A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.