That 90s Show is an endearingly confusing mess



The movie poster for Netflix’s newest show: That 90s Show.

The suggestion for That 90s Show fell in my lap during a spirited discussion in my second-hour math class while my friend and I desperately tried to ignore how confused we were by the equations in front of us. 

Little did I know, I’d be ten times more confused trying to watch That 90s Show.

This show had so much potential. It follows the children of the original That 70s Show characters, mainly Eric Forman’s daughter, Leia Forman, as they combat new relationships and experiences over the course of one unforgettable summer at Eric’s childhood home.

My grievances with Leia Forman will soon be outlined, but first I need to divulge the main downfall of the show—the writing. The writing of this show could genuinely only be described as an endearingly confusing mess. I only say endearing because it’s easy to tell that everyone involved in the show tried their best to make an obvious money grab something special, but everyone tragically missed the mark. 

I could hardly watch the program as I was distracted by an over-arching question: who on Earth is this show even for?

The main issue with the writing was the fact that it didn’t have a clear target audience in the slightest. I found myself listening along to jokes and plot lines that my eight-year-old cousin would find joy in, and then in the next five minutes, the main characters would be promoting underage drug and alcohol consumption. I could hardly watch the program as I was distracted by an over-arching question: who on Earth is this show even for?

What I will say is that almost all of the actors genuinely seemed to be doing their very best with what they were given. This includes poor Callie Haverda who played Leia Forman—the most annoying television character that has ever crossed my screen. Leia alone almost made it impossible for me to finish this show as her character arch, actions, and lines were all simultaneously stale and insufferable; she genuinely had no redeeming qualities. Haverda had no choice but to play Leia as she did, and I genuinely applaud her for the few scenes in that I felt even an ounce of connection to Leia. 

Thankfully, Debra Jo Rupp (Kitty Forman) and Kurtwood Smith (Red Forman) handled the responsibility of carrying the entirety of the show on their back gracefully. Smith and Rupp were the only returning characters that were in every episode of That 90s Show while every other character from That 70s Show only made small cameos in specific episodes—and thank goodness for them. Both of these actors were the reason I made it through the series to begin with. 

What upsets me the most about That 90s Show is the potential it had. There was an overwhelming amount of participation from past cast members of its predecessor, a high budget, and quite a pot of talent to pull from. Incidentally, I’d genuinely say there’s no age group who could really enjoy this program, and even if you’re a fan of the past series, That 70s Show, and want to watch an exciting continuation of that beloved program, my best advice would be to rewatch the original series instead.