That '70s Show

TV review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
That '70s Show TV Poster Image
Edgy sitcom keeps the '70s alive for older teens.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 32 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 87 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Overall the show promotes the importance of friends and family -- even if those friends and family members frequently bicker with each other or make mistakes. That said, the show also presents pot smoking as a normal activity and doesn't bat an eye at teen sex.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Other than exchange student Fez (who's pretty stereotyped), characters of color apparently don't populate the 1970s Wisconsin suburbs -- which may be accurate, but it's noticeable to the discerning eye. Female characters can be portrayed as objects or as vapid -- especially Kitty, the mom -- but they can also provide wisdom.

Violence

Slapstick at most.

Sex

The characters think and talk about sex a lot. Not too much is shown, but much is alluded to. Donna and Eric eventually have a lot of sex, and Kelso in particular is a very active teenage male.

Language

Mr. Forman curses quite a bit, using words like "damn," "hell," and "son-of-a-bitch."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

"Mysterious" smoke clouds appear in the basement, and it's clear that the kids are smoking pot. Dad Red drinks beer regularly.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sitcom is iffy for kids under 15 because of the frequent innuendo and implied sexual activity and drug use. Most of the teens are sexually active, and smoking pot in the basement is a regular occurrence.

User Reviews

Parent Written byTyWill39 November 28, 2012

Very funny show, but the casual use of marijuana is troubling

The show is very funny, but I can't help thinking it should not be watched by younger viewers. Two weeks ago I was laughing along with my 13 year old niec... Continue reading
Adult Written byhelsing March 14, 2015

Has Its Ups and Downs

This show had its good moments and bad moments, my favourite seasons are the first few. There's a lot of pot references, however at 11 years of age, kids s... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycsd313 January 13, 2011

Great show to watch... if your kids are mature!

This has been my favorite show since I was 11. I was mature at 11, too. I knew what sex was, as well as drugs, and that they are both bad for teenagers and chil... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byhome1223 December 1, 2011

PARENTS CHILL OUT!!!!!

Hilarious one of the the best shows ever although there is sex talk, bad words and POT the biggie it is no big deal I am 13 years old I love the show but some p... Continue reading

What's the story?

THAT '70S SHOW is a comedy that depicts the lives of six teenagers in 70s-era Wisconsin: dim-bulb pretty boy Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), wisecracking Eric Forman (Topher Grace), straight-talking girl-next-door Donna (Laura Prepon), bossy flirt Jackie (Mila Kunis), eager foreign exchange student Fez (Wilmer Valderrama), and cynical Hyde (Danny Masterson). Eric's parents, Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) and Red (Kurtwood Smith) round out the cast.

Is it any good?

That '70s Show appeals to parents and teens for different reasons. For older audiences, it's nostalgia for simpler times that prompts an affinity for the show -- there's something comforting about kids congregating in the basement, content to just to "hang out." Kids, meanwhile, tune in for the attractive cast and relevant situations -- although they might find the '70s political references confusing and the fashions hilarious, they'll identify with the characters' struggles with dating and surviving high school, which are universal teen concerns.

What makes this series so successful is its cast, all of whom seem comfortable with their stereotyped roles. The actors benefit from the show's strong writing, which is sometimes subtly political, but more often light in content. The end result is an enjoyable trip back in time. Although the series has lots of sexual innuendo, it's done in a way that doesn't so much offend as allude to the free-love period of the 1970s. Whether or not this is appropriate viewing for teenagers is for parents to decide -- it might be a good idea to watch a few episodes first.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the similarities and differences between these '70s teens and modern teens. How are their lives like yours? What's changed in the last few decades?

  • Talk about dating expectations. How does it feel to be rejected by a girlfriend or boyfriend? Is it possible to be friends with someone after a break-up?

  • The lighthearted portrayal of pot smoking might also warrant a conversation with kids that includes some reminders about the serious effects of drug use.

TV details

For kids who love TV families

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