‘That 70s Show’ is a comical television programme set in 1970s Wisconsin, when actually aired from 1998-2006. The show of eight series follows the stories of a group of six friends; the lives of teens, careful Eric Forman (Topher Grace), confident Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon), “rock ‘n’ roll” Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson), dumb Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), “foreign exchange student” Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) and bossy Jackie Burkhart (Mila Kunis).
Every episode has a new storyline, however, there is a continuing plot arc over the series, for example, following the relationship between Eric and Donna or even Hyde’s living situations. The show is mostly based at Eric’s house, or their meet up place which is his basement. This means there is the involvement of Eric’s parents, Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp), who bring in their own comical element to the film. Red being the harsh father and Kitty trying to make things easier for Eric but mostly failing to do so. Red’s repetition of “dumbass” and kicking asses, adds a comic throughout the whole of the series that will always make you laugh. It adds a predictable feel but also familiarity to the show.
Each episode is just under half an hour long, which is the perfect length to quickly just watch an episode whenever. The show is very much episodic, so you can dip into any episode and still understand what is going on and enjoy the show even if you haven’t seen any other episodes. All of the seasons are also on Netflix if you own it.
There is a unique style of the camera and editing to ‘That 70s Show’. This is something which makes it different to other sitcoms. The show is split into this unique style but also has normal story telling edits of the young adults’ lives. There is the use of flashbacks, and black and white interpretations of character’s thinking of a moment, and much more. There can be some scenes that are obviously overplayed by actors to add an unreal feel the show, but this is done on purpose, it is almost sarcastic and adds comedy. Sometimes even the actors look into the camera pretending the audience are the characters. Between each scene there are happy bright colours of flowers or the actors jumping in the air. The whole show gives a slight over-exaggeration to the use of camera and editing, this shows that it is clearly not a show to be taken seriously. Some people may consider these aspects to be silly or not necessary, but personally I think it just adds to the humour, and gives a moral to not take everything so seriously. However, don’t make this think that it’s not relatable because the majority of scenes are just following the lives of these teens which is realistic, just this use of camera makes you realise you are watching a TV programme.
The age restriction is at 12 and should be obeyed as there are repetitions of drug use and sex throughout the series, so not appropriate for younger ages at all. There is an over-exaggeration on the use of drugs, this shown through what I’ve previously said on the use of camera and editing, for example, Red and Kitty’s heads becoming different shapes and sizes when Eric is high and trying to be serious in a conversation with them or the wall moving in different ways behind his parents etc.
If you like shows like ‘Friends’ or ‘How I Met Your Mother’, you would like this one too, there is added laughter to the programme alike these, although in ‘That 70s Show’ it follows the lives of teens rather than adults. However, be warned things are over-exaggerated, but it adds to the humour in my opinion, this is especially different to shows like ‘Friends’; as ‘Friends’ tries to keep a reality and realistic feel for the audience, whereas ‘That 70s Show’ does in the majority of scenes, but also links to this emphasis on the unreal and sarcasm. Overall, I think it’s a great, playful programme to just watch and make you laugh, and easy to just watch a couple of episodes as they are short yet all equally as good.