That ‘90s Show: A plate of nostalgia with a side of disappointment


Photo from IMDb

Spin-offs. You either love them or you hate them. The byproduct of a larger production that is associated with popularity. I think it’s funny how some people are not capable of realizing a spin-off is bad, not wanting to question the original writer’s skills.

Just because you are in love with the original does not mean the sloppy seconds are a good repeat. Netflix’s original series Fuller House is a great example, as many people can acknowledge it’s bad. The thing that makes spin-offs tricky is finding ways to keep the older characters’ spirits alive and not ruin the original plot that ignited a fuel in fans’ hearts so long ago.

That ‘90s Show, a spin-off of That ‘70s Show, follows 15-year-old Leia Forman, daughter of That ‘70s Show stars Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti. In the pilot we see the Forman family heading to Kitty and Red’s house, Leia’s grandparents, for a fun Fourth of July getaway weekend. What was intended to be a short family reunion turned into Leia pleading with her parents to let her stay for the rest of the summer. After an awkward encounter with Gwen, aka the nextdoor neighbor, Leia can’t help but be drawn to her rock n’ roll, punk lifestyle and friends who seem to be her total opposites. The plot centers around Leia’s summer in Wisconsin with her new friends who teach her to loosen up.

Though the show’s targeting audience is intended for teens and nostalgic adults , I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a show on the Disney Channel; I thought this show was cheesy.

Eric, as an overprotective parent making bad dad jokes, made me cringe. Leia is portrayed as the quiet, innocent nerd, but this aspect of her becomes agitating when the audience is reminded of this 24/7. I respect her drive for wanting to try things outside of her comfort zone, but as a viewer I don’t want to be reminded of how her academic drive is her only personality trait.

But what angers me the most about this show is the portrayal of toxic masculinity. Jay, who is supposed to represent Ashton Kutcher’s character Michael from That ‘70s Show, is known for his “good looks” and lack of common sense. Not only do I find his character offensive, I also despise his friendship with Nate on the show. The two of them seem to only know how to whine, flirt with girls and irritate me with their stupidity. And don’t get me started on their “Bro-Talk,” which is where they sit in front of each other and the only word that comes out of their mouth is “bro.”

Overall, I feel the show gave an unsatisfying portrayal of the new characters. Though I appreciate the insight on fashion trends that occurred during the 90s and the transformation of the original home and its iconic decor, I can’t help but admit they should’ve stuck with the original.