'That '70s Show's Timeline Makes No Sense (Even By Stoner Standards)

This show is in a time vortex.
'That '70s Show's Timeline Makes No Sense (Even By Stoner Standards)

Timeline inconsistencies in TV shows are a lot like having the runs after you drink your morning coffee. You didn't start drinking coffee to take looser dumps, but at this point, you realize it's an expected byproduct of your caffeine high. Sure, sometimes it can get a little messy, but you learn to accept it and maybe even enjoy it. But going by this metaphor, That '70s Show's timeline inconsistencies are like a firehose of diarrhea erupting out of your ass and ping-ponging off of the ceiling. It's your anus opening a portal into another dimension, and that dimension only contains miles and miles of gushing liquid shit. It's uh ... a really messy timeline is what we're saying.  

The timeline starts in May 1976 and lasts until December 31st, 1979. Now, the series itself lasts for 8 seasons, which so far isn't necessarily an issue. Plenty of shows use multiple seasons to explore an abbreviated time period, and while yeah, by series end Ashton Kutcher was pushing 30 and still playing a teenager, we've seen worse before. The problem here is that there were somehow five Christmas episodes in this four-year span.

Did these kids smoke so much weed that they hallucinated an entire Christmas? Or do the Foreman's just have so much jolly, good-natured cheer that they're doing Christmas in July?

It's probably not the second one, but the timeline problems get even worse from here. Eric turns 18 in the second episode of the series and then turns 18 again five seasons later. Now, Eric's birthday in season 1 is left a little ambiguous, and some have argued he is actually turning 17, but that still doesn't explain how he's only aged two years (in the series finale, he is revealed to be 19) in a four-year span. Perhaps Red shoved his foot so far up Eric's ass that he lost a year of his life, or again, maybe it's the weed thing. "Woah, dude, have I been 18 for three straight years?" "I don't know, man; time is a construct. Also, Donna, didn't you have two sisters?"

As we said, timeline inconsistencies are an expected byproduct of almost every tv show, especially sitcoms, and it makes sense as to why. If you're a TV writer and it's your job to cram 300 punchlines into a twenty-two-minute script, then you might overlook minor details because you are scrambling to finish under a deadline, and you need to think of five more "bazingas" before the coke wears off. We get it. But also, the last Christmas episode, "Winter," took place canonically in December 1979, and the season 8 finale also took place in December of 1979. So good luck trying to explain how an entire season of television occurs in a 5-day time span, and if you can, we'd like a hit of whatever you're smoking.

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Top Image: Carsey-Werner


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