Directed by Gail Mancuso and Laura Prepon, “That ’90s Show” is a reboot/spinoff of the popular American sitcom “That ’70s Show.” The biggest drawback that we felt the Netflix series has, is that the story, the conflicts, the plot points, the cheesy humor, and the character arcs have been done and redone so many times that it fails to keep you engrossed, even when the episodes are merely 20 minutes long. The extreme scarcity of authenticity meant that it did not add any value to the already-existing plethora of sitcoms in a similar genre. As expected, the series banks heavily on nostalgia, and we hear a huge applause every time the actors from “That ’70s Show” grace the audience with their presence. But that’s never enough when there is no proper storyline to back it up.
More than that, I believe that in such a genre, it is imperative to give the young audience that warm and fuzzy feeling through the relationships shared by the characters. Be it “Stranger Things,” “Harry Potter,” or “Friends,” what they did best was give their audience something to root for. They were able to give the people something that was so aspirational that they dreamt of being a part of that world, even when they knew that, at times, it was merely a figment of imagination. “That ’90s Show” makes a reference to the American sitcom “Friends,” but it is not able to create something so utopian or magical that it would leave a lasting impact on its audience. Now we know that even “That ’70s show” had a sense of humor that was a bit over the top, but maybe because of the time it was released or because of the freshness of the idea, it was able to pull it off. Nowhere did we expect “That ’90s Show” to be mature in its approach or give us some deep philosophy about life, but then, it didn’t achieve what it intended to, making it look like a half-hearted attempt that solely wanted to use the legacy of its predecessor for its own cause.
Credit where credit is due: the cinematography, the art direction, and the production design have done a fabulous job in recreating the mid-’90s era. There are moments that make you laugh, and seeing Aston Kutcher, Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon, Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp, and Kutwood Smith once again on the screen makes your day.
What Is The Show About?
When Leia came to spend the Fourth of July at her grandparents’ place, Red and Kitty’s, she didn’t know that she would make such good friends and create a lifetime of memories. Leia was the kind of girl who was always trying to fit in, and she felt pressured to do so because all her life, she was never accepted for who she was. Her parents, Eric and Donna, had also come with her, and it was a sweet little family reunion.
Eric wanted to take his daughter to Huntsville, Alabama, for a space camp, but the grandparents realized that she was not interested in going there. We all know about Eric’s obsession with Star Wars, and he expected Leia to be as geeked out as he was. She was at an age where she wanted some space, and she was dealing with her own teenage issues. Eric didn’t understand that, and he had a hard time accepting the fact that his daughter was growing up and her priorities in life were not the same as they were before.
Leia met Gwen, who lived in the neighborhood, and through her, she met the entire gang, i.e., Nikki, Ozzie, Nate, and Jay. Leia had decided that she would stay with her grandparents for the summer vacation, and though Eric didn’t want to leave her behind, he realized that it was about time he started to respect her decisions and, sometimes, just let her be. It was really hard for Eric to show that kind of maturity as he was really possessive of Leia, but Donna made him understand that Leia was at a very rebellious age, and she had the right to make her own mistakes just like they did.
Gwen’s stepbrother was dating Nikki, and both of them were inseparable most of the time. Leia and Jay hit it off quite well, and for the first time, Jay wanted something more than just a meaningless hookup. Nikki and Nate were shocked to hear that, as it was contrary to the reputation Jay had. Leia, on the other hand, was also head over heels for Jay, but Gwen was constantly telling her to let the boy come to her and pretend to be all cool so that he didn’t realize that she was desperate to find a boyfriend. Coincidentally, Nate and Nikki gave similar advice to Jay, and so, there was a deadlock where both of them, i.eJay and Leia, wanted to woo each other, but neither of them was making the first move and making the other aware of their feelings. By not expressing their love for each other, Leia and Jay made things complicated for themselves. Towards the end of the fourth episode of “That ’90s Show”, Leia tells Jay that she would like to be just friends with him, as she thinks that it would make him somewhat jealous and inquisitive and result in him accepting and expressing his feelings. But Jay started dating another girl named Serena, and Leia’s plan backfired terribly. Leia ended up inviting both of them to her 15th birthday party, though her friends told her that it would unnecessarily make the situation complicated. Leia waited for Jay throughout the evening, but she was disappointed when he didn’t show up. Later that night, Jay came to her room through her window, and they shared an intimate moment. Jay and Leia started dating each other, and her grandparents, Red and Kitty, were horrified when they came to know that out of all the options available, she had decided to date a “Kelso.”
‘That ’90s Show’ Ending: Did Leia And Jay Stay Together? What Did Gwen See Leia Doing?
Sherri Runck was having an affair with Fez, but after getting counseled by Kitty, she decided that she would break up with him and fend for her own interests. Fez, who had a flourishing salon business, was not ready to break up at any cost. He even convinced Kitty by telling her how much he loved Sherri and how he wanted to be there for her through thick and thin. Ultimately, Red had to come to the rescue, as Sherri ran out of ways to convince Fez to break up with her. When Fez realized that Sherri had two children, he also felt like he had dodged a bullet and decided that it was better for him to part ways. But as fate would have it, they came back together once again. Fenton, who was Sherri’s landlord, had asked her to vacate the place as she was unable to pay her rent. When Fenton realized that Sherri was dating Fez, he got even more aggravated and ended up increasing the rent. Fez was adamant about resolving the issue and reaching common ground with Fenton. He gave Fenton a fancy wig, and the grumpy landlord decided to let Sherri stay in his house. Sherri had a lot of unresolved issues with her late father, and somewhere Red’s attitude reminded her of him. Red was the kind of man who didn’t like being disturbed and was perpetually annoyed and irritated. Red confronted her as he didn’t like the fact that she always got reminded of not-so-happy instances from her past when she saw him. Red might have seemed very uncompromising and rude upfront, but deep down, he was a good man who cared for his friends and family. He often didn’t know how to express his emotions, and that is why people misunderstood him a lot. It was quite funny and adorable at the same time how he started competing with Leia’s maternal grandfather Bob and ended up gifting her a car that was owned by Eric.
On one end, things got better between Sherri and Fez, but Leia didn’t know what she would do after she moved back to Chicago. Jay, too, was skeptical about being in a long-distance relationship with Leia, though he hadn’t told her that he had already made up his mind to break up with her. Jay still loved Leia, but he thought that at their age, it was not feasible for him to be in such a relationship when everything was so uncertain. The manner in which Leia came to know about Jay’s intentions made her feel betrayed. Jay had no intention of hurting her, but unfortunately, it came out in a way that he couldn’t do much about it. Things went downhill between Leia and Gwen too, when the latter realized that Leia had ditched her to go on a date with Jay. Leia was in a difficult spot as she had to choose between her best friend and her boyfriend. She wanted to spend time with both of them, but she just couldn’t make it to the country club in time, where she had to meet Gwen and Ozzie. Though Leia was able to reconcile with Gwen later, she still didn’t know what to do with Jay.
An untoward situation arrived when Leia and Nate felt something for each other, and they were almost about to get intimate when Gwen arrived at the scene and was shocked beyond measure. Nate had, of late, started feeling quite insecure about his girlfriend, Nikki. He felt that he was easily replaceable in Nikki’s life and that she might lose interest in him if she ever met someone else. Nikki assured him that though she was not a soothsayer, and she couldn’t predict what would happen in the future, she could definitely tell him that she loved him and that she had no plans of leaving him. Nate knew that in the coming years, Nikki would move out to pursue her studies, and he would also have to face a situation similar to Leia’s. That got him thinking, and there was something very comforting about Leia that made him feel like he could spill his heart out in front of her.
Nate was the kind of guy with whom even Leia felt very comfortable. She could talk to him about anything without fear of being judged. It was a very organic relationship, and though neither Leia nor Nate had ever thought about each other in that manner, that particular moment changed something inside them. Leia felt guilty, as she had become so vulnerable that she was almost about to kiss Nate. Gwen was the only person who knew about it, and she abstained from telling the others in the group as she knew that it could create a lot of complications. Jay decided to give the long-distance relationship a shot, though Leia was now in two minds as she didn’t know what she wanted any longer. She loved Jay, but the spark and comfort she discovered she felt with Nate left her thinking. After the summer vacation, Leia felt more confident than ever and embraced the fact that she was who she was, and there was no reason to feel so insecure about herself all the time. She knew that with the right people by her side, she could overcome any obstacles in her life. Leia went back to Chicago with a promise to keep in touch with all her friends, and we might see her returning to Red’s and Kitty’s next summer.