How ‘All in the Family’ Inspired ’That ‘70s Show’

by Alex Falls

That 70s Show was one of the most popular sitcoms in the country during its run from 1998 to 2006. One of the things that endeared the show to countless fans was how it leaned into the period setting and wore its influences on its sleeve.

Sitcoms are a tried and true format that have dominated our TV screens for nearly as long as the medium has existed. As time goes on, shows need to build upon the work of their predecessors. They need to add something new in order to move the format forward and engage the audience. American sitcoms all share DNA. But they also have to respond to the changes happening in the culture at the time. Like a family, sitcoms need to learn and grow.

That 70s Show co-creator Mark Brazill once noted to the LA Times that the show always had two other series in mind when putting together its stories. All in the Family and Roseanne. Brazill called those sitcoms the touchstones of major influence for That 70s Show.

“That’s what we were hoping for,” Brazill said. “Not to obviously do those two shows, but because they seemed true and real and the humor came out of characters and real situations.” Plus, the executive producer added, “both of them were families. That’s at the core of it.”

That 70s Show Makes a Comeback

That 70s Show was extremely popular during its run. So fans were thrilled to learn that a revival is coming from Netflix in the form of That 90s Show.

The reboot stars Callie Haverda as Leia, the daughter of Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti. It takes place in 1995, 15 years after the events of the original finale. It centers around Haverda’s Leia Forman as she visits her grandparents Red and Kitty Forman for the summer, becoming friends with a new generation of kids in Point Place, Wisconsin.

That 90’s Show will revolve around the fresh face, but most of the original players from That 70’s Show are coming back. Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith come back as series regulars as Red and Kitty Forman. Plus many of the originals are coming back to the roles that made them famous.

Ashton Kutcher recently spoke to Variety about making the decision to return to the role that put him on the map. He and his wife Mila met on the show and they both remember their time on set fondly. “Mila and I were contemplating it. We thought, ‘Listen, we’re only in the position that we’re in because of that show, so let’s just go back and do this.’ We just went back and had fun for a week. It was so random and fun.”

The actor also spoke highly of the new show’s potential. He called it “really funny,” and described the new cast as “phenomenal.” Kutcher revealed being on set was nostalgic for him because it brings back all of the same people who helped make the original series.

The hype for the show is building now that filming is wrapped. Stay tuned for more details on when we’ll get to see That 90’s Show.