That 70's Show!: Love it, and Leave It
Now, as my profile says, I am a big fan of T7S. I've been watching for years. I am, however, glad that this will be the last season. It's running out of steam, folks, as all sitcoms eventually do. And I'm going to break it down:
1) Leo and Laurie I miss Leo (Hyde's hippie boss) and Laurie (that new Laurie just SUCKS). Now, I realize they had no choice but to write Tommy Chong out, but come on....bring back Lisa Robin Kelly for good this time. And isn't firing an actress for having "drug problems" from a show that features "the circle" at least once per episode just a tad hypocritical? And while we're discussing missing characters...what happened to Kitty's dog, Schotzie?
2) Jackie and Hyde I'm disappointed in the continuing---and unrealistic---romance between Hyde and Jackie. I just don't buy them as a couple. There is zero chemistry....it's almost as bad as a Richard Gere romance (see my post "The Curse of King Arthur on Film"). Twice now, they've brought forth other women for Hyde as potential girlfriends....one was during the "get Hyde a girlfriend party," when Hyde met a co-worker of Donna's and was instantly smitten. She was never mentioned again. The second was when Hyde went on a date after Jackie chose him over Michael. I liked her....she was rough, badass....more the kind of girl one would expect for Hyde's main squeeze. She, also, is never seen again. My favorite Hyde girl of all time was Krissy, the punk rock chick. A girl after my own heart. SHE'S a perfect example of a great girl for Hyde, as he put it, "rude, crude and dangerously paranoid." But Jackie? The same girl who loves unicorns, Donnie Osmond and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders? Ain't buyin' it. It's about as realistic---and weird---as a love affair between Hilary Duff and Marilyn Manson.
3) Eric and Donna Their romance is making ZERO SENSE. He leaves her at the alter, and she's ok with it? What woman in her right mind---in ANY decade---is going to go for that???? And now, he's got no career, no college plans and has the ambition of your average Jerry Springer guest...and that's just honky-dory with her? What, did Donna have a lobotomy and we weren't told about it? And with Red recovering from his heart attack, Kitty nursing him and Eric devoting himself full-time to the exciting career of professional bum...how the hell are the Foremans paying any bills? Is Steven supporting the whole damned family?
4) Kelso's baby Could this storyline be any more boring? I know Ashton needs time for his super-creepy May-December lovefest with Demi Moore....but THIS is the best they could come up with? I remember when Roz had her baby on "Frasier," and Kelsey Grammer was against it...."Babies aren't funny" was his reason. I think he was right. Kelso procreating isn't funny at all. At least he's trying to get a job...which is more than Eric's bothering to do. Who would have guessed that out of all of them....KELSO would be the one to continue his education? And where are Kelso's parents and siblings....did they say NOTHING about their teenage son impregnating some strange girl they've never met? When Donna ran into Casey, he said zippo about becoming an uncle. Do they even know? Way to go, Kelso.
5) Fez Fez is a great character. He's reminiscent of Latka from "Taxi." He's weird, he's socially awkward and no one has the slightest clue where the hell he's from. And in previous seasons, they've made great use of Fez. But lately....Fez has nothing to do. His relationship with Nina soured....for reasons unknown (I hate how this show ends relationships and never bothers to give an explanation....it's like when Judy went to change her clothes on "Family Matters" and was never seen or heard from again). His marriage to Laurie had such great potential...it could easily have become a Meathead/Archie relationship with Red and Fez. I was waiting for Fez to have to move into the Foreman's home (where is the obligatory INS visit?), or for Laurie to first hate, then grow to actually love, her sham husband. This might have been in the works for all we know, but was scrapped when they gave the ol' pink slip to Lisa Robin Kelly for the second time. Now, the marriage is hardly even mentioned. And Fez has suddenly become Kelso's side-kick. For shame, writers at T7S....for shame.
6) The Bob Love Triangle When the first episode of the new season aired, I was excited. The re-appearance of Donna's mother, Midge, and the resultant love triangle with Bob and his new gal Pam (played by Brooke Shields), was a great idea. I did wonder---for a moment---why Midge would jump on a plane in a heartbeat to be with her daughter after she'd been publically humiliated and left at the aisle---but couldn't be bothered to attend the actual wedding. No matter. I anticipated cat fights, a Bob torn between two women clearly way out of his league, and arguments between Red and Kitty and between Donna and Jackie. But no....in the very first episode....Pam leaves Bob so he can patch things up with Midge. Without a fight. Without batting even one fake eyelash. What gives?
7) Signs of the Times One of the things that first drew me to T7S was the nostalgia. I was a little kid in the 70's. I enjoyed seeing the Harvest Gold appliances, the fondue parties, the what-the-hell-were-they-thinking fashions. I liked the references to Three's Company, the Watergate scandal and the gas crisis. But as of late, the show acts as if it's forgotten it takes place in the 70's or has deemed the years of '78 and '79 too boring to delve into. Where's the election talk? The references to Alien, Mad Max and the first Star Trek movie? Come on, guys! Don't drop the ball now!
8) Star Wars Yes, I'd like them to make SOME mention of Star Trek...just to get Eric to SHUT THE HELL UP about Star Wars once in awhile. Enough is enough.
9) Blonde Donna Remember when Felicity cut off all her hair and no one watched anymore? Apparently, the people down at T7S forgot all about it.
10) Grow up When the kids were all in high school, working minimum-wage jobs, puffing away in the circle, obsessed with their intra-personal relationships and minor embarassments....it was amusing and understandable. But now...these kids are adults. They've graduated. Yet, none of them except Kelso has MOVED ON. And really, Kelso's barely moved on....sure, he's attending the police academy, but he has no job and no way to support his kid. As for the rest of them...they are still living at home (or in Hyde's case, in someone else's home). They still have minimum-wage jobs. They are still bitching endlessly over boyfriend/girlfriend petty crap. "College" isn't even in their vocabulary anymore....what happened to Donna and Eric's educational plans? Yeah, Red had a heart attack....but he's ok now. Why haven't they gone to school? Or Fez, for that matter? Why haven't any of them gotten their own place yet? And where on Earth is Fez living now, anyway? Surely, the ultra-conservative host family he was staying with isn't still putting him up now that he's graduated and married the town whore. It's becoming tedious...and annoying.
In closing, I must say that even with these problems, I still love the show. I'm glad Midge is back. I'm loving the addition of Tim Reid (Venus Flytrap himself!) as Hyde's biological father. Kurtwood Smith as Red is still in great form. I'll watch this final season, and I'll be sad when the show says adieu. But I think it's time to let Big Rhonda (aka the fat lady) sing...and say good-bye, once more, to the 70's.