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Deep And Dark Secrets From The Set Of That 70s Show

Entertainment | May 14, 2018

KISS Appears on 'That 70's Show' KISS with Laura Prepon, Topher Grace, Danny Masterson, Ashton Kutcher, Wilmer Valderrama, and Mila Kunis from 'That 70's Show' (Photo by Annamaria DiSanto/WireImage)

What a blast it would be to be able be a fly on the wall sometimes. That’s what comes to mind when I think of, That 70’s Show. Viewers could just sit back and watch the antics of the well meaning but misguided teenagers as they navigate their way from childhood to adulthood. The storyline, however, was just one aspect of the well-cast show.

Pop culture and music was a recurring theme of, That 70’s Show.

The show portrayed the true 70s culture using songs of popular rock groups bands of the time and by naming the episodes after popular songs. Groups and songs integrated in the program came from Led Zepplin, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Queen.

That 70’s Show, is a television sitcom chronicling a tight knit group of suburban teenagers. The show is set in the 1970’s during the height of the cultural upset in America. The Forman’s basement served as a hub for the group of friends. There, they dealt with all of the common issues of the era including sex, drugs and rock and roll!

The friendship circle consisted of Eric, Kelso, Donna, Fez, Hyde and Jackie. Each one had their own unique personality and quirks which made it all come together. Eric’s parents, Red and Kitty and Donna’s father, Bob, who was the next-door neighbor, were also fixtures on the show. The dialog, at any given time, was comical. It brought to light the plight of the changing culture and the functional dysfunction of the American family in the 70’s.

The 70’s counterculture was full of racy, hot topics!

The storyline of the show hit home for many of us I’m sure. The show itself, touched on some racy and socially taboo, hot topics of the 70’s. The real dirt was what viewers didn’t see. What happened behind the scenes was potentially just as juicy! Much of went on off camera was just as scandalous as what shown on camera.

If the press had gotten wind of some of the juicy, behind the scene tidbits while the show was filming, it would have raised more than a few eyebrows! Some are scandalous, and some are just fun trivia. Check out these little-known facts and see what you think!

Accusations against Danny Masterson?

Masterson play, Hyde, a teen that was on his own after a troubled childhood. His character had eventually endeared himself to Red and he ended up living in the famous basement. Since the airing of, That 70’s Show, Danny Masterson, who portrayed Hyde, was accused of sexual misconduct and rape by several women. Masterson adamantly denies any and all accusations.

Chuck Norris was producer’s first choice to play Red Forman.

Kurtwood Smith, who was cast as Red, was not the first choice for the role. Chuck Norris was actually first offered the part. He considered it but had to decline because he was in the midst of filming, Walker, Texas Ranger. I guess everything happens for a reason because it is hard to image anyone else playing that role. Smith, although gruff and rough around the edges, was an awesome and stern father figure. Kitty, his faithful and ditzy wife, was constantly running interference between Red and the rest of the world.

So why did Donna really turn into a blond for the last 2 seasons? It wasn’t because blonds have more fun!

Laura Prepon, who plated Donna, suddenly turned into a blond for the last 2 seasons of the show. That is because she had landed another role in the film, Karla, in 2006. She bleached her beautiful, natural red hair for that part.

Mila Kunis was actually much younger than they had us believe she was!

Mila Kunis was just 14 years old when she auditioned for the role of Jackie. When asked by producers how old she was, she told them, “Well, I’ll be 18 on my birthday.” Well, although that was true, it wouldn’t be on her next birthday. She cleverly omitted the year of the birthday that she would be turning 18.

Mila Kunis reported that Ashton Kutcher, who played, Kelso, was her first kiss; both on and off screen. It must have been nerve wracking to have your first kiss broadcast to the world. Grace, who played Michael, prided himself on being a ladies’ man and a great boyfriend. He was his own biggest fan. The couple was forever making out onscreen but didn’t get together, off screen, until years after the show ended. When they did, it was somewhat of a secret; but why?

In the show, Donna and Jackie had somewhat of a love hate relationship. About the only thing they had in common was that they were both female. Off camera, they are very close and consider themselves to be family.

Did you know that Fez’s name was actually an acronym?

Wilmer Valderrama, who was cast as Fez, was the horny foreign exchange student. His name was short for foreign exchange student, (FES[Z]). He reportedly fabricated his character’s accent to make it impossible to identify which country his character is from. This is a mystery that has been deliberately kept secret.

Jackie, being a shallow, rich, spoiled girl, constantly belittled Fez for being a “foreigner.” The ironic thing is that she, in real life, is the “foreigner.” Kunis was born in the USSR (n.k.a. Ukraine) and Valderrama was born in the US.

The title of, That 70’s Show, was an accidental success!

The show was initially introduced with several, various titles including Teenage Wasteland, The Kids Are Alright and Reeling in the Years. However, due to some of the names were titles of songs, they couldn’t be used because it presented legal issues. The next thought was to bill it as, Feelin’ Alright. This title never really caught on. When audience members and focus groups began referring to it as, “that 70’s show,” that is what stuck!

Who doesn’t love Tommy Chong?

Tommy Chong portrayed Leo, the lovable stoner who was a friend of the group. He was notably absent from the cast of, That 70’s Show, from 2003 to 2004. Ironically, he was serving jail time for selling drug paraphernalia. It would have been perfect if that had been written in as part of the script since it fit his character. The role of Leo was actually written with Chong in mind. If you know anything about him, it was spot on!

Topher Grace was not the kisser we thought he was!

Believe it or not, Grace, who played the skinny, wanna-be stud on the show, was discovered while acting in a high school play. He was invited to audition and landed his role on the show. He and Donna were a couple throughout the series and he prided himself on being a good kisser. Everyone always wondered how he was able to land Donna as his girlfriend.

Remember the famous smoky circle that recurred in the episodes?

Last but not least, the group was famous for sitting in a circle surrounded by smoke in the Forman’s basement. They were to have been smoking and sharing pot and would characterize what it is like to get high. The friends would start off by talking about something and by the time it was all said and done, it had become completely distorted and everyone was just happy and mellow. What was to have been pot smoke was fabricated and was reportedly strawberry scented. The actors who smoked, would take advantage of these scenes and keep their lit cigarettes out of sight so they could smoke when the camera was on someone else.

That 70’s Show, was a huge blast from the past for me!

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.