Topher Grace as Eric Forman, Laura Prepon as Donna Pinciotti in That ‘90s Show
That '90s Show Is Packed With Groovy That '70s Show Easter Eggs

The nostalgia is strong.

by Ani Bundel
Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

From the moment That ‘90s Show was announced, fans needed to know how much That ‘70s Show would influence the new series. The original series (which premiered in the late 1990s) was an instant hit for Fox, and its rise back to the top for a new generation during the 2020 lockdowns proves the show is a timeless classic. Considering the sheer amount of That ‘70s Show Easter eggs in That ‘90s Show, the series’ creators know it too.

Warning: Spoilers for That ‘90s Show follow. The premiere episode of That ‘90s Show is set 19 years after the original series, which began in 1976. Eric and Donna visit Red and Kitty on the weekend of July 4, 1995, bringing their daughter, Leia, with them. Leia, 14 (which puts her birth a year after the end of That 70s Show, the finale of which was set on Dec. 31, 1979), is seeking independence from her folks, so when she meets Gwen and Nate, who live next door in Donna’s old house, they convinced her to ask to spend the summer there.

Kitty, suffering from significant empty nest syndrome, agrees at once. In sweet revenge on his dad, Eric tells Leia that she and her new friends should spend all their time in the basement of the Forman house, thus ensuring a new generation of antics to irk Red. Leia’s new friends include next-door neighbors Gwen and Nate, Nate’s girlfriend Nikki, Jay Kelso (who is very much like his father, Michael), and Ozzie.

Although the group experiences things that could never have happened in the 1970s (raves and personal computers, to name a few), the references to the original show are everywhere. Here’s a rundown of the biggest Easter eggs.


Red’s Parenting Advice

Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

Red Forman’s parenting has always been on the old-fashioned side. He talked a big game, threatening to “put his foot in Eric’s *ss” from the first season of That ‘70s Show onward.

Not only did Red reiterate that advice in the That ‘90s Show premiere, but Eric actually parroted his threat when he lost his temper with Leia. As he told Red later, he learned from the best.


Eric’s Love Of Star Wars

That ‘70s Show Season 1’s final five episodes occurred as Star Wars arrived in theaters, changing Eric’s life forever. By the time of That ‘90s Show, it was clear his love of the trilogy was still strong, with a daughter named Leia and a job teaching “The Religion of Star Wars” to college kids.


Michael & Jackie

When Kelso roared into Kitty and Red’s kitchen yelling “BURN,” it kicked off his and Jackie’s brief appearance in That ‘90s Show that was one long Easter egg of references to That ‘70s Show.

“Burn” was one of Kelso’s trademark phrases; likewise, Jackie commanding “Michael!” with a stamp of her foot was a regular feature of their relationship. Kitty thinking Kelso was attractive had always been true, too.

Also, the idea that Kelso and Jackie continually get married and divorced totally tracks. The only thing missing is a reference to Jay’s older half-sister Betsy (born in Season 7), who, fans should note, supposedly lives in Chicago.


The Water Tower

Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

The water tower is such a staple of That ‘70s Show that there’s an episode named for it. Kelso famously fell off it constantly. (Hyde did once too, and he did not have nearly such an easy bounce back.) So, of course it was the big hangout in That ‘90s Show.


Kelso’s Never-Ending Stash Bag

Kelso’s stash bag episode, “Misty Mountain Hop” from Season 5, is one of those “Best Of” moment for the character, in which he got his hand stuck in a vase because he didn’t want to let go of his stash bag and have Red find it.

The show referenced the episode multiple times, from Gwen’s initial finding of the bag in the Candyland box to the fact that it never seemed to be empty, to it winding up in Red’s stuff and, once again, a Kelso desperate to rescue it.


The Vista Cruiser

The 1970s mobile sat in Red and Kitty’s driveway since That ‘70s Show. Eric and Donna sat on the hood of it for their first kiss; Eric drove it many times and got in many bouts of trouble to boot.

That car’s legacy now extends to That ‘90s Show. Eric and Donna sat on it to talk as adults. Leia tried to kiss Jay there; Red taught her how to drive in it, and much like her father, she got into trouble with it too. You could still see right into that lady’s bathtub from sitting on the right-hand corner of the car, too.


Tommy Chong’s Leo

Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

In the 1990s, when That ‘70s Show was initially released, the cameo appearance of Tommy Chong as the neighborhood hippie Leo was a running meta-joke. Chong rose to fame starring in the 1970s series of stoner comedies with fellow actor Richard “Cheech” Marin. These Cheech and Chong films were considered cult classics in the ‘90s, especially after the crackdown on marijuana use under Ronald Reagan.

Bringing Chong back to reprise his role as Leo in That ‘90s Show now takes the meta-joke a stage further, as many younger fans only know Chong because they’ve seen That ‘70s Show. Moreover, the That ‘90s Show’s Leo was the epitome of the kind of dude who would watch Cheech and Chong films in the 1990s, including his love of Clerks and his attempt to get on MTV’s The Real World back when it was a super novel concept.


Red & Kitty’s Chaka Khan Moment

Eric famously walked in on his parents, Red and Kitty, having sex in That ‘70 Show Season 1; that episode then used the Rufus and Chaka Khan song “Tell Me Something Good” over the credits scene.

So when the strains of “Tell Me Something Good” started up in That ‘90s Show’s second episode, fans knew the two were about to get down. Naturally, someone walked in on them too, but this time it was just Sherri, who was totally unfazed by it.


Fez Dating Jackie

From the moment Fez was introduced as the on-again-off-again boyfriend of Gwen and Nate’s mom Sherri, the Easter eggs about him began. Something loud happened so the audience couldn’t hear what country he was from, which used to happen all the time in the original series; his initial exchange student status was mentioned with no explanation of why it never ended.

The show also explained away one of That ‘70s Show worst choices, pairing Jackie and Fez in the series’ final season, as Fez explained she left him for Kelso after the finale.


Kelso’s Fridge Incident

In That ‘90s Show, Leia and Jay got in trouble driving the Vista Cruiser multiple times, and each time Jay took responsibility for his actions, something his father, Michael, famously was too afraid to do. When Kitty points that out, Red responds, “Michael Kelso glued himself to our refrigerator.”

Michael actually did do that in Season 7, Episode 12, which was appropriately titled “Don’t Lie To Me.” Kelso accidentally glues his hands to the fridge and then spends the night in the kitchen, stuck, which is where Red finds him the next morning.


Donna Dating Casey Kelso

Leia and Jay’s dating caused a minor crisis in the Forman household, with Red not tolerating his granddaughter dating the younger Kelso. But when Leia and Jay broke up at the end of the season, Donna reminisced about her own time dating a Kelso — not Michael, but his brother, Casey.

The Donna and Casey Kelso romance was a major storyline from the original series, with Casey as the primary Season 4 nemesis for Eric. Donna dated him for most of that season, so it’s not surprising she’d bring it up.


Fenton As Sherri’s Landlord

Fenton (Jim Rash) was initially introduced in Season 5 as a jewelry store clerk when Eric went to buy Donna an engagement ring. He was usually treated as a villain, especially once he became the landlord for Fez and Jackie in the show’s final season, with him and Fez “facing off” regularly. The show had massive fun with this in the That ‘90s Show finale, bringing back Fenton as Sherri’s landlord for one final face-off with Fez.


The Circle

Netflix © 2022

That 70s Show was famous for many things. However, its most innovative filming technique invented an instantly iconic way to portray smoking weed without actually showing anyone toking, known as “The Circle.” The idea sprung from the concept that, in pot circles, people are usually looking at the person holding the joint, so the camera would focus on one character at a time, constantly going clockwise, indicating the “puff puff pass” without ever showing it.

That ‘90s Show brings back The Circle multiple times, starting in the premiere. The first one was used with Eric and Donna hanging out upstairs, playing cards with Kitty and Red. It’s a meta-joke because there’s no weed (they’re just drinking beer). Still, somehow there’s smoke in the background because Kitty’s burning something in the kitchen. The Circles continue once the kids downstairs find Kelso’s old stash, with multiple scenes of the group in formation.

But the best one was when Fez needs advice and headed back to The Circle, now made up of 90s kids. When they were no help, he conjured up his own friends, comprised of clips from That 70s Show’s most famous Circle moments: Eric pontificating on life from Season 2, Episode 23, Jackie forgetting why she’s laughing in Season 2, Episode 25, and Kelso comparing love to potato chips in Season 2, Episode 8.

All episodes of That ‘70s Show are streaming on Peacock. All episodes of That ‘90s Show are streaming on Netflix.