Thursday, November 5, 2015

Moron TV: That 70's Show (1998)

To paraphrase Grandpa Jones on Hee Haw back in the day, it beats me why That 70's Show lasted so long.

One of the last hits, along with NBC's 3rd Rock From the Sun, to come from the Carsey-Werner factory (i.e. The Cosby Show, A Different World, Roseanne), That 70's Show looked through a skewed viewpoint of life in the 70's, and I do mean skewed.

Character actor Kurtwood Smith, better known for his dramatic work, played one of the parental figures on the show, Red Forman, whose son, Eric (Topher Grace), and his friends often hung out in the basement of the Forman house, just goofing off. The breakout star, however, wound up being Ashton Kutcher, who played dumber-than-two-bags-of hammers Michael Kelso, but wound up getting an endorsement deal with Canon cameras, plus spinning off on his own to develop the modern day answer to Candid Camera, MTV's Punk'd.

Co-star Mila Kunis (Jackie) joined the cast of another Fox series, Family Guy, as put-upon Meg Griffin, while 70's was still running. Wilmer Valderrama (Fez) developed the Disney Channel series, Handy Manny, following Kutcher's lead in moving to the creative side of things.

What I was thinking of doing was posting a clip of Kelso and the gang's fantasy sequence as the Super Friends, but after seeing Jackie and Hyde (Danny Masterson) as the Wonder Twins, and making out, I backed off. That scene, I think, might've either inspired Frank Cho's infamous homage to Hanna-Barbera that also had the Twins in a liplock (Ewwww! Much disrespect!) with each other, or was inspired by that piece of blasphemy. Instead, I picked out this short clip, in which Eric & Red go backstage to meet 70's wrestling star Rocky Johnson, marking the acting debut of Rocky's son, Dwayne, aka The Rock. The late Hall of Famer Ernie Ladd plays Rocky's manager.

So, for those of you who have issues with the People's Movie Star leaving WWE a wee bit too early in his career, this is the spark that started it all.

I just couldn't see much of the humor to this show, which, to its credit, actually gave Tommy Chong some steady work while his regular partner, Cheech Marin, was moving into drama with a supporting role on Nash Bridges. Personally, I think Cheech got the better of the deal.

Rating: C.

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