Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
That '70s Show
That '70s Show is a Fox Network television sitcom centered around the lives of a group of teenagers living in the fictional suburb of Point Place, near Green Bay, during the late 1970s. It debuted on August 23, 1998.
Although the show has been on for six years, the timeline has been noticeably slowed. When the show first began in 1998, the show was set in 1976, and in the past six seasons, only three years have gone by.
About the show
The first working title for the Fox Network series was called Teenage Wasteland, before being changed to That '70s Show. The show was remade by the British ITV network as Days Like These using almost verbatim scripts with minor changes to cultural references. The show failed to attract an audience and was removed from the schedules after 10 of the 13 episodes had been broadcast. The remaining three episodes were shown in a later run of repeats. However, That '70s Show is one of the longest continuous running sitcoms for Fox in the US.
The show follows the life of Eric Forman and his five teenaged friends; Donna Pinciotti, who is also his girlfriend, Steven Hyde , a dissillusioned hard-rocking stoner, Michael Kelso , the unintelligent narcissitic lady's man, Jackie Burkhart , a highschool cheerleader who is self-involved and extremely concerned with wealth and status, and Fez , the nicknamed foreigner whose country of origin is ambiguous, whose real name is unknown to all but him, and whose hormones are out of control.
Other main characters include Laurie Forman , the promiscuous older sister who can do no wrong in the eyes of Red Forman , Eric's overbearing veteran father, obsessed with making "...him a man, which he's not." (Red Forman: episode 421: Prank Day) Also featured is his overprotective menapausal mother, who is caught up in trying to be a fulltime mom and housewife, while maintaining a job as a nurse in a local hospital. The show also follows the relationship of Bob and Midge Pinciotti, Donna's Mom and Dad, both of whom are slow witted and easily influenced by the movements and fads of the 70s, which sometimes places stress on their marriage.
The show has gained recognition for providing a bold retrospective to a decade full of political events and technological milestones that have dramatically shaped the world today. The show manages to use humor in tackling all significant characteristics of 1970's America, dealing with major political movements such as feminism, new attitudes towards sexuality, economic hardships of recession, a developing lack of trust from blue collar workers in American government, as well as the use of marijuana among teenagers and impact of new technology on entertainment, from the TV remote (or "the clicker"), to Pong.
The show usually opens with the theme song, "In the Street," by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell of the band Big Star. Beginning the second season, the song was performed by the band Cheap Trick. The lyrics are as follows:
- Hanging out, down the street
- The same old thing we did last week
- Not a thing to do, but talk to you
- We're all alright! We're all alright!
The line "Hello Wisconsin!" following the opening theme song is yelled by Danny Masterson ("Steven Hyde"). The final part ("We're All Alright!") is from the Cheap Trick song "Surrender". Starting from the fifth season of the series, all the episode titles have a '70s song reference in them (Led Zeppelin songs in Season Five, The Who in Season Six, Rolling Stones in Season Seven.) Robin Zander (the lead singer of Cheap Trick) yells "Hello Wisconsin!" at the end of the complete single (not heard on TV).
This show is linked with its spinoff, That '80s Show , via the character of Eric Forman (whose cousin is the lead character in the 80's version).
Complete credited cast
- Topher Grace as Eric Forman (1998-2005)
- Mila Kunis as Jackie Burkhart
- Ashton Kutcher as Michael Kelso (1998-2005)
- Danny Masterson as Steven Hyde
- Laura Prepon as Donna Pinciotti
- Wilmer Valderrama as "Fez," which is the phoentic spelling of FES for "foreign exchange student." No one knows where Fez is from.
- Debra Jo Rupp as Kitty Forman
- Kurtwood Smith as Red Forman
- Tanya Roberts as Midge Pinciotti (1998-2001, 2004-2005)
- Don Stark as Bob Pinciotti
- Lisa Robin Kelly as Laurie Forman (1998-2001, 2002-2003)
- Tommy Chong as Leo (1999-2002, 2005-)
Note: Starting with the 2004-2005 season, Laurie Forman was played by Christina Moore as a recurring character.
Donna has a younger sister, Tina, who appears in one episode. Valerie is an elder sister of Donna's who is also mentioned. Neither are ever seen or mentioned again. This phenomenon is often referred to as Chuck Cunningham syndrome. Donna's mom (Midge Pinciotti) leaves her family for California but returns at a later time.
- Mark Brazill - Creator/Executive producer
- Bonnie Turner - Creator/Executive producer
- Terry Turner - Creator/Executive producer
- Marcy Carsey - Executive producer
- Jackie Filgo - Executive producer
- Jeff Filgo - Executive producer
- Caryn Mandabach - Executive producer
- Tom Werner - Executive producer
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