throws his burn into the ring, Donna (Laura Prepon) comes to Fez’s defense by ragging on Eric’s shirt. Eric quickly fires back with an incredulous, “God, what did you have for breakfast this morning? Carnation Instant B****?”
With nearly 150 upvotes, the Redditor’s offer of the breakfast burn easily earned the top spot among fans, with several commenters confirming it as their personal favorite. u/GIDAMIEN even claimed to have used the insult in real life (and it earned them a one-way ticket to the human resources department). Though these burns may be entertaining to most of us, it’s highly recommended that you keep them out of the workplace.
Some Red-hot burns had a sentimental source
A close second from Redditor u/cshep64 also finished with upvotes in the triple digits. Uttered by the great Red Forman (Kurtwood Smith), this particularly brutal affront is remembered among “That ’70s Show” fans as the “octo-burn.” During another episode, the gang can be found hanging out in the Forman driveway with Eric (who is supposed to be doing yard work), when Red emerges from the house and immediately launches into an eight-course meal of a burn: “So, I guess this is the way an immature, engaged, high-school dumbass with no car, no job, and no money trims the hedges.” With the heat of the burn hanging in the air, the gang quickly bolts, leaving behind a wounded Eric and a shocked but delighted audience.
Despite the character’s severity, fans grew to love the grumpy, burn-dishing patriarch of the Forman family. And it’s likely that Smith appreciates that admiration because the source of inspiration behind the father figure is actually a very meaningful one for the actor. According to an interview with the L.A. Times, Smith based the character’s “attitude, his voice, the walk and the edge that he had” on his late stepfather, who unfortunately never got to see Red on screen because he passed away just months before the show’s premiere. Though Smith lifted the character’s mannerisms from his stepfather, Smith is certain that the latter wouldn’t recognize himself, believing he’d shoot right back with, “What the hell? I’m not like that at all.”