‘That ’70s Show’: Here’s Why Leo Didn’t Appear in Season Five

by Allison Hambrick

Stoner icon Tommy Chong starred as Leo on That ’70s Show, but the fan favorite character was notably absent in the fifth season.

Chong rose to fame as one half of the infamous duo, Cheech & Chong, who starred in movies such as Up in Smoke. His comedy made him a huge star in the 1970s, so when he joined That ’70s Show in the second season, fans rejoiced. He first showed up when Steven Hyde, played by Danny Masterson, got a job working at the Fotohut. Leo then joins the fold as a friend to the teenage protagonists and something of a father figure to Hyde.

However, in season five, Leo is nowhere to be found. An entire episode revolves around Hyde searching for Leo with the help of friends Jackie, Kelso, and Fez. They discover via letter that Leo was so stoned that he forgot he was only supposed to be in town for a short visit. Since it had been eight years, he had to go find his wife. Later on, series lead Eric Forman finds Leo on a road trip, and he becomes a regular character on the show once more.

While his disappearance seemed strange, it had to do with Chong’s real-life toking habits. The comedian was arrested for selling drug paraphernalia after he got caught selling bongs. Because he sold them across state lines via internet, it was illegal. It’s unsurprising given that his career revolved around joking about marijuana. Chong pleaded guilty to the charges so that his wife and son would not also receive punishment. He then served jail time for nine months. After he did his time, he returned to That 70s Show.

That ’70s Show Gets a Spinoff–20 Years Later

Two of the best relationships Leo had on the series were with Red and Kitty Forman, Eric’s parents. Leo had a crush on Kitty, while Red couldn’t stand him. It always made for humorous moments when they got tossed together for a scene.

With a new spinoff on the way, is it possible that Leo may make a return to Point Place? Maybe so. As of right now, the only returning cast members set for the series are Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith, who play Red and Kitty. According to the press release, That ’90s Show, which will stream on Netflix, takes place 20 years after the original series. It sees Leia Forman, daughter of Eric, spending the summer with her grandparents.

The series synopsis reads:

“Hello, Wisconsin! It’s 1995 and Leia Forman, daughter of Eric and Donna, is visiting her grandparents for the summer where she bonds with a new generation of Point Place kids under the watchful eye of Kitty and the stern glare of Red. Sex, drugs and rock ’n roll never dies, it just changes clothes.”

Netflix

It may be a long shot considering that Eric and his girlfriend-turned-wife Donna aren’t slated to return, but who knows? Maybe an even older Leo still hangs out with teenagers and gets up to shenanigans. Considering he worked for a record store in the final seasons, maybe a cameo is in store if the new cast needs some vinyl?

Outsider.com