That '70s Show

That ’70s Show Secretly Foreshadowed Its Silliest Twist

That 70s Show's revelation about Hyde's birth father seemed to come out of nowhere, but this infamous twist was secretly foreshadowed years earlier.

While That ‘70s Show’s bizarre Hyde twist seemed to come out of nowhere, the revelation was subtly (and perhaps even accidentally) foreshadowed in the season 5 premiere. Like so many “hang-out” shows, That ‘70s Show fell victim to a classic problem when the sitcom reached its later seasons. That ‘70s Show started life as the story of a group of teens navigating high school in the titular decade but, by the show’s later seasons, the cast was mostly far too old to play teenage characters and their storylines had grown stagnant as the show’s premise required them to stay put in Point Place

This led to frustrating storylines, like when That ‘70s Show missed Eric’s perfect exit and instead forced Topher Grace’s character to hang around for an extra season. This also led to increasingly wild twists as the creators of That ‘70s Show struggled to keep audiences invested in its characters, trying increasingly desperate gambits to hold onto their attention. One infamous instance of this approach was when Jackie, having spent years caught between dating Hyde and Kelso, abruptly declared her love for Fez. Another was the late revelation of Hyde’s biological father, although this twist at least came with some surprisingly prescient foreshadowing.

Eric Accidentally Set Up Hyde’s Weirdest Character Reveal

eric kitty and hyde

In season 5, episode 1, “Going to California,” Hyde and Eric share an exchange that proves a future twist wasn’t pulled out of nowhere after all. When That ‘70s Show’s slacker antihero Hyde says he has “no problem fooling whitey,” Eric sardonically reminds Hyde that he is white. Hyde replies “barely,” which turns out to be truer than he knew. Hyde might have just been joking in “Going to California,” but That ‘70s Show season 7 revealed that Hyde’s previously-unseen biological father was black. Played by Tim Reid, WB Barnett first appeared in That ‘70s Show season 7, episode 2, “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”

Two full seasons after Hyde’s offhand comment, That ’70s Show revealed that Hyde is canonically biracial. While a throwaway gag in “Going to California” did technically foreshadow this revelation, that didn’t stop fans and critics alike from taking issue with the storyline. While That ‘70s Show’s darkest low point happened earlier in season 7, the fact that Hyde was played by an actor who was not biracial led to some criticism for the sitcom. Meanwhile, the fact that Barnett’s presence in That ‘70s Show season 7 didn’t end up amounting to a meaningful story didn’t help matters.

Hyde’s Real Father Was A Terrible That ‘70s Show Twist

william barnett that 70s show

Sitcom veteran Reid is as charismatic as ever in the role of Hyde’s successful father. However, this plot never worked for various reasons. For instance, since Hyde’s father is a well-to-do businessman, it’s unclear why it took him so long to seek out his son. This question was never addressed in That ‘70s Show season 7, and nor was the question of why Hyde’s mother never told him about Barnett. While fellow sitcom legend/future Conners star Katey Sagal could have returned to reprise her role as Hyde’s mother for this season 7 plot, That ‘70s Show was instead content to waste Reid’s role via a series of predictable, cringe-worthy gags about his character’s much-discussed race.

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