The 90’s. What a time. What a time that a lot of people would like to forget, but here we are in 2022 being slapped in the face with it. The fashion, the time, the politics, the music. Hell, we won’t be sad about the music, because that is some great music.
When Netflix announced the reboot/sequel/whatever of That 70’s Show, we were apprehensive. After all, most of these types of things are HORRIBLE. But it was our love of That 70’s Show that made us want to give it a chance. That and the return of Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp as Red and Kitty that made us want tune in.
So lets talk about this season.
What’s It About
It’s 1995 and Leia Forman is desperate for some adventure in her life or at least a best friend who isn’t her dad. When she arrives in Point Place to visit her grandparents, Red and Kitty, Leia finds what she’s looking for right next door when she meets the dynamic and rebellious Gwen. With the help of Gwen’s friends, including her lovable brother Nate, his smart, laser-focused girlfriend Nikki, the sarcastic and insightful Ozzie, and the charming Jay, Leia realizes adventure could happen there just like it did for her parents all those years ago. Excited to reinvent herself, she convinces her parents to let her stay for the summer. With a basement full of teens again, Kitty is happy the Forman house is now a home for a new generation and Red is, well…Red.
That ‘90s Show stars Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp, Callie Haverda, Ashley Aufderheide, Mace Coronel, Maxwell Donovan, Reyn Doi, and Sam Morelos.
Normally, we’d say Fez, because we loved him. Wilmer Valderrama is hilarious. But this time around Laura Prepon as Donna takes the prize. She’s fierce and funny and steals every scene that she’s in. Donna as a Mom is a whole new level.
We have to admit the Brian Austin Green cameo shocked us. We didn’t see that one coming. However, all of the 90210 episode references made us feel old because we don’t remember a lot from watching that series. Also reminded us how bad of an actor he is. We guess though that Green needs to work and hey, at least he is in something besides that upcoming disaster of a movie based on the book that author who is a racist wrote.
Episode 10 – Kids In America
Normally when we choose a favorite episode, you never want it to be the last one, because that means we want it to end. However the reason that we loved this episode was because so much was happening and it all was RELATABLE. You saw stories start, stories wrap up, and the realities of being a teenager. Things are always changing.
From best friends to relationships starting and ending, everything feels so final and overwhelming. Yet again, you’re looking at the real original stars of this show Red and Kitty stealing so many moments. But what you also have are the new stars – Leia (Callie Haverda) and Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide) making you want to call you best friend and tell them everything.
Callie Haverda and Ashley Aufderheide are fresh new voices that bring these characters to life with such grace that you know that you’re watching the show because their friendship is ultimately one of the most important and captivating parts of this show. Perfect casting.
And there is that ending. Normally I would be against a love triangle, but this one… it feels really relatable. It feels like what teenagers truly go through.
Least Favorite Episode
Episode 9 – Dirty Double Booker
Visiting your grandparents is a right of passage. Going home and thinking it’s the end of the world is also one. In the episode Leia is trying to please everyone and spend time with them before she leaves and heads back to Chicago.
The issue with this episode was that it felt really corny. It felt forced. Though it was funny, all of the moments felt forced and though you knew you were supposed to be laughing, we cringed watching it.
Now, normally we try and narrow this down to one character, but with That 90’s show, it’s impossible. We loved Leia, Gwen, and Ozzie so much it’s hard to not praise them all.
When it comes to Leia, we loved the fact that she was so like Eric but this was her summer to emerge to be more like her Mom, Donna. Now, that being said, she definitely had way too many 90210 episodes, but it definitely was a sign of the times.
That 90’s Show was all about finding ones self and that’s exactly what these three were doing. We always love a story about best friends, coming of age, finding ones first love, etc. We love a story that is realistic and feels not too serious, even in the serious moments.
The way that Callie Haverda brought Leia to life, the way that Ashley Aufderheide brought Gwen to life, and the way that Reyn Doi brought Ozzie to life made them feel real. The characters were well written, dynamic and ones that you became quickly invested in.
You want to know how these friendships work.
You want to know that they all turn out okay.
You want to make sure that they all succeed.
Having you care about these characters is important, because the show establishes their growth, but also you feel as though even if every other friendship falls apart, these three are forever friends.
Least Favorite Character
It’s always hard to write this part, but it’s definitely not about the actor. It’s about the character and well we felt that Mace Coronel did a great job as Jay, it’s the writers that failed here. How? Well, let us explain.
We know that Jay is a Kelso and that we’ve always seen anyone with that name being a little “dumb” and well, seeming as though they have little to no brains. We get that it can be comedic relief and some may say that we’re being too sensitive, but we feel like there was no need to make him a carbon copy of his father. It would have been more interesting to make Jay the exact opposite or more like his Mom (which we’re assuming is Jackie, but being as her and Michael apparently get divorced a lot, who knows what was happening).
It just felt as though Jay’s character was a little forced and we would have loved to see more complexity to this character.
And then there was Nikki. Look, again, it’s not about the actor, because Sam Morelos is great. It’s the character of Nikki. The writers gave us no reason to feel anything for the character. Half of the time you forgot who she was.
And that’s a sad moment. You literally feel nothing for Nikki until the last minutes of the series and then all you feel is pity.
That 90’s Show is what it’s supposed to be – fun. While most of us grew up with That 70’s Show and love it and have some issues with messing with the show, we don’t need to worry. That 90’s Show is unique, but pays homage to the original.
The show seemed to have felt the need to have a lot of cameos and they worked. It was great to see where the original cast of characters are in their lives and how they are progressing. As much as we loved the new cast of characters, the best part of this show was definitely the moments with Red and Kitty.
But if we’re being honest, that was the best part of the original series also.
That 90’s Show is a cheesy ball of goodness, because of Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp, Callie Haverda, Reyn Doi, and Ashley Aufderheide. These actors characters carried the show on their backs and their performances were what made us love That 90’s Show.
We wish that the show would have had more 90’s references beyond all of the 90210 references, because that era was so much more.
Do we suggest watching? Yes. It’s a quick binge that will leave you nostalgic for your youth.