That 70’s Show premiered in 1998 on FOX promising to be a sitcom like no other! A sitcom about the 70’s taking place in the 70s! Actually there were a lot of those, but what sets That 70’s Show apart from the others is it made fun of itself, included pot smoking circles, and far more progressive characters as a whole than many of the actual 70’s sitcoms. I watched the first two seasons and parts of the third before I stopped because of SROWLOTCS (Sudden Realization Of Wasting Life On This Crap Syndrome). Six seasons later I sat down to watch the final episode of the series mostly because it just happened to be on TV at the time.
It turned out that it was the final two episodes. Fox pitched it as a one-hour finale, but in reality it was two shows (complete with the opening and end credits) played back to back. Even worse the second to last episode was a recap/memories show. I hate those. In fact I don’t know anyone who likes that crap. I should have known because it was called “The Final Goodbye”, ugh. The actual last episode, titled “Love of my Life” was almost as bad as the recap show.
Someone somewhere felt the need to wrap up everything, and I mean everything, on the final episode of That 70’s Show. As you might guess from the title of the episode their main focus was relationships that occurred over the last 8 seasons. Eric Forman, played by Topher Grace, left the show at the beginning of the previous season followed by Ashton Kutcher, leaving a cast that seemed unbalanced. You also lost ongoing sexual tension between Donna (played by Laura Prepon) and Eric. The producers attempted to replace Eric with “Randy” played by some guy I have never seen before. He didn’t have the innocence or acting skills of Topher, but they tried to make something happen between him and Donna. It didn’t work, and came to a crashing end at the beginning of the last episode where Randy tells Donna she’s the love of his life and she says no she’s not and it’s over in 10 seconds. Quality writing there.
We move on in the episode and find that Red (Kurtwood Smith) really isn’t always a hard ass and finally, after 8 years, he affectionately shows his love for his wife Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp). Awww, how fucking predictable and redundant. If you didn’t see the love for his wife and family shine through in the last 8 seasons then you might have needed this resolution, but the other 99% of us could have done without. Red and Kitty decide to stay in Wisconsin instead of moving to Florida because they just can’t leave the place where their children grew up. Craptacular.
Next is Hyde’s (Danny Masterson) wrap up. One of his many fathers sells all his record stores to a Laundromat company including the one Hyde works at. As if it were a Mack truck coming at us at 2 MPH we find out with little surprise Hyde’s father has given the record store to Hyde. Oh happy joy!
Kelso has no resolution, he just comes back for comedy relief and saves the show from being complete crap. Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) and Jackie (Mila Kunis) get (back) together with the help of Fez’s friend from his “home country” which we still don’t figure out. Fez of course decides to stay in the USA instead of going back home.
Finally we come to Donna. Once Randy is gone she decides to finally leave her home town and venture into the world. About freak’n time. She was always pushed as one of the smartest and most progressive so it just makes sense she’d finally leave small town Wisconsin and move on to something greater. But no! A surprise announcement: Eric is coming home from teaching in Africa! Despite Topher saying the show was “getting lame”, someone must have slipped him an extra couple million to make an appearance in the last episode. Donna and Eric back together again! Is that really what fans wanted? Probably, but it felt forced while being ridiculously predictable at the same time.
The one thing the show creators got right were the final moments of 1979 on New Years Eve. The show cuts to the license plate with the “’80” registration tag and it’s over. Luckily That 80’s Show was a complete flop otherwise we might have seen some of the 70’s characters show up in it.
Maybe the fans got what they wanted, but the characters all got screwed for it. Everyone except Kelso are stuck in their crappy Wisconsin town. Donna obviously changes her mind about leaving town, Eric decides teaching in Africa isn’t for him anymore, Fez decides to stay in the United States with Jackie, and Hyde is an owner of a local record shop. Everyone is basically back where they started in the beginning of the series. Everything that happened over eight seasons was negated and everyone is still stuck in the same damn place doing the same crap they hated just a few seasons ago. Don’t people want to move on? Don’t audiences want to see other people move on?