That ’90s Show Returns to Point Place
The That ’70s Show sequel welcomes a mix of old and new characters back into the Forman house.
The basement furniture may have changed, but the antics that take place in That ’70s Show sequel That ’90s Show remain hilariously the same.
Opening in 1995, the new series sees Leia Forman (Callie Haverda), daughter of Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna (Laura Prepon), head to Point Place, Wisconsin to visit her grandparents Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty Forman (Debra Jo Rupp) for Fourth of July weekend. But once Leia discovers the joys of the Forman basement for herself, she decides to extend her visit to the end of the summer.
With That ’90s Show, That ’70s Show creators Bonnie and Terry Turner teamed up with Gregg Mettler (who also wrote for the original series) and their own daughter, Lindsey. “You have these women who all come from different perspectives just going about life,” says Lindsey Turner about how the different generations worked together behind the scenes, especially when it came to writing the female characters. “Growing up in the 90s around the women and girls I grew up with, and my mother too, I learned that there is no wrong way to be a woman.”
Of course, That ’90s Show has a strong matriarch in the baked goods-toting, scene-stealing Kitty. Both she and her husband Red were integral to the sequel from the start. “One thing that we did know,” Terry notes, “is that if we did the 90s, we wanted Red and Kitty back.” Not only did Rupp and Smith agree to reprise their roles, but they also signed on to executive produce the new comedy.
Time has not changed the Forman grandparents’ approach to the teenage ups and downs that take place under their roof: “The minute they came out in the first episode and he was dressed as Red and Kitty had her wig on, I just died,” Bonnie says of how little has changed in the fictional Forman household. “I went, ‘Oh I’m so happy I’m back. I’m so happy to see you both. Welcome home.’” Despite his curmudgeonly onscreen persona, Smith describes playing Red as “one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.”
Leia’s adventures kicking it around Point Place are made all the more fun with a lovable new crew: riot grrrl Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide); daffy Nate (Maxwell Acee Donovan) and his overachiever girlfriend Nikki (Sam Morelos); one-liner-delivering Ozzie (Reyn Doi); and Jay (Mace Coronel), son to Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) and Jackie (Mila Kunis). Their fashion and music may look and sound different, but the ensemble’s shenanigans mirror those of their predecessors — even “the stash” is the same. In addition to the Forman clan, a few other fixtures from the original series reprise their roles for brief, laugh-out-loud cameos, including fan-favorite Fez (Wilmer Valderrama). “There was a point where some of the original cast, some of the new kids, and some of the original crew were sitting around the kitchen and I literally burst into tears,” Terry said of the reunion.
Although the kitschy 90s setting scratches an au courant itch, That ’90s Show was especially nostalgic for the showrunners, who spent almost a decade working on the original series. “I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to revisit the world of That ’70s Show,” Mettler describes. “It was one of my favorite experiences as a writer.” Bonnie agrees, describing the return as an escape. “It’s a wonderful time to go home. The world is so chaotic and there’s so much noise, and we want to be somewhere peaceful, some place that’s familiar. We need comfort food right now more than ever, and I think the show delivers that.”