Monday, October 3, 2016

Returning to Point Place: Thoughts on Re-watching That '70's Show

That '70's Show originally aired from 1998-2006 and has since run in syndication on various channels. I didn't watch much of it until the last few seasons (mostly because I wasn't allowed to until then) and managed to catch up with it through reruns on Nick at Nite. That '70's Show was a staple in many homes during my childhood, and many of my friends have fond memories of the series. As the entirety is on Netflix and has been playing in the background of my downtime for the past several weeks, I decided it was time to reflect on what I've noticed re-watching the series as an adult.


1. Red and Kitty are Relationship Goals

The Forman family is the central focus of That '70's Show and rightfully so; their house is the cornerstone that the characters depend on throughout the series. Red may be curmudgeonly and Kitty is slightly spastic--and yes, they are meant to be representatives of 1970's gender roles--but they're wonderful characters and parents. Donna and Eric are supposed to be the quintessential couple of the series, yet to me and many others, Red and Kitty take that title instead. Their dynamic as a couple is a friendship as well as that of romantic partnership.

They make decisions together and aren't unwilling to be flexible (despite how contrary it seems to their strong personalities). Overall love rules their household, even if it's unspoken or coated in gruffness. Red has trouble expressing his feelings verbally, but there is never any doubt about how he truly feels. For example, Steven Hyde's home situation isn't ideal. Steven's mother, Edna, has more interest in pretty much anything aside from being his mother. When Kitty and Red learn that Hyde has been effectively abandoned, they choose to take Hyde in as their own child. Red does so by threatening to kick Hyde's butt if he doesn't get in the car and let the Forman's take care of him. They've realized the parental role that they've been slated in for Eric's friend group and accept it.

2. I have nostalgia for yet another time before my own.

I love the 1970's clothing aesthetic (for the most part). Looking at my mom's yearbooks and pictures of her teen years have always made me wish that the logo-emblazoned trends of my middle and high school years never existed. Thankfully, a lot from that era has come back into fashion, but there's just a part of me that wishes I could go see Led Zepplin or David Bowie in concert in their heyday. I'm a fan of bell sleeves, incense, wood paneling, and vivid patterns in decor. Beyond that, it just seems like life was generally more affordable, and household products and clothing were generally more durable back then. Then again, in forty years someone will probably be saying the same things about the 2010's.

3. Steven Hyde is a cinnamon roll.

Re-watching this series has made me realize how much I had underestimated Hyde in the past. Yes, he's rough around the edges, but he's got a good heart and a good outlook on life. The guy had been dealt an unfortunate home situation and did a lot to overcome it. Although Hyde doesn't really trust authority, he's generally pretty respectful of everyone unless their actions dictate otherwise. Sure, he's flawed, but due to his upbringing, he actually is the most mature member of his friend group in many ways. After Kitty and Red take him in, he insists on helping with bills and just around the house in general without being asked. Despite his vices, Hyde remains one of the hardest working characters in the series (though he'd never admit it), and honestly, part of me wishes Donna had actually dated him instead of Eric.

That '70's Show was something just truly different than any other sitcom when it premiered. Other than explaining my fascination with Tommy Chong, re-watching it intentionally has made me realize that I have a lot more feelings about this show and its characters than I'd realized. Visiting Point Place again? It's totally worth it, man.

What shows were "always on" in your younger years? How do you feel watching them again?


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